Posts Tagged ‘novel’

KatzI recently reviewed Michael Katz’s novel Shalom on the Range. You can see the review here. In short: It’s a fun, pulpy, action-packed Western that also manages to sneak in some genuine historic lessons about the Jewish experience on the American frontier.

I asked Michael if he’d answer a few interview questions. So here goes.
What prompted you to write the novel in the first place?

I started out as an editor – first non-fiction, then fiction – and I never thought I was going to write anything. Especially not a full novel. I was content just feeding people ideas behind the scenes. And this was an idea I had come up with and was going to feed to an author to run with if they were interested, lending them guidance in the background. But a number of people told me I was a good writer and should try it myself.

And when I took time off from my “day job” of practicing law I decided to give it a shot. My now ex-wife had a friend who was a movie screenwriter and also did some adjunct teaching at one of the local colleges. He agreed to read my draft and give me feedback, so I decided if he liked the first draft I’d plow ahead. If he didn’t I’d give up, but at least I would have tried. Turns out he really liked it, although he did teach me quite a bit while I was writing it, and that in turn made me a better editor as well as writer.

When you were working on the novel, were you consciously aware of balancing simple entertainment with historical analysis of an ethnic group’s experience in the Old West?

I was perhaps too consciously aware of the historical aspects of the novel. I was trying to make the book appeal to fans of Western fare, because Western literature is possibly the most difficult to sell, so I wanted to make sure my book was as historically accurate and as chock full of Western lore as possible. I also wanted the book to appeal to the Jewish people because that was another target audience I hoped would latch onto the overall concept and try the book for that aspect even if they were not into Westerns, since only a minority of readers are.

I think I wound up trying to make too many people happy, and it interfered with the flow of the book. So the first two or three chapters overemphasize the historical setting, because I want the readers to be fully immersed before they take off on what I hope is a rollercoaster ride of action mixed with humor and drama.

I actually removed quite a bit of historical detail from the book when I revised it for Kindle and Nook. So if anyone buys it for an electronic reader, they may find a better flow than the paper version. (more…)