Ilan Herman’s first novel, “The Gravedigger”, is out now from Casperian. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander for PRATE.
IH: Been a songwriter for thirty years and a novelist for about ten. Both flex the same muscle.
LA: Some writers describe a sense of having a “novel in them” or a “novel to get out”. Did you feel that you had a story you had to tell? Did you have a sense of nagging, did it prompt you to sit down and get started?
IH: Cliché as it may sound, I am but a prism to the tale, and probably to my past. They come together. I enjoy the alternate universe and miss it when it’s gone.
LA: “The Gravedigger” is your debut novel, but you have done other work including short stories. Have you tried writing novels before this point? The challenge seems enormous, the commitment overwhelming…What was it like, trying to devote the time and energy to “The Gravedigger”?
IH: Novels are fun but need their time. I’ve written ten so feel comfortable with the process. Best to do is to trust the story, and not get upset if it chooses to leave for a while. The story always seems to come back, like a reluctant voyeur, wanting to know how it ends.
LA: Was it difficult to develop characters from other time periods, how did you decide about details and background?
IH: Characters present themselves before I can make them up. I tweak them but don’t sit to ‘outline’ them. I then research the details needed to include their environment.
LA:Is it difficult to write about subjects that seem close to the heart- love, loss, grief, spirituality?
IH: Not more difficult then writing a comedy sketch, possibly easier. Larry David is probably one of the best story tellers of all time.
LA: What’s next for Ilan Herman?
IH: Become a world renown novelist whose tales inspire the masses and rise to the movie screens (preferably I-Max 3D) and make tons of money. I swear do donate 90% to charity.
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