Monday, April 24, 2017

Blog Tour: The Orphan of Mecca from Harvey Havel with an Author #interview

Literary Fiction
Date Published: 9/17/2014
Publisher: America Star Books

America Star Books Presents The Orphan of Mecca, Book One by Harvey Havel

Frederick, MD October 16, 2014 – America Star Books is proud to present The Orphan of Mecca, Book One by Harvey Havel from Albany, NY.

A brief synopsis of the book: "Amina prepares for college on what is expected to be an exciting first day of higher learning. When she steps onto the university campus for the first time, however, she bumps into Raja Gupta, a young, persuasive, and hot-headed university intellectual who lures her into joining a student group whose cause is the liberation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan. What follows is a stormy and passionate romance detailing the lives of both Raja Gupta and Amina Mitra as they both attempt to survive from one of the worst genocides of historical record—a genocide that ultimately leads to the birth of the poor and crippled nation known today as Bangladesh. This novel is written with historical accuracy and is Book One of a trilogy that charts the rise and fall of these two characters, as well as the son that is orphaned after Amina Mitra is forced to abandon him in the Great Mosque of Mecca."
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Book 2

In Book Two of The Orphan of Mecca trilogy, Amina Mitra has no choice but to abandon her newborn child to the Great Mosque of Mecca, Islam's holiest place. The child is then taken to an orphanage by the religious police (mutawaffs) and stays there until he is of good enough age to live on his own. The orphan, Ekaja, finds work in a Meccan tourist bazaar that is well known for its wealthy international travelers and global corporate visitors. There, he meets an American who wants Ekaja to work for him. But this is not ordinary work. The American wants to turn him into a spy for the Central Intelligence agency. Ekaja then must choose between loyalty to the CIA and loyalty to his own people regardless of how perverted their view of Islam has become.

Book 3

After being accused of raping the Commanders daughter, Ekaja is thrown out of the house and is forced to leave. He goes to New York where he discovers a Jewish painter who needs his help. Together, they make an important contribution to the New York artists' scene for those who have mental disabilities.


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp? 

The Orphan of Mecca Trilogy is more of an historical collection of books that deals with past injustices that came with the creation of what we now call Bangladesh.  While it is fiction, I do believe that readers can understand a large part of the history of such a horrible conflict.  Yet there are certain themes that the reader may find, especially in Books Two and Three.  I deal with race in these books and also the idea of loyalty.  Does the Orphan side with his own country, or does he abandon his country to work with the CIA?  Does the Orphan remain true to his own race and culture, or does he adopt America and abandon his true self in the name of assimilation and protecting Americans from danger?  Is he a race-traitor, or should he return to his own cultural roots.  These are some of the questions that readers may face, and how the Orphan reacts to these challenges is the message of these books.  
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

I would say the toughest challenge is integrating research taken from many books and the Internet and planting them into the general flow of the narrative, which is a work of fiction.  I also find it difficult keeping the reader entertained.  I throw in a few sex scenes to make sure the reader doesn't doze off on me.  Another, more personal challenge is to get to my desk and write on a daily basis instead of rearranging the furniture, so to speak.  The blank page is daunting, so I have to stay in my chair until something comes out.  There are plenty other challenges in terms of that. 
How many books have you written and which is your favorite? 

I have written fourteen books, and I think "Freedom of Association" is probably my favorite book.  Back when I wrote it, I really had a sense of style with my writing.  My writing was at its height, and it is my favorite book just because I thought it was the best written work that I had ever produced at the time.  There are other novels, of course, but for now at least I am most proud of "Freedom of Association". 

 If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why? 

I remember reading the book "The Kite Runner" by Khalid Hosseini and also watching the movie when it came out.  The kid who is the servant of the family – and also the protagonist's half-brother – is exactly the kid I would use in a Hollywood film for the Orphan of Mecca.  The young boy is sweet, tough, cute, and serves his household and his family without question.. 
When did you begin writing? 

I was at a bar in Hartford, Connecticut in 1992.  All of my friends back then wanted to make a lot of money, either by leading a corporation or working on Wall Street.  I, however, didn’t know where to turn it all.  I had no direction at all, and so I had a shot of whiskey, and I thought to myself, 'hey, why not be a writer?'  I've been writing now for close to thirty years.  It's getting hard to continue, as my writing doesn't even make a dent in paying the bills I owe.  But I am still here, and I am thankful to be writing after such a long time.   
How long did it take to complete your first book? 

My first book is called "Noble McCloud", published in 1999.   It is about a young man wanting to become a talented guitarist and also a major rock star.  From blank page to hardcover book took about six months. 
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

I love the 'New Journalism" writers from the nineteen sixties and seventies: Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Tom Wolfe, Joseph Heller.  The writing back then had purpose, excitement, and I love when the they write about the current events of the day.  I know "New Journalism" is from the distant past, but I still get a kick of reading these books.  They're incredible!  If only I could write that way. 

What is your favorite part of the writing process? 

I tend to compare the writing process to a pitcher in a baseball game.  When he first comes out, his arm is cold, and he makes many mistakes.  But after a few innings, his arm turns warm, and his rhythm kicks in.  This is my favorite part of the writing process: when my rhythm kicks in, and I'm throwing my best stuff to the reader at bat.  My arm is hot, I'm throwing strikes, and like an engine my writing is fluid, smooth, and accurate, just like the pitcher on the mound after he shakes off the cobwebs of his previous night's slumber.  

 Describe your latest book in 4 words.

'Eastern boy travels West.' 

 Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

I try to write every day, so I'll always be working on something, even when I have to promote and market my old stuff.  Right now I'm working on a novel about a player in the NFL who get seriously injured on the field and can never play football again.  He is confined to a wheelchair and is paralyzed from the neck down.  What he does with his life is a major part of the novel, and therefore, it is what I have to write about these days. 

Many thanks for the interview! 
/s/ Harvey Havel 

Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist. His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000. 

In 2006, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association.  He has published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of MeccaBook One, which was released last year.  His new novel, The Thruway Killers is his latest work.  The Orphan of Mecca, Books Two and Three, will be released next year as well as a book, An Adjunct Down, which he just completed.  His work in progress is called In the Trenches, about a Black American football player.
He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey.  He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at, and by special order at other fine bookstores. 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting

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