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becke_davis
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One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Please welcome ADAM LEBOR to B&N's Mystery Forum! You'll find his website here:

 

http://www.adamlebor.com/

 

 

I am a British author and journalist. I grew up in London in the 1970s and studied at Leeds University, where I also edited the student newspaper. I enjoyed a peripatetic career on a number of Fleet Street newspapers with assignments that ranged from seeking London’s best dry Martini to investigating Nazi war criminals who found sanctuary in Britain.

In 1991 I decided to become a foreign correspondent and moved to Budapest to cover the aftermath of the collapse of Communism.

 

I also spent much time in the former Yugoslavia, covering the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. I moved to Paris for a year in 1997 to write a thriller, which eventually became The Budapest Protocol, then returned to Budapest. Over the years I have worked in more than 30 countries and enjoyed some hair raising adventures along the way. I now write for the Economist, The Times (of London), Monocle, Traveler and many others and I review books for the New York Times and the Financial Times. I also teach journalism at Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Budapest.

 

I've written eight non-fiction books and two novels, which have been published in twelve languages including Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and Hungarian. These include the ground-breaking Hitler’s Secret Bankers, which exposed Swiss economic complicity with Nazi Germany and which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize; a biography of Slobodan Milosevic, now regarded as the standard work on his life and City of Oranges, which recounts the lives of Arab and Jewish families in Jaffa, and which was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize.

 

The Geneva Option, the first in a series of thrillers featuring Yael Azoulay, is published by Telegram in Britain and HarperCollins in the US. Tower of Basel, my investigative history of the Bank for International Settlements, the world's most secretive and influential financial institution, will be published in the US and Britain in June by PublicAffairs.

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

The Geneva Option  

 

Overview

 

 

Yael Azoulay does the United Nations' dirty work by cutting deals that most of us never hear about. Equally at home in the caves of Afghanistan, the slums of Gaza, or corporate boardrooms all across the world, Yael believes the ends justify the means...until she's pushed way beyond her breaking point.

 

When Yael is assigned to eastern Congo to negotiate with Jean-Pierre Hakizimani, a Hutu warlord wanted for genocide, she offers him a generous plea bargain. Thanks to Congo's abundance of a valuable mineral used in computer and cell phone production, her number one priority is maintaining regional stability. But when she discovers that Hakizimani is linked to the death of the person she loved the most—and that the UN is prepared to sanction mass murder—Yael soon realizes that salvation means not just saving others' lives but confronting her own inner demons.

 

Spanning New York City, Africa, and Switzerland, The Geneva Option is the first in a series of gripping conspiracy thrillers, a tour de force of international espionage and intrigue.

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

GENEVA OPTION - Excerpt

 

            Yael Azoulay tapped her pencil on the cover of the blue plastic file and slid it across the coffee table. “Game over, Professor,” she said.

            Jean-Pierre Hakizimani smiled and picked up the bottle of Johnnie Walker Gold Label whisky. “And if I say otherwise?”

            Yael slowly shook her head. “There is no otherwise.”

            Hakizimani poured himself a generous measure and picked up the folder. He glanced at the United Nations logo on the cover and opened the file, flipping through the pages as though examining an essay by an especially tiresome student. He slowly tore the sheets into pieces, dropped the shreds into an overflowing ashtray, and reached for the heavy silver cigarette lighter on the table in front of him. He pressed the lighter gently and touched the flame to the scraps. The papers began to burn.

            Yael leaned forward, picked up the bottle and upended it over the ashtray. The flames smoked and sputtered. The tawny liquid slopped over the sides, the ash and cigarette ends swirling in the puddle as it spread over the table. The stink of alcohol filled the room. Yael put the whisky back down. She picked out a scrap—sodden, charred at the edges, and emblazoned with the logo of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She placed it in front of him. She then extracted another piece from the wet mess on which Hakizimani’s photograph and the word “genocide” were clearly visible.

            “Shall I continue?” she asked.

            “What do you want?” he said, his voice bored.

            “You to stop.”

            “Stop what? Smoking cigarettes? Wasting my time in meetings like this?”

            Yael spoke clearly and methodically, as though to an errant child. The puddle had spread to the edge of the table and began to drip over the side, taking the ash and cigarette ends with it.

            “You stop killing Tutsis. You stop your raids into Rwanda. You disband the Rwandan Liberation Front, send your Hutu militiamen home, and close your bases in Congo. You sign a peace treaty with Rwanda and the new government here. You surrender to the UN tribunal.”

            Hakizimani laughed. “Absurd. Go back to New York or wherever you came from.”

            “Prison, or a life on the run, Professor. You choose.”

            “That does not sound like much of a choice,” he said.

            She pulled the chair close and looked into his eyes. They were a startling shade of turquoise. “It’s more than your victims had.”

            “That’s true,” he said, smiling.

