I was recently approached by new author Yoram Katz about his historical thriller, The Kabbalist, which he describes as "a thoroughly researched historical detective/mystery novel, which spans 2,000 years of history, and puts the mystical doctrine of Kabbalah (which everybody talks about, but most really have no clue what it is...) in a new perspective." We conducted an interview via email.
Please tell us a little about you and your book.
As most Israelis do, I served the 3-year mandatory service, and participated in a war or two.
I then studied Philosophy and Psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I was so impressed, that having completed my BA in both, I immediately ran away to spend two years in Europe and Africa and then landed back on earth to study for my BSc. in Computer Engineering.
Most of my career since has been spent in the flourishing Israeli hi-tech industry, where I held some senior managerial positions and travelled the globe. My career sent me for a few years to Singapore where I relocated with my wife and three children.
I have always been an avid reader planned to find the time to write my own novels. With three children at home and an intensive career, the time for this never materialized, until, a few years back, I realized I could use the time made available for me during my trips. It felt right.
The Kabbalist is my first published novel. I am now working on the next.
Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
There are a few scenes I like but I would rather talk about an early scene in order to avoid a spoiler.
There is this scene about a Jewish refugee running away from crusader Acre after it had fallen to the Muslims in 1291. He somehow managed to escape the crumbling city by sea, but now he is fighting for his life after his ship has capsized. He is terrified, but what happens to him next at sea is totally unexpected, changes his fortune – and lays a foundation for the rest of this multi-layered plot. It is an introduction to other twists the reader can expect in the story.
Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
What I expect a good book to provide me:
1. Escape - keep me absorbed in the subject and plot
2. Entertainment – enjoy the experience
3. Enlightenment – I want it to teach me something new, give me an insight I did not have, or introduce me to new ideas. I want it to leave something with me after I have finished reading it.
Some people are OK with having 1 & 2. I need all three to be satisfied. That’s what I want my books to be like.
Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I have not published other novels so far. I am very fond of history, but I do not see myself necessarily tied to historical fiction. My next novel was inspired by a three-year stay in Singapore and my impressions of role spirits play in the Chinese day-to-day life.
Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes? If so, can you explain it briefly?
This novel is based on a “conspiracy” historical theory. It happened to me at least twice that I decided to take it in a certain direction and then found that this “new” direction had been actually brought up before by other scholars.
Yoram’s book is available at Amazon in both paperback and eBook. A trailer can be viewed on Youtube. The book also has a presence on Goodreads.