Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Writer, Ellis Shuman #amreading #amjoy

Ellis Shuman is here with me to discuss his writing and his newest work, The Burgas Affair. Originally from Sioux City, Iowa, Ellis has been living in Israel since the age of fifteen. He served in the Israeli army, was the founding member of a kibbutz, and currently reside on a moshav outside Jerusalem. He lived and worked in Bulgaria during the years 2009 - 2010. 
The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.
Ellis, what else have you written?
I am always writing something. I have written book reviews for The Times of Israel, travel articles for The Huffington Post, and articles and essays for The Oslo Times and The Jerusalem Post. I have also self-published three books. Virtual Kibbutz (2003) is a collection of short stories based on my life on a kibbutz in Israel’s southern desert. The Burgas Affair (2013) is a suspense novel set in Bulgaria. The Burgas Affair (2017) is a crime fiction thriller based on a real terrorist attack. It is set in both Bulgaria and Israel.

What do your fans mean to you?
I write the kind of books that I like to read. That said, I also write as a way of communicating with my readers. My book reviews serve as recommendations to readers and my travel reports help tourists plan their holiday trips. Much of my writing introduces readers to Bulgaria and Israel. I have lived in Israel since I was a teenager. I served in the Israeli army, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and now work in online marketing. My home is in a small community near Jerusalem.
For two years my job was relocated to Sofia. I had never previously been to Bulgaria and my life there was quite an adventure. I fell in love with the natural beauty of the country, the picturesque villages, the rich culture and the history. My wife and I travelled extensively around Bulgaria. Coming home to Israel, I had a desire to share my experiences in Bulgaria with people who probably couldn’t place the country on a map.

Can you talk a little about your earlier Internet writing?
I have been writing on the Internet ever since I first got a computer. Well almost anyway. I have enjoyed blogging about my life and my family. When we lived in Bulgaria, my wife and I blogged together. Our blog, “Ellis and Jodie’s Bulgarian Adventure”, was a way to share our life in Sofia with family and friends. Upon our return to Israel, I began blogging on “Ellis Shuman Writes”.
My very first post on The Huffington Post was entitled “10 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Bulgaria”. The article went viral and was translated, without my permission, into Bulgarian twice. As a result of my growing popularity in Bulgaria, I was able to get a book deal with a major Bulgarian publisher. My novel The Burgas Affair was initially published in Bulgarian in 2016.

What is the easiest thing about writing?  
When I start writing a novel, the first thing that pops into my mind is the very last sentence of the book. Well, maybe not exactly the very last sentence. I do envision how the novel will end. That is probably the easiest part of writing the book. But then I have to figure out how the plot and the characters get from the beginning of the story to that conclusion. This can be quite a challenge!
How do you juggle your work along with your writing?
The hardest part of my writing has always been finding the time to do it! I commute to work each day and by the time I get home in the evenings, I am too tired to be creative. Weekends I devote to my family. Still, I have a constant desire to write. Luckily, I was able to find a solution. I sit down in a coffee shop very early in the morning and spend an hour writing while drinking a cup of cappuccino before starting my work day. I get quite a bit of writing done this way.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work?
I created a trailer for Valley of Thracians using a free video program, and it took me just an hour to do it. I was quite impressed with the results but I’m not exactly sure that it has helped sell books. I am still considering creating a trailer for The Burgas Affair.

One last question, what motivated you to stick with writing?  
The desire to express myself creatively through my writing has been with me all my life. I best express my ideas, thoughts, and even feelings when I write. I am pleased with my efforts, especially because I have fulfilled my dream of becoming a published author. There are still great things ahead in my writing career, and that belief will keep me writing going forward.

Thanks for your time, Ellis

Thank you for having me.

More on Ellis:

The Burgas Affair is available on Amazon:
Ellis Shuman is an American-born, Israeli author, travel writer, and book reviewer. He served in the Israeli army; was a founding member of a kibbutz; and has worked in the hotel industry and online marketing. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, The Oslo Times, and Israel Insider. He is the author of The Virtual Kibbutz and Valley of Thracians. Shuman lived for two years in Sofia, Bulgaria, and today resides with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem.

Contact Ellis

Ellis Shuman on Twitter:

Ellis Shuman on Goodreads:

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