For my second guest today, I’ve changed the format a little. My lovely friend Miriam Drori has joined me for an interview on the subject of Why I Write… (with Miriam as the interviewer and interviewee!)
An Interview of Miriam Drori by Miriam Drori
Why do you write?
In order to answer that question, I need to mention social anxiety. Readers who’ve come across me before might have noticed the occasional reference to social anxiety. Some might replace the word ‘occasional’ with ‘periodic’ or ‘frequent’ or—
Don’t you ever get fed up with that topic?
No, and I never will. I see it as my mission to put it out there. I’m passionate about raising awareness of social anxiety. If people knew about it and understood it better, so many ‘sufferers’ would benefit. It’s why I write.
Have you found them to be responsive?
I’ve found it extremely hard to get unafflicted people to start reading a book about social anxiety, or even to read a story that features it, but once they do, they become fascinated and learn a lot. They might think it’s nothing to do with them, yet they can nearly always relate it to someone they’ve met – a friend or family member, a colleague or stranger.
How did you begin writing?
After I discovered social anxiety and realised it applied to me, I joined an online group, where I met people who were suffering a lot more than me, and many who, like me, wished they’d heard of it sooner, because with the name comes information about how to treat it and comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Like me, they all wished they were better understood by society.
The wish to raise awareness naturally led me to writing. I knew I could express myself much better in writing than I could in conversation. Of course, I had plenty to learn about writing fiction and even non-fiction, much more than I was initially aware of, and I’m still constantly learning.
Do you only write about social anxiety?
No. I began with it, then widened the scope of my writing to include… anything, really. But social anxiety often butts in, uninvited. When it does, I’m ready to handle it.
Did it butt into your latest book?
The first character I ever created had social anxiety. When I searched for a plot for him, I thought of two. The one in which his company sends him to represent them in Japan became my novel, Cultivating a Fuji. But the one in which he’s accused of murder begged to be written, too – not with the same character, but one who is similar though different in many ways. He’s now called Asaf and the novel is Style and the Solitary, which was published in April, this year.
Will it butt into your next book?
I think my next book will be a sequel to Style and the Solitary. Naturally, it’ll include Asaf.
Does he still have social anxiety?
He certainly opened up in Style and the Solitary, but he still struggles in many ways. I don’t think social anxiety ever fully disappears. It’s always there in the background, ready to strike again in a moment of weakness.
Could I ask again, why do you write?
I write to entertain, and sometimes to encourage readers to see things in different ways. And I write because I enjoy writing.
When Miriam Drori says she loves to perform, people don’t believe her. When she says she’s not shy, they think she’s delusional. The fact is, things ain’t what they seem. A witch called social anxiety took away her ability to be spontaneous, but it didn’t change her exhibitionist nature. You need to watch her dancing or speaking before an audience to understand that.
Fortunately, she has found an outlet for her thoughts in writing, a solitary activity with multiple recipients. She never doubted her ability to write, but only in recent years has she managed to gather her views and observations together into papier-mâché balls worth throwing far and wide.
If you ignore the witch, life has been good to Miriam, especially since she made the decision to move from the UK to Israel. She has a wonderful husband, three lovely children and a delightful house. She loves to read, travel, hike and dance. She has worked in computer programming and technical writing, and now enjoys the freedom and versatility of creative writing. And she believes passionately in raising awareness of social anxiety.
Amazon page: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon.