Michael David Lukas is the author of the award-winning The Oracle of Stamboul.
What is your working title of your book (or story)?
The Forty Third Name of God.
Where did the idea come from for the book? I had the idea during a long conversation with an extremely talkative woman sitting next to me on a cross-country flight. She was talking about her experience immigrating to the United States in the 1970s and, even though she was neither Jewish nor Egyptian, something about her story made me want to write a novel about the Jews of Cairo.
What genre does your book fall under? Literary fiction with a dash of the historical and a pinch of magic.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I’m thinking that, like in the adaptation of Cloud Atlas, Tom Hanks and Hale Berry will play most roles. The leftovers will go to Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? The Forty Third Name of God is a polyphonic, multi-generational novel about the Jews of Cairo, focusing particularly on three stories that revolve around a stash of documents hidden for nearly a thousand years in the attic of the Ibn Ezra Synagogue.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? An agency.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The first draft took about a year to write. When it was finished, I threw it out (digitally) and started over from scratch. I did the same thing for the second and third drafts. The fourth draft escaped the digital trash bin and was the basis for the fifth (and hopefully finalish) draft, which I should be finishing up in the next couple weeks.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The Forty Third Name of God was inspired/guided/encouraged by a number of novels, including but not limited to: Great House, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Gods Without Men, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Cloud Atlas, Out of Egypt, Leaving Atocha Station, Possession, Palace Walk, and The English Patient.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? See above.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? There’s magic, forbidden love, ennui, and a pair of late Victorian lady bible hunters (based on the amazing Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson).
Michael's tagged these two writers to post next week.
Kara Vernor will post here about her upcoming flash chapbook, She Could Maybe Lift a Car. Major topics include: potential, restlessness, the influence of '80s television, blood, feminism, sex, beer, alienation, and desperation. How's that for a party?
Former McSweeney's (and future Rumpus) columnist Dani Burlison will post at her website Jan 31. about the life of a columnist and her upcoming book Some Places Worth Leaving.