Interview with Nora Houri‐Haim, Author of Cover Me With My Izar
05 Oct 2022
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Cover Me With My Izar?
The inspiration for my book is my family folklore. All of my short stories are based on my family’s stories of immigrating from Iraq to Israel during the Great Aliyah of 1951-1952. The highly esteemed Russian-born Hebrew poet, Shaul Tzernichovsky, wrote: “People are nothing more than a small plot of land, the landscape of their childhood.”
I never had the privilege to lay my eyes on the landscape of our motherland, which came crashing down with the Great Aliyah; writing allows me to try and recreate it. I wanted to put pen to paper as a way to preserve our stories for future generations, so that they don’t disappear with the first generation, which is leaving us all too quickly.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Cover Me With My Izar, what would they be?
I would choose two songs: “Hava Nagila”, which was easy for immigrants to learn and which they enjoyed singing; I’d also choose Umm Kulthum’s “Enta Omry”, which is all about yearning for a beloved culture.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I enjoy reading short stories and fictional literature, and try to combine both styles in my writing.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
● Alice Munro–Too much happiness ● Fredrik Backman–A man called Ove ● Anthony McCarten–The darkest hour
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
The scene where one of the female protagonists–Serah–achieves her plans and starts a new life, as well as other scenes.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
I like writing in crowded coffee shops; when there’s lots of noise and people around I’m able to focus on my writing.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
The motto I live by is “Carpe Diem”– Live the day!
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I’d like them to remember that even if you’re uprooted from your ancestral home, end up in a strange, foreign land and face endless difficulties, you can always plant new roots that will help you to succeed and thrive.
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