Today we're excited to talk with Avraham Anouchi, author of The Hidden Scroll: An Archeological Adventure.
FQ: In the later part of the book we find Avner retired from his work in electronics. A sentence states, "While he followed his work in archaeology with passion, he barely kept up with the advances in electronics." (p. 312) How closely, sans the obvious fictional aspects of this character's life, does Avner's life mirror your own?
Growing up in Israel instilled in me my passion for archaeology and Jewish history. It was an important factor in molding the character and action of Avner, the novel’s protagonist. I included several events in my life, such as my battle experience in the 1948 Israel’s War of Independence, the loss of my own wife to cancer and my education, but I am not an archaeologist. I am just an admirer of what archaeology can reveal about ancient Jewish history.
FQ: Haj Amin chose the name "Bismillah" for his "new organization." What was your thought behind using this Arabic word, one that many thinks connects us with our Creator?
“BISMILLAH” in Arabic means “In the Name of Allah.” It certainly is connected with our creator. I chose this title for Haj Amin’s new organization because it dramatizes the use of Jihad as though it is done in the name of Allah. It represents a radical interpretation of the Koran. My hope was to present the need for Islamic clerics to reject the fanatical use of religion as a call to declare war on all infidels in “The Name of Allah.”
FQ: Avner pondered whether or not he had chosen the right door in his life. Do you feel you chose the right one or ones in your life?
It is a hard question to answer. I was fortunate to have chosen the college education and the profession I love. If I had to choose it again, I would probably repeat my selection. However, my decision was influenced by factors outside my control. I was accepted to several universities, including one in Geneva, one in Grenoble, France, and three in the United States. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I chosen another university.
I always wanted to be a writer, but my engineering profession demanded intensive concentration in technical problem solving and designs rather than literary art. I don’t regret my choice.
FQ: "Avener became addicted to Jewish history." (p. 79) Can you tell us a bit about your interest in the history of the Jewish people?
I am an avid reader of Jewish history in two important eras. The first is the struggle of the Jewish people against the Roman rule before and during the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The second is the Golden Age of Jewish scholarship in the Iberian Peninsula from the eight to the fifteenth century.
FQ: Ibn Najad is not a nice person. Was he a hard character to bring to life?
It was very easy. The media is full of reports on fanatic Islamist terrorists who are dedicated to kill civilians in the name of Allah.
FQ: Your book is obviously a labor of love and written with passion. What influences in your life drew you into its creation?
After publishing a memoir in Hebrew and another in English, I was intrigued by the idea of writing a novel about hope. Hope for peace to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. I created three plots combining the conflict, the search for an ancient scroll and the involvement of the Dalai Lama, a non-radical Imam and a Rabbi. I am not sure I succeeded, but I created a base on which I may build a better novel in the future.
To learn more about The Hidden Scroll: An Archeological Adventure, please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.