It’s changed dramatically in our lifetimes. Communism is gone, so now the global war is framed in religious terms. Fundamentalist religion is rampant on all sides of this war. It casts a very dark shadow over non-fundamentalist religion.
I try to do as little as possible without looking like an idiot. Research is fun and easy. Writing is hard. So I try not to let the research become an excuse to not do the writing part.
I love the rabbit hole. I spend a lot of time looking at images, Google mapping, etc. I also love to read court transcripts, FBI files, stuff like that. You go through vast, boring stretches, but the voices are always so fascinating and slowly a story begins to emerge. It’s very much like playing detective.
In hindsight, I must have been looking for a way to write about Jewishness that somehow managed to minimize irony and self-deprecation.
Once I got interested in organized crime, and, specifically, Jewish organized crime, I got very interested in it. I have learned that, like my narrator Hannah, I’m a crime writer in my own peculiar way. Crime with a capital “C” is the subject that I’m stuck with – even Sway is about “crime” in a certain way. The nice thing about crime is that it enables you to deal with some big questioO
What’s invaluable about actually going to the places you want to write about are the random accidental things that happen. Random, accidental detail is the best way to make a setting convincing. You can of course invent your own random details, and sometimes I will also mash up real incidents.