Here is my exclusive interview with Israel based author I.V. Olokita. Please note that while the novel Reasons to kill God was translated professionally into English, the author themselves does not speak English regularly and the answers within do not reflect the writing of the novel itself. Enjoy the interview.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
My work mainly deals with managing medical disasters areas, that is, planning a correct response, responding to a harsh event and then Embed social rehabilitation. It is a preoccupation including a lot of contact with people in their most vulnerable situations. This occupation has also led me to witness tough scenes during the past twenty years, some of which will not let go until the day I die. Fortunately, I could function well under pressure and with high mental strength. And one more thing that helped me is the fact I write. Since I remember myself as a child, I write in my notebooks almost everything that happens to me and turns these things into fantastic stories. I always wrote stuff to myself and never attached importance to writing beyond the fact that it was a hobby allowing me to return to a routine very quickly, to explain to myself that I was the only logical thing in an unreasonable situation. About four years ago, a friend asked me if I would like to participate in a novel writing competition. At first, I hesitated but then decided it might be fun. For a month during the nights, I wrote my book in the drafts of the email on my cell phone. Finally, I submitted the manuscript and completely forgot it until I told that it had won the competition. From that moment everything rolled fast, too quickly; The book “Ten Simple Rules” was published and immediately became a best seller. That feeling was great, I thought, “if the audience liked it, he would probably love my other books as well.” And I was right, half a year later my second book came out “Reasons to kill God” and was a fantastic success in Israel. I hurried, couldn’t help myself, and immediately published another book, “Wicked Girl” followed by another one of short stories.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
My inspiration comes from everything I experience. Any look, sound or smell can give me a new idea. Usually, during the day I’m busy at work, so most of the ideas come to me in the few hours of sleep that I manage to sleep at night. When that happens, I wake up immediately and start writing the idea. Once the concept exists, it is a matter of short time before the book is ready. To the very question of inspiration, because my work touches on the most challenging areas of life, which my writing naturally deals with, So, in most of my books, there are at least three layers of content hidden from the reader’s eyes, and he discovers them slowly during reading. My heroes are the most wretched people you can think of, yet the right end written for them is only in the eyes of the beholder. On the other hand, there is nothing in my writing that is self-explanatory; usually, my plots will surprise the reader right up to the last word in the book because, I learned in life and I apply it in my books, understanding is a matter of proportion and depends on our momentary perspective.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
People tend to see only black and white our days. Once upon we had a gray, but it has long gone. We have lost the “middle” of things, the understanding that life is slightly more complicated than absolutes. Out days; There’s good and evil, and that’s it. People forget there’s also a considerable gap between this two, that is the same middle we’ve long lost. My books seek to give the reader a different point of view; where you can read a book about a fleeing Nazi or a dangerous pedophile, and though you know they are the greatest monsters in the universe, yet, you develop a little compassion to call them a human being. Again, everything has a reason or an explanation, and we have to be willing to listen to the other side, to give them a fair trial opportunity and finally decide, for better or for worse.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I don’t have a favorite genre, and anyone who reads all my books can easily see it. I write everything from everything, and usually, it mixes in the books into one piece that has no definition.
Reasons to kill God, which is the current book that I am going to publish on Amazon, is indeed a historical fiction but it also contains quite a bit of philosophy of life and insights that I expect the reader to confront. It has romance and stories that intersect each other until they create a thriller that draws the reader to enter them, In fact, I began to roll this book at the age of twenty-six after a visit to Poland. The tour in the Nazi extermination camps left me with a strong feeling that I had to do something with all the questions that had accumulated. From that moment to selecting of a literary genre, the road was very short. But if I look at the variety of my work, then I don’t have a favorite style, so is the next book I am about to publish; “Wicked Girl,” it is an abnormal psychological thriller that has caused quite a stir among my readers in Israel.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
This is a fantastic question because in this book (Reasons to kill God) all the characters are controversial and exciting so my answer will be relatively surprising. I will choose to sit with the most boring character in the book; the respectable judge how has no name. His role appears in the first chapter, and in the last episode and fact he will be the one who will sentence my book hero (at least legally). During the trial, the judge undergoes a problematic journey of agony until for a moment he even decides to show some pity for the Nazi defendant also though it does not make it easy for him for a moment. Ostensibly, there is no particular story behind the judge’s character, except for one exception hinted at the name of the book itself and hence the question I appeal to the judge and anyone who reads the book; Who is this God who should be killed in the book?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
So far I have published my books only in Israel so that when it comes to advertising abroad, I’m a novice. It’s funny to say it, but I find myself starting from scratch, building a community of readers, contacting people to read the book. Yet I am enjoing every Minute of doing so while i still got time to write.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
I’ll start with a question; For whom do you write your words?
Is it for yourself or to an audience that will buy the book in stores.
Separate your need to write words and the marketing efforts of those words. I found writing as the most effective tool (except for my family) to remain sane in the complex world in which we live. Therefore, if I had not written, I don’t know where I would be today and what my mental state would be. On the other hand, the desire that everyone will read what we’ve written and appreciated our work as writers push us to publish our words in all kinds of ways. At first, these are just words that try to break out as a simple post on Facebook or Twitter, then you publish short stories on websites, and finally, you put a book in stores and sell a lot of it (wouldn’t we wish it was so simple). Note that once you put the writing pen on the table and start marketing your words, you are less writer and more of a sells man.
I made this mistake at my beginning as a writer, and from the moment I did so, the writing gradually diminished until it almost disappeared. And if for a moment we go back to the question I asked and the first paragraph of this answer of mine, then this was the moment I understood for whom I write my words.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
If my first book succeeds in Amazon as I predict it will, my readers can expect another six books that are already waiting in the drawer. Three of these books have not yet published (not even in Hebrew) and they excite me primarily because of the variety of their stories and the issues they bring to surface. Together with all of these, I am currently working on writing two more books.
Anyone who wants to be updated is freely invited to visit my Facebook page or to the sites of my first two books to published;