I am delighted to welcome Miriam Drori, author of Neither Here Nor There. Miriam was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and two of her grown up children in Jerusalem. With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing novels and short stories for ten years. Two of her short stories have been published in anthologies and others have been published online. “Neither Here Nor There” published on 17th June, 2014 is her first novel. Here is an excerpt.
Jerusalem. Esty recently escaped from the ultra-orthodox community in which she grew up.
The scene begins in the Mahane Yehuda Market…
Esty walked along the alleyways, noting the quality and prices of the items she wanted. Potatoes, courgettes, carrots, onions. She revelled in the familiar sights, sounds and smells. With so much that was new and different for her, it felt good to return to this whiff of home.
“Sweet mangos. Only six shekels.”
The loud voice just next to her startled Esty. How did these people keep shouting all day without getting sore throats?
Retracing her steps, Esty stopped at a stall selling carrots. “Could I have a bag, please?” she said to the vendor, a youngish man with black curly hair and a swarthy skin.
“For you, I’ll give anything.” The vendor’s accent showed his Eastern heritage. Iraq or Syria or somewhere like that. The man himself was probably born in Israel, but he’d inherited the accent, the guttural As and Hs in particular. He reached up to a metal hook, tore off a plastic bag from the many hanging there and handed it to Esty.
Esty smiled, confident that his words weren’t intended to lead anywhere, and picked out her carrots from the huge pile.
When Esty turned round after putting her last purchase into the shopping bag she’d taken from the flat, she spotted Mrs Greenspan and the same woman she’d seen in the shopping centre. At the same moment, the woman pointed towards Esty and the two began to stride purposefully towards her.
Esty panicked. She had to get away from these women, but how? She couldn’t reach the bus stop, because the women were blocking that route. She could slip through the alley opposite her and double back along the parallel road, but that was wide and they’d spot her easily because it would be less crowded. So Esty stayed in the alleyway and started running away from the women, towards Jaffa Road. It was hard with the heavy bag, squeezing between the shoppers.
“Sorry,” she called to a startled woman brushed on the leg by Esty’s bag.
Glancing back, Esty saw the two women looking fierce and coming nearer. She turned and ran to Jaffa Road as fast as the heavy bag would let her. Now what? A train had just drawn up into the station. If she ran, she might just make it. With all her strength, she carried the bag over the railway lines and then across the little road. A car hooted but she ignored it. She had to get to that train.
Miriam began writing in order to help raise awareness of social anxiety. Since then, the scope of her writing has widened, but she hasn’t lost sight of her original goal.
For more information on Miriam Drori please visit http://buff.ly/1NH7nqC