Indie Author Giveway and Intro: Ezra Barany’s The Torah Codes
Welcome to my series of Interviews with Indie Authors. Today I feature — quite proudly — the release of my husband’s suspense novel, The Torah Codes.
In celebration of the day, we’re doing a series of giveaways to blog commenters throughout the day! We’ll be giving away three lovely items:
- at 12 noon, the mp3 album, Sacred Seas, written and performed by Ezra Barany;
- at 4pm, the ebook, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Published by FireWolf Books,
- and at 8pm, a print copy of The Torah Codes, Ezra’s book. All times Pacific.
Names will be chosen at random using Random.org from the commenters at those three times. So comment away! Let us know what you think or if you have any questions for Ezra! He’ll pop on the blog during the day and answer your questions and comments. Thanks!
Ezra Barany has been fascinated by codes and puzzles ever since he was a little tot.
Even before we started dating, we were sending emails in code. 🙂
He started writing suspense and thriller stories in college and got seriously interested in the Bible Codes while attending Aish HaTorah’s Discovery Seminar in Jerusalem. The Torah Codes is Ezra’s first novel. Ezra has been a high school physics teacher, fiction writing teacher, songwriting teacher, ESL teacher to French children and pop performer. In his free time, he writes mushy love songs inspired by his wife and book coach Beth Barany. (Yeah! That’s me! See Sacred Seas for some of the songs he’s written for me.)
Ezra now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is working on his next book. (When he’s not hanging out watching movies and playing video games or editing videos.)
We chatted about his book and prepared this Q & A for you.
Q. What was the inspiration for your suspense novel The Torah Codes?
A. You ever have the experience where what you learn gives you such an epiphany that your whole outlook on life changes? That’s what happened with me. In Jerusalem, long before I met you, I took Aish HaTorah’s Discovery seminar, a seminar that offers to scientifically prove G-d’s existence. They had various approaches, but the one that stood out for me was the Torah codes. The experiment done in evaluating the Torah codes used the scientific method of Oh-HECk: Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment, and Conclusion. Actually, when I taught physics in high school, I always said “Oh-HECk-eR” to include Replication as part of the scientific process. And the Torah codes experiment was indeed replicated successfully by open-minded skeptics.
Q. While that’s interesting, it doesn’t quite answer the question of what the inspiration was for your novel. The plot? The characters? That sort of thing. You know what I mean!
A. Ah! Well, I took a completely non-scientific approach to creating the storyline. I had Torah code software to search for codes, so I made a list of loaded words and phrases, words like “world fire,” “apocalypse,” “end of the world,” and so on. From the few words I found encoded in the Torah, I then formulated a plot around them. That way, as the main character had experiences relating to those words, he’d find them in the Torah and go, “Oh my gosh! My fate has been predicted in the Bible!” So the words I found dictated how the storyline would go. But imagine that for a second! Imagine what it would be like to find your name encoded in the Bible. And then imagine how religious fundamentalists would react if they found that out about you! Now that’s a story!
Q. Fun! And the inspiration for the characters of Nathan and Sophia and the bad guy, who we won’t reveal yet?!
A. The protagonist is a combination of Lee Child’s hard-nosed character Reacher, the crafty MacGyver (though I confess, I never saw that show), and myself, I suppose. I only include myself because actually, every character I write is me in some way. The woman he meets is inspired by you! my bride and book coach, Beth Barany. The antagonist is inspired by Anthony Hopkins’ performance of Hannibal Lector, and also by a news report I once saw of a property manager who installed a two-way mirror and peepholes to watch a family of four do their daily routines. The manager was caught and his purpose for invading their privacy was for completely different reasons than the antagonist in my story.
Q. Who would enjoy reading The Torah Codes? Who is your audience?
A. Anyone who enjoyed reading The Da Vinci Code or Dan Brown’s books would find The Torah Codes to be thumping good read. Also, if you like Lee Child’s books you should check out The Torah Codes. Also, this book is for anyone who wants to reconnect with Judaism but has lost the ability to believe in an almighty Being. Put it this way: Combine the Reacher character from Lee Child’s books with Dan Brown’s pacing, and add a spoonful of scientific proof of G-d’s existence and you get The Torah Codes.
Q. What makes your book different from other suspense novels out there?
A. One thing I notice with novels and movies that have underlying messages to them is that the messages are hard to take seriously. I recently saw a Jean-Claude Van Damme film where his character gives a press conference about the problem with our nation’s reliance on oil. That’s a serious issue and deserves tremendous attention. The problem was that I’d just finished watching this same character in the movie do some unbelievable stunts and fighting, so whatever he had to say, as significant as it was, felt make-believe to me. I knew that just mentioning the Bible codes in my book was not going to give it the attention it deserved, so in an Appendix I included essays written by respected rabbis, doctors, and physicists.
The essays cover the significant themes in the book in a way that, I hope, will help people take the messages of the book more seriously. For example, my wonderful mother read my novel before the essays were included and she thought I made up the whole thing about the Torah codes. About a month later, when she read the Appendix, she asked me, “So there really are such things as codes in the Torah!” She had a completely different take on the book after reading the Appendix. The essays also make the book a great way to get classroom discussions on the themes of the book.
Q. So where can readers find out more?
Enjoy his book trailer (that he produced himself through his video production company) Let us know what you think or if you have any questions for Ezra! He’ll pop on the blog during the day and answer your questions and comments. **Be sure to comment if you’d like free music or a book! Thanks!