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Interview with me on Electronic Intifada

I’m flattered to be featured in Electronic Intifada’s Arts and Culture section.  Thanks to Hannah Mermelstein for doing this interview!

Interview: Palestine a rich landscape for a mystery
Hannah Mermelstein, The Electronic Intifada, 31 March 2010

Hannah Mermelstein: You have been a Palestine solidarity activist for many years, and have written a number of both descriptive and analytical nonfiction articles about Palestine. What inspired you to move into the realm of fiction writing?

Kate Raphael: I’ve been writing fiction for about 15 years. I wrote half a mystery back in the late ’90s, and then put it down because I had an idea for a literary fiction work, and when I went to Palestine in 2002, I had written about a third of it. I actually took it with me, thinking I would work on it when I had breaks in my work there, but it just didn’t make sense.

I’ve been an avid mystery reader for years, and I especially love mysteries that introduce me to cultures or places I don’t know anything about. It’s also a really good way to raise political issues in a non-polemical way, to humanize issues. Sara Paretsky’s Blacklist, for instance, which I actually read in Palestine, deals with the USA PATRIOT Act and compares it to the McCarthy period. Walter Mosely writes about racism in a way that white people can hear, because it’s entertaining and his characters are so likable. Tony Hillerman has introduced a generation of Americans to the Navajo culture.

So one night I was riding with some friends on a Palestinian dirt road that passes under an Israeli settler highway, and I looked up and saw a car that seemed to be abandoned up on the bridge, and I told my friend, “That would be a great way for a mystery to start.” So the next time I had a break, I just started writing, thinking of characters you might find in that place, and what the mystery of an abandoned car on the bridge might be….Read the rest of the interview



Categories: Press
  1. April 4, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Great interview, Kate (and Hannah)! And I’m intrigued about Murder Under the Fig Tree already … sounds like a fascinating cultural tightrope to walk, which is sure to amp up the mystery’s anxiety.

  2. Arl
    April 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Kate, Fabulous interview! Especially important in getting the word out about your unique and way cool book. But, but,…me want more chapters!!!

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