The Compulsive Reader: An Interview and a Trailer

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Interview and a Trailer

Deborah Kerbel, aithour of Mackenzie, Lost and Found, was so kind and gracious as to take a moment and answer a few questions I had for her. Check it out:

Where did the inspiration for Mackenzie, Lost and Found stem from?

Well, I’m always looking for new book ideas. If you keep your eyes open, there are stories all around you waiting to be told.

The inspiration for Mackenzie, Lost and Found happened one day over lunch in a north Toronto restaurant. A good friend of mine lit the spark of the idea in my head talking about how her parents moved her from Canada to Israel when she was fifteen and how the experience changed her life. I was on the look-out for a new book idea at the time and this concept seemed like one with HUGE potential for drama, high emotion, and forbidden love. I went home and wrote the first chapter that same day.

Have you ever been to Jerusalem If yes, was your experience and reaction similar to Mackenzie's? What is hard to write about the setting and culture?

Yes, I visited Jerusalem (and Tel Aviv, and Tiberias) while I was in the editing stage of my book. And I did feel like Mackenzie in many ways – thrilled, overwhelmed, nervous and disoriented all at once (and I was only there for eight days compared to Mackenzie’s full year).

For example, before I got to Jerusalem, I thought the soldiers would freak me out. They’re everywhere! And many of them are so young – fresh out of high school. Just like Mack, I’d never seen a real gun before. But after I’d been there for a couple of days, I found that the presence of the soldiers was actually reassuring…not frightening at all. And by the end of my trip, I came to love Israel – just like Mackenzie.

What kind of research went into writing Mackenzie, Lost and Found?

My friend Simone (the one who moved to Israel as a teenager) was my main source of information. She was SO helpful! We went through her photo albums and I grilled her for details – from everything to the feel of the air in Tel Aviv, to sneaking into the hotel pools, to the smell of the markets in the souk. She was a fabulous resource for me.

I also bought a couple of Israel travel guide books, which gave me a good sense of the land and the layout of things. And then I was able to fill in whatever gaps remained in my research with the internet. There’s so much information out there if you know where to look.

What are you writing now/what are you publishing next?

Well, if you’re the Compulsive Reader, then I must be the Compulsive Writer because I’ve got so much on the go that it’s hard for me to keep track! LOL!

My next YA is called Girl on the Other Side and it’s about two girls who go to the same school, but live in totally opposite worlds. Tabby is rich, pretty and the most popular girl in her class. Lora is smart, timid and the constant target of bullies. Although they’ve never been friends, a series of strange events causes their lives to come crashing together in ways neither could have ever imagined.

If all goes well, Girl on the Other Side will be hitting the bookshelves in winter, 2009 (yay!).

I just finished the final draft of another YA that is worlds apart from anything else I’ve ever written before. It’s called Bye-Bye, Evil Eye and -- I don’t even know the right way to describe it – it’s kind of a paranomal-ish mystery, comedy, romance about the Evil Eye! LOL - did that make any sense? You can read the first chapter of Bye-Bye, Evil Eye on my website.

And right now I’m starting to plot out the sequel to Mackenzie, Lost and Found. All I can say is that it’s going to take place three years after the first one when Mackenzie returns to Israel for college.

I’ve also written a couple of picture books that I’m shopping around. Both my kids are at the picture book age and so my writer’s brain is being fed a daily diet of dinosaur and princess books – so I knew I just had to write some of my own!

Where is your favorite spot to write?

In my dreams, my favorite place to write would be a warm, quiet, shady spot under a swaying palm tree. In reality, anywhere quiet where my children can’t jump over me does just fine.

What are a few of your favorite books?

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels knocked my socks off when I read it fifteen years ago. And the author’s follow-up novel is finally coming out this year. Can’t wait!
I recently read The Book of Negroes (Somebody Knows My Name) by Lawrence Hill and its stunning! The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was un-put-down-able! And The Girls, by Lori Lansens was brilliant!
Recent YA reads that I’ve loved come from two other Canadian authors (yay, go Canucks!) Cracked up to Be, by Courtney Summers and I Know it’s Over, by C. K. Kelly Martin. As far as classic books, Watership Down is one of my all time favorites as is Wuthering Heights (sigh) and The Hobbit.

Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?

Yeah…how about this: “So, Deborah – where can people go to learn more about you and your books?”

Wow, great question! Here’s the answer: http://www.deborahkerbel.com/

And thanks Compulsive Reader! You are awesome!

Thanks so much, Deborah! And you can check out my review of Mackenzie, Lost and Found here, or you can watch the trailer below!

Once again, any feedback would be welcome! (I know it ends a little abruptly--blame it on YouTube! I uploaded it 5 times, and it still won't fade off nicely like the original file does!)

Also, to any author willing to let me hone my my movie-making skills by using their books, I think I'm going to start accepting some requests for book trailers. You can check out my YouTube channel here for all of my work, or email me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com if you'd like more information.


Deborah Kerbel said...

Hi Tirzah,
Thanks SO much for making such an fab trailer for my book! You are awesome! Watching this makes me wish I didn't already know the story so I could read it for the first time - LOL!!

The Compulsive Reader said...


Iryna said...

Great trailer! I want to read the book now. Also,

I nominated you for the Zombie Chicken award!