I’m delighted to welcome Miriam Drori back to my blog – this time to discuss novel themes.
Over to you, Miriam…
Hello, Jo. I’m delighted to be back here.
My first novel, Neither Here Nor There, touches on several themes:
- Arranged marriage
- The haredi (ultra-orthodox) community in Israel – the good, the bad and the way it’s viewed from the outside
- Life in a closed community
- Escaping from a closed community
- A life of choice and chaos v. a life of order and compulsion
- Life-changing decisions
When I began the novel, it wasn’t in my plan to write about any of those. They just developed as I wrote. My plan was to write a romance. I was taking part in an online romance-writing workshop facilitated by Sally Quilford. It was an excellent workshop, and it forced me to start writing a romance. (I hadn’t considered writing romance before and I found the process hard work but fulfilling and enjoyable.) I searched for something that would make my novel stand out from others – something I knew about and most other authors didn’t. I also searched for a major conflict, and found it in the rift my main character opened up between her and her parents when she left their community.
I live in Jerusalem, so setting my novel there made it easy to explore. Immigration is something I’ve experienced. I’ve made life-changing decisions – haven’t we all? I didn’t know about the haredi community from the inside, but I did know enough about it to place my main characters outside it, one having left it while the other didn’t know it at all.
It was only when the novel was published and I searched for things to write about it that I realised I’d touched on all those themes, despite having planned and written a light romance.
In contrast, in the novel I’m still working on, the main character has social anxiety. This is a conscious decision. I began with that premise and built the plot from there. This follows my non-fiction book, Social Anxiety Revealed, and my stated goal (and passion) of raising awareness of social anxiety, a disorder/condition that’s very common but little known or understood.
Amazon page: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon.