I wrote the first draft in November 2005 for National Novel Writing Month, and spent the next five years editing it.
Does writing come easy for you?
Writing crap comes easy for me. Editing’s the bitch.
Do you think writing this book changed your life?
I always considered myself a good musician. Not many people can transcribe music, that is, hear the music and write down the notes. So I felt that was my unique ability. But after putting out a few CDs of my music, I noticed my performance abilities and my transcribing skills are two very different things. The CDs made very few sales.
When I came out with The Torah Codes, it was only a matter of months before it became (and still is) a bestselling novel. The success of The Torah Codes surprised me tremendously. Now, instead of saying I’m a musician, I say I’m an author. That was a very huge life change for me.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
My primary goal is to leave the reader breathless at having read an exciting, fun ride. For Jewish readers, I hope to also get them to revisit their own relationship with Judaism.
Is there a message in The Torah Codes you want readers to grasp?
There is scientific proof of God’s existence, and there’s more to Her than you think.
What are you working on right now?
The sequel to The Torah Codes has the working title: Fighting with God. Admittedly, both titles are deceptive in that they sound like the books preach when the reality is both novels are just exciting adventures that have a thin Jewish thread lining the plot. I’m quite happy with how Fighting with God is coming along. While the first book was a Jewish version of The Da Vinci Code, the sequel is a Jewish version of The Bourne Identity.
Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his creator?
Nah. If the readers love the character so much, he deserves to die.
Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?
My wife and book coach Beth Barany. The advice? When changing POV, also change the voice. My protagonist Nathan narrates in short, hard-boiled detective-sounding sentences. He also always states the scientific facts. The female protagonist Sophia narrates with long, embellished sentences. She uses tons of adjectives and notices what people are wearing and how she feels about them. It looks like two different writers wrote the book.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
With your first draft, write crap. Don’t have the words “flow” out of you, have them throw up all over the page. It’s easier to edit a finished draft than create a pristine first draft. So save the editing for later, otherwise you’ll never get that first draft done.
What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?
Read my blog post on how to find the right title for your book. There’s only one good title. It’s the one that is a keyword or phrase people are constantly doing a search for on the internet. The phrase “Torah Codes” is searched by 50,000 people every month, so people I don’t know and have never heard of my book are finding my book every day. If you use my method for coming up with the right title, I guarantee people will discover your book. http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2012/01/18/3-elements-of-a-good-book-title-that-sells/
What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?
Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?
I hope not. They’ll find me and kill me.
Do you have a saying or motto for your life as a writer?
If I’m bored writing it, people will be bored reading it.
Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you’ll love my books. You can get The Torah Codes on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Torah-Codes-Ezra-Barany/dp/0983296014/
What one word describes how you feel when you write?
One word? Ha, ha! You’re funny, Pat.