Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Friend and author, Miriam Drori...

Hengistbury Head, photo by Lee Sherred
... makes a very welcome return to the blog this week.  Hello Miriam, thanks very much 
for being here.  Tell me about the locations in your latest book ...

Cultivating a Fuji (latest edition: January 2023) is the story of a loner and his struggles and successes in life.  It’s set mostly in Bournemouth, a picturesque seaside town on the south coast of England, and partly in London and Japan.
The main character, Martin, grew up in a London suburb and loves living in Bournemouth.  He takes long walks along the coast and regards the sea as a friend – the only one he has.  When he reaches crisis point and considers putting an end to it all, he climbs to the very top of the cliff at Hengistbury Head, having walked all the way there, and gazes down at the sea, way below.
Also in the story, Martin is sent to represent his company in Japan.  He’s supposed to sell their software project and is ill-equipped to do so.  But Japan is poles apart from the West, with features that help him.  The strange and wonderful traditions he witnesses, the inherent shyness of the people he meets, and the fuji apple are some of those.  When he gives his talk to the company, he has to pause after each sentence so that it can be translated and discussed.  This gives him time to recover his wits before he has to deliver the next sentence. Later, he gets drunk on saké, which is more potent than he realises, but the drink helps him to overcome his fears when he’s forced to take part in karaoke.  On a second trip to the country, he visits a deer park and sees, for the first time, that deer are not always timid creatures.
For Martin, London represents an unwanted return to the past.  His memories of the capital, whether from home or from school, are generally unhappy.  On two occasions, at Waterloo Station, he meets up with the past in the form of a particularly nasty former schoolboy.  Martin isn’t one to gloat with schadenfreude, but readers might smile at the turn of events.  The first of the two meetings is coincidental.  The two young men drink coffee in the station and the scene reveals the changes that each has undergone since their school days, one for the better, the other for the worse.  At the second meeting, the two now-middle-aged men venture outside the station, where they stop by the river to watch a street performance that must be a hoax.  The other man, reflecting his own experiences, says, “Everyone plays tricks in some way.”
I’m lucky to have visited many places in the world, including those I’ve mentioned here.  I grew up in London and have paid numerous visits to the city since moving away.  I never lived in Bournemouth, but my parents moved there after I left home and I loved visiting them there.  In 2013, we toured Japan as part of a group.  The wonderful, exciting, packed trip left a lasting impression on me.
about the book … 
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…
about the author … Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and one of three grown-up children in Jerusalem.
With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing creatively since 2004.  After some success with short stories, Miriam turned her hand to longer fictional works, publishing Neither Here Nor There and The Women Friends: Selina, co-written with Emma Rose Millar.
Social anxiety features in Miriam's latest publications.  Social Anxiety Revealed is a non-fiction guide that explores this common but little-known disorder from multiple points of view.  The book has been highly recommended by ‘sufferers’ as well as professionals in this field.  Cultivating a Fuji is the story of a fictional character who battles against social anxiety before learning to make friends with it.  Style and the Solitary, a crime novel, asks an important question: what happens when a suspect can't stick up for himself?
When not writing, Miriam enjoys reading, hiking, dancing and touring.

You can follow Miriam on her Website and on Facebook  Twitter and Insta   

You can get her books from Amazon


  1. Angela, thank you so much for featuring me and my book on your lovely blog.

  2. Sounds like a story I need to read. Thanks for telling us about it, ladies.