1) So, who are you & what have you written?
Hello, my name is Ellis Shuman and I’m an American-born Israeli author who happens to write about Bulgaria. I may be the only person in the world who writes in this niche genre. I was born in Sioux City, Iowa, moved to Jerusalem with my family as a teenager, grew up in Israel which is my home, and lived for two years in Bulgaria when my job was relocated there. I have written three books, the latest of which is The Burgas Affair, a crime thriller set in both Bulgaria and Israel. My previous novel, Valley of Thracians, is a suspense thriller set in Bulgaria.
2) Why do you write crime fiction?
I write the type of books that I like to read. Action thrillers that keep you turning the pages. I would not call my first novel ‘crime fiction’ but rather an action adventure in Bulgaria in which a few crimes take place. I define my new novel as an international crime thriller. A serious crime has taken place and six civilians have been murdered. There are detectives and criminals, and even terrorists and their accomplices. I think this fits the bill as crime fiction.
3) What informs your crime writing?
My novel The Burgas Affair is based on a real life terrorist attack. A bomb blew up on a bus outside Burgas Airport in Bulgaria in 2012, killing five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver. I followed the case for months as the media reported information that was far from conclusive. With my creative mind I couldn’t help but imagine what might have happened in the aftermath of the bombing. My novel depicts a joint Israeli-Bulgarian investigation in which a headstrong Bulgarian detective teams up with an Israeli data analyst on her first assignment overseas. It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.
4) What’s your usual writing routine?
My most difficult challenge as a writer is finding the time to write. I solved this problem by leaving for work an hour earlier each day. Before work starts, I sit in a coffee shop and devote a full hour to writing. The background noise of the coffee machines and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee help fuel my creativity. By the time I start my day job, I have already accomplished quite a bit. In the evenings I’m too tired to write and although I do write on the weekends, I prefer to spend the time with my family.
5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
I could not put down The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and I had the same excitement when I read the following two novels in the series. I am not sure what exactly attracted me to the books, but it could very well have been their setting in Sweden. I enjoy reading books that transport me to places I’ve never visited before. I have never been to Sweden, but by reading Larsson’s books, I have a sense of what it’s like to be there. I wish that I could have written the books of the Millennium Trilogy!