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Q & A with Dan Sofer, author of A Love and Beyond

What was the inspiration for A Love and Beyond?

A first date at a restaurant in Jerusalem.

The evening went very well: romantic ambience, flowing conversation, chemistry. The second date flopped. There was no third date. I wondered why that first date had seemed so promising. Was it all in the location? What if a particular restaurant had special properties that guaranteed a great date?

These musings led to a short story. A few years later I decided to turn the story into a novel. Seven years after that, after a number of drafts, I completed A Love and Beyond.

So the story is based on your first-hand experiences as a single person living in Katamon. Are the characters based on real people?

Like Dave, I spent seven years as a single in Katamon before I met my wife. The novel builds on a lot of those experiences, but Dave is not based on my personal life story. Neither are the other characters, although for each character I know four or five real people who might think the character is based on them. But sorry, the characters are all figments of my overactive imagination.

And no, I was never involved with any ruthless secret societies, and, unfortunately, I have not discovered that billion-dollar treasure.

A Love and Beyond contains much archaeological data as well as many references to Jewish lore and legend. Are these also figments of your imagination?

The biblical and Talmudic quotations and interpretations are all real, as are the archaeological facts and personalities. The Judean desert sect, their writings, and the Copper Scroll are all real, as are the controversies regarding alleged references to early Christian figures in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

However, the plot that weaves all these together as well as speculations regarding the locations of the treasure and all that leads to it are fictional.

On your web site you provide a free discussion sheet for book clubs. What makes A Love and Beyond a good candidate for book club readers?

It was important to me for the novel to have a well-developed emotional layer in addition to the fast-paced adventure and mystery. Personally I enjoy reading books that linger in my mind long after I have finished them, books that make me think of the world and my life a little differently.

Although the characters live in a very specific and atypical milieu, the issues and experiences that they grapple with are universal and can trigger interesting discussions. I hope I have succeeded in this.

Your next book is due late-2015. Does it pick up where A Love and Beyond left off?

My current novel is also set in Jerusalem but involves new characters in different and quite unexpected situations.

Readers who enjoyed A Love and Beyond can look forward to a romantic adventure of a similar style and pacing, but with lots of surprises.

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ISBN: 0986393215

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