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Welcome to firstwriter.com's author interview section, where Sara Webb Quest talks to the writers in print. If you are an author and would like to be interviewed please click here 
  
Baghdad Chronicle by Jewish Author Saul Silas Fathi
SQ: Saul, thank you very much for this opportunity to share your story. What inspired you to create this book after 35 years of successful working / raising a family in the US?

SF: Thank you for the opportunity to reach your audience. I have carried this story with me for the past 55 years, from age 10. I feel compelled to tell the world about it. The public is fairly ignorant of the Sephardic Schindler's List and the 1941 Krystalnacht in Baghdad. 

SQ: What is the book’s basic message? 

SF: For the past 30 years the general media has given the public nothing but half-truths and distortions regarding Iraq and the Iraqi people. (It is said half-truths are often the biggest lies). I wish to set the records straight and accentuate the positive. In spite of the occasional pogroms in the Arab world, there has been a golden age shared by all minorities, a participation in all aspects of human progress in law, medicine, philosophy, poetry, mathematics, geometry urban construction, etc.

SQ: You have stated the book “strives to answer questions of meaning such as: Does a Jew who is persecuted in a country ever feel at home in that country?” You have also mentioned the personal “identity crisis” that resulted from such persecution. What sorts of readers will identify most with your feelings? What do you anticipate overall reader reaction to be?

SF: We, the often-persecuted Jews of the Arab world – who were able to extricate ourselves from religious discrimination, embracing more tolerant societies – are nevertheless filled with longing for our birthplace and heritage …

SQ: We should all be so proud of our origin! How long did it take you to write this book and have you hired an editor?

SF: My book is not yet complete: only 136 pages of an estimated 400-page manuscript have been written (the Iraq section, representing my first 10 years of life). I expect to finish by year’s end.

SQ: What agents / publishers do you plan to approach?

SF: I have written to several agents and publishers but have had no luck yet. There was one publisher who wanted very much to acquire the book, but only if I were to limit it to the first 10 years; life in Baghdad.

SQ: Your refusal to diverge from the book’s aims is honourable, especially in light of the fact that it was your first interested publisher! Is there a chance you would be willing to share a writing sample from the book, one you feel best exemplifies the book’s overall premise?

SF: Yes, gladly – but with no restriction on future publication whatsoever. There are some very compelling stories. 

SQ: That’s very generous, Saul. I’m including your email address, Fathi@optonline.net, for potential samplers to contact you. Have you begun to market the book? 

SF: Only through soliciting agents and publishers with proposal and sample chapter!

SQ: Which marketing techniques do you feel might work best?

SF: I think the internet offers excellent prospects, although I would prefer to go the traditional publishing way.

SQ: How do you support yourself financially while writing?

SF: I am retired on Social Security after 35 years in management and electrical engineering, working for some Fortune-500 companies. I supplement my income with savings.

SQ: Do you have other publications in the works? If so, please share descriptions!

SF: Yes, I am planning a major book on the history of the Middle-East and its three great religions.

SQ: Is there an author that influences your writing? If so, who?

SF: History and poetry were always my favourite reading – I am especially fond of R. Tagore and Hafiz.

SQ: Would you consider yourself a successful author / writer? Why or why not?

SF: No. I began writing a diary at age eleven then my short stories and poetry were published in Israeli youth magazines from ages 12 to 17. But this is my first full book project.

SQ: Your being published so young is successful in itself. Congratulations on recovering your writing passion! What advice can you give aspiring authors regarding beginning the publishing process?

SF: Only the one I am trying to adhere to: be patient and persevere!

SQ: Is there any information / websites you would like to add to this interview?

SF: Eventually there will be. Any help you or your readers can give me in this regard would be deeply appreciated.

SQ: Okay, until you secure yourself a publisher who may / may not give you a website, create your own for free at http://hometown.aol.com/hmtwn123/index.htm or for cheap at http://www.authorsden.com. You can demonstrate your book’s finest qualities at your site and its URL address will serve an easy link to refer potential agents, publishers and readers to. https://www.firstwriter.com will take you to firstwriter.com's main page where you can hunt through an advanced database of 400-plus literary agencies to find YOUR agent in moments – and I recommend subscribing to my writing-life newsletter at http://www.authorsden.com/sarawebbquest since my next newsletter will discuss best ways new authors can get the word out about their books! Thank you, Saul, for sharing your amazing story with firstwriter.com!

SF: Thank you for your wonderful service. 

You can visit Saul's website at www.saulsilasfathi.com

 
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