Today's guest author is from Israel. Kfir Luzzatto is currently touring his thriller The Evelyn Project. There's a lot history behind this novel.
Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar, and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis.
Kfir has published extensively in the professional and general press over the years. He is the author of several short stories but now mostly writes full-length fiction. Books: Crossing the Meadow (2003 P&E “Best horror novel”), The Odyssey Gene (2006), Have Book Will Travel (2012). He got the idea for his new thriller, The Evelyn Project, from an in-depth research into the family archives.
Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Kfir. Please tell us about your current release.
The Evelyn Project is a thriller that runs in parallel in present days and a hundred years ago. An old document is brought to light and characters in both centuries believe that it creates a connection between them that bridges the time gap and may change history. Murder, cross-country chase, intrigue and some romance are the ingredients that propel the story forward. I am told that the book keeps you on the edge of your seat, and that’s what it was meant to do.
What inspired you to write this book?
Evelyn (or, rather Evelina, as she was named in my native Italy) was my great aunt. She died of tuberculosis in 1894. She was only 26 years old. My second daughter, Lilach, is her living image and her 26th birthday is approaching fast. That might have been a catalyst for me to write the book. When my parents died I was left with the responsibility to make sure that my family history would not be forgotten. That entailed a lot of reading in books, documents and letters, which brought Evelyn's figure increasingly to life for me – so much so that I simply had to write a book about her, because I realized that without my intervention her memory would soon fade from this world.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have completed a contemporary novel, An Italian Obsession, which will be released in September of this year. It is a dramatic representation of middle-class Italian life after World War II. I am now working on a techno-thriller that I plan to release in 2013.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had a hard time calling myself that, until I opened the package that came from my publisher with a copy of my debut novel, Crossing the Meadow, and I realized that it was for real. Still it took me a few more months before I was fully convinced. I guess that it was Crossing the Meadow placing first in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll that really did the trick.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a very demanding day job, running a patent law firm established by my great-grandfather (the one in The Evelyn Project) 143 years ago, but I use every free moment to write. I sit down to write mostly at night and during weekends, but also on trains, airplanes and pretty much everywhere. It has become a Pavlovian reflex: free moment=work on novel.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I dictate the first draft of every book using an amazing piece of software called “Dragon Naturally Speaking”, and I do so walking around the room (except if I’m in a noisy environment with other people listening in). I dictate the chapters as they come and in my second version (done at the keyboard) I reshuffle them so the two versions look completely different. I guess it sounds loopy, but it works for me.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At first I wanted to be a sailor (until I realized that I can't swim very well), then a photographer and a dozen other irrelevant things. It kept changing with every book I read.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My greatest beef with some of the books out there is that they are formulaic, written without passion. I can usually tell after a couple of chapters if an author was possessed when he wrote his book. I hope my readers can feel the passion that I put into each novel and that I can pass some of it on to my audience. One of the greatest compliments given to The Evelyn Project was that reading it “was like being in the middle of a REALLY good Hitchcock movie! but with WORDS instead of moving pictures!" That’s my aim: turning words into moving pictures in the reader’s head.
Thank you for stopping by today, Kfir. I think you're my first guest author from Israel. It's been a pleasure getting to know a bit about you and your writing.