Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, Martin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.
Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much saké, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?
Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.
Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…
Romantic Relationships – the Missing Link
“What genre do you write in?” is a question I’m often asked, and one that I struggle to answer.
“My books are all very different,” I say, and that’s true. But if pressed for a link, I could also say they all involve romantic relationships.
The first, Neither Here Nor There, is a romance. Esty and Mark meet, fall in love and the rest is history. Well, not quite, of course, because that wouldn’t make a good story, and because Esty is undergoing a transition. She has just left a sliver of the world so close, geographically, to Mark’s, and yet so far away in every other sense. If Esty hadn’t left it, the two would never have linked up. As it is, Esty is confused and unsure how to behave in the new slice – the one she has chosen, and Mark, who has come from further away, geographically, and has his own hurdles to overcome, doesn’t know how to help Esty with all the obstacles she encounters.
The second, The Women Friends: Selina, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is historical and set in Venice between the wars. While struggling to support herself, and becoming increasingly anxious over the rise of Nazism, Selina has several relationships, mostly with other women, although the last is with a man.
The third, Social Anxiety Revealed, is non-fiction and contains quotes from social anxiety sufferers on various topics, including relationships – mostly about their lack of them. These are people who yearn to connect with others – as friends as well as romantically – and are thwarted by their lack of self-esteem, and their belief that any advance on their part will only be scorned. Are such beliefs illogical? Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to teach that they are, and yet they’re often so true. The lack of self-esteem and the lack of experience combine to create an impression of weirdness in the minds of receivers of such advances. Not normal, they might think. Do you want to tell me there’s no such thing as normal? Oh, but there is. There might be different types of normal, but there is definitely not normal and it is easily recognised.
The fourth is the new one: Cultivating a Fuji. It’s about a guy – Martin – who has social anxiety. He lives without relationships or even friendships until, after decades alone, he connects with Fiona. And so, even this story involves a romantic relationship.
Is it surprising that this is what links my books? I don’t think so. I think romance is such a natural part of our lives that those who haven’t experienced it seem… incomplete, especially to themselves. I think most novels contain some romance, and mine follow the herd – in that regard.
Thank you, Miriam Drori and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants. Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it. On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends her time editing and writing fiction. NEITHER HERE NOR THERE (currently unavailable), a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. THE WOMEN FRIENDS, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. CULTIVATING A FUJI takes the social anxiety theme into fiction, using humour to season a poignant story.
Social Media Links
Amazon page: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon