Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Author Spotlight: Raymond Khoury Returns

I’m walking down the street, just another day in the suburban jungle of trees and street signs and cell phone towers, my mind on my mission and my mission on my mind. Nothing unusual about that, nothing untoward. My thoughts are all as clear as they normally are, sharply pointed in the right directions. When my boots take me past the local bookstore’s picture windows, suddenly my thinking brakes, and then swerves hard off course. No longer is my brain brimming with the plans and visions that filled it mere moments before. Now it is full of one objective, and one objective only—I must go inside this shop immediately and purchase copies of Raymond Khoury’s brand new thriller, Rasputin’s Shadow for me and everyone I know. Plus several dozen spare copies just in case for any spontaneous gift-giving occasions that might arise, like Thursdays, for example.

I hear you chuckling at my feeble impulse control. But before you mock me mercilessly, I suggest you reconsider the cell phone towers I ambled by so nonchalantly just before the book store’s siren bewitched me. Can it be the Khoury Media Marketing & Manipulation Machine microwaved into my skull an irresistible lust for Rasputin's Shadow?

You say far-fetched? My credit card says ouch. Khoury says ka-ching. (He loves the ka-ching—see below.) Perhaps remote impulse control isn’t quite so far-fetched as you might hope. And using that awesome power to stuff his purse with my hard-earned money, odious though Khoury may be for doing so, is surely one of the more benign outcomes in our hypothetical scenario. He could have beamed any impulse he chose into my head. He could have used the technology to force me, without my knowledge (much less my acquiescence), to buy all the copies of Rasputin’s Shadow I could get my hands on while singing Bee Gees songs and dressed as a rabbit. Or, he could have puppeteered me into acts of arson, robbery, or much worse.

It’s a pity we can’t use this technology to turn the tables on our esteemed guest today as he returns for his second debriefing at the Author Spotlight. Otherwise, we could not only ensure the accuracy of his replies to our questions, but we could make Khoury answer our questions dressed as a rabbit, each reply rendered to the tune of "Staying Alive." But we digress. Brain beam unavailability notwithstanding, we shall get this Spotlight underway.

Gazala:    What is the most surprising occupational hazard to being a novelist?

Khoury:    I work from a home office, so it has be to having a kitchen within easy reach. All day. Every day. It’s there, constantly calling out to you, beckoning you to explore its hidden temptations, luring you with the succulent siren call of—damn, see what you’ve done? Back in a sec.

Gazala:    Your latest book is an excellent and gripping thriller titled Rasputin's Shadow, about a brutal 1916 Siberian mining catastrophe whose deadly secrets rise up again a century later in the person of a remorseless killer roaming the streets of New York City. I enjoyed it immensely, and recommend it highly. Shockingly enough, however, from time to time my bare recommendation doesn't always motivate a book's potential reader to become a book's actual reader. Tell us something about Rasputin's Shadow, and why its potential reader should make the leap and become its actual reader.

Khoury:    Frankly, I’m surprised. I found it really boring and wouldn’t recommend it at all. Unless you’re in the mood for a suspenseful page-turner about an über-effective rogue Russian FSB agent who’s only known as “Koschey” (meaning “the deathless”), shady CIA operatives and “security contractors,” Psy-loving Korean car-jackers and nightclub-dwelling Russian mobsters, all of whom are after something that goes back to the days of Rasputin and that could basically turn a whole city into one big bloodbath. I certainly wasn’t. Any more of that chamomile tea?

Gazala:    Have you ever killed off one of your characters only to greatly regret the death later?

Khoury:    After trawling through my extensive oeuvre (all of six novels), I have to say: no, actually. And I’ve killed a few. Gleefully. Which could be worrying. I did have second thoughts at (SPOILER ALERT) Farouk in The Sanctuary. It was unplanned and totally unexpected and, after I wrote it, it changed a major dynamic in the book, which I think made it a much more interesting book. But I liked poor old Farouk. He deserved better.

Gazala:    If you could take credit for writing one book not your own, God's, or Shakespeare's, which would it be, and why?

Khoury:    Does it come with the royalties? In which case, hello, Harry Potter and ka-ching. If we’re talking in more noble terms: it’s a toss-up between Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Action Comics #1, which introduced Superman to the world. I mean, how cool would it be to say you invented the superhero genre!?

Gazala:    Who, or what, is the most terrible fiend ever to torment a novelist's imagination?

Khoury:    The notion that after spending over a year working on something you firmly believe in and pouring your heart and soul into it, someone else will have come up with a similar idea and bring his or her book out before yours.

Is it just us, or did Khoury unknowingly half-sing his last answer à la The Brothers Gibb? We warned you this impulse control stuff isn’t as outré as you’d like to believe. So don’t wait for the brain beam to take over your mind and make you do it. Simply click here, and you’ll be whisked to, where you can get your copy of Rasputin’s Shadow on your own accord. You’ll be relieved you did.

No comments:

Post a Comment