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

The Istanbul Exchange  

 

Overview

 

 

Meet Yael Azoulay, the brilliant and beautiful behind-the-scenes negotiator for the United Nations. Tasked with persuading an Afghan warlord—and friend of hers—to surrender to the Americans, she is quickly pulled into into a dangerous world of secret rendition, torture and arms trafficking to Syrian rebels. The high-stakes game soon turns deadly as Yael finds herself up against a shadowy agency of the US government. Everything depends on her next move....

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adam_lebor
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR![ New ]
 

Thanks so much for generously showcasing my work on this wonderful forum. I am honoured and flattered to be part of this readers' community - it's great to have such a human connection in the age of instant digital communication.

 

Thriller and mystery writers take inspiration from all kinds of sources. It's an interesting story how I first got the idea for Yael Azoulay, the heroine of my new thriller series. It all started with the Bible - or a Bible history lesson when I was at school. One day the teacher told us the story of Yael. After the Israelites defeated the Canaanites in battle, Sisera, the Canaanite general fled. He passed by Yael's tent and she brought him inside, promising him safety. Some time later, Barak, the Israelite general passed by, looking for Sisera. Yael ushered him into her tent. There was Sisera, dead, with a tent-peg through his head. As you can imagine, this story made a strong impression on a sixteen year old...!

 

The story of Yael stayed with me through the years and blended in with my experiences as a foreign correspondent. During the 1990s I covered the wars in Yugoslavia for The Times of London. I saw first hand the strange and deeply ambiguous role of the United Nations. The UN flew aid into Sarajevo but also, in effect, helped administer the siege: UN soldiers prevented local people from reaching the airport or flying out on UN planes. UN peacekeepers handed over 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica to the Bosnian Serbs, who then spent several days murdering them while the UN and the west did nothing.

 

At the same time, the New York UN headquarters is a fascinating building, 38 floors of intrigue, conspiracies and betrayal, full of spies and intelligence operatives. Yet there are also many good people working there, with a strong sense of moral mission . So I began to wonder, what if there was someone at the UN charged with doing the behind the scenes deals, someone with a strong moral sense of right and wrong, but who was forced to operate in a world of greys and ambiguity - perhaps even to kill?

 

Thus was born Yael Azoulay and The Geneva Option. But Yael is no automaton - she is a woman, in her mid-thirties. Her personal life is a mess, her family relationships a disaster. She is haunted too, by her past and as she goes deeper into danger, the ghosts haunt her ever more vividly.

 

You can read a Yael Azoulay novella, The Istanbul Exchange for free - its available in all formats including the Nook and also includes a taster for The Geneva Option.

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-istanbul-exchange-adam-lebor/1115181604?ean=9780062301932&itm=1&...

 

Please let me know your thoughts and share your comments. I welcome feedback from readers. It's you, after all, who keep us writers in business. Thanks.

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!


adam_lebor wrote:
Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR![ New ]
 

Thanks so much for generously showcasing my work on this wonderful forum. I am honoured and flattered to be part of this readers' community - it's great to have such a human connection in the age of instant digital communication.

 

Thriller and mystery writers take inspiration from all kinds of sources. It's an interesting story how I first got the idea for Yael Azoulay, the heroine of my new thriller series. It all started with the Bible - or a Bible history lesson when I was at school. One day the teacher told us the story of Yael. After the Israelites defeated the Canaanites in battle, Sisera, the Canaanite general fled. He passed by Yael's tent and she brought him inside, promising him safety. Some time later, Barak, the Israelite general passed by, looking for Sisera. Yael ushered him into her tent. There was Sisera, dead, with a tent-peg through his head. As you can imagine, this story made a strong impression on a sixteen year old...!

 

The story of Yael stayed with me through the years and blended in with my experiences as a foreign correspondent. During the 1990s I covered the wars in Yugoslavia for The Times of London. I saw first hand the strange and deeply ambiguous role of the United Nations. The UN flew aid into Sarajevo but also, in effect, helped administer the siege: UN soldiers prevented local people from reaching the airport or flying out on UN planes. UN peacekeepers handed over 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica to the Bosnian Serbs, who then spent several days murdering them while the UN and the west did nothing.

 

At the same time, the New York UN headquarters is a fascinating building, 38 floors of intrigue, conspiracies and betrayal, full of spies and intelligence operatives. Yet there are also many good people working there, with a strong sense of moral mission . So I began to wonder, what if there was someone at the UN charged with doing the behind the scenes deals, someone with a strong moral sense of right and wrong, but who was forced to operate in a world of greys and ambiguity - perhaps even to kill?

 

Thus was born Yael Azoulay and The Geneva Option. But Yael is no automaton - she is a woman, in her mid-thirties. Her personal life is a mess, her family relationships a disaster. She is haunted too, by her past and as she goes deeper into danger, the ghosts haunt her ever more vividly.

 

You can read a Yael Azoulay novella, The Istanbul Exchange for free - its available in all formats including the Nook and also includes a taster for The Geneva Option.

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-istanbul-exchange-adam-lebor/1115181604?ean=9780062301932&itm=1&...

 

Please let me know your thoughts and share your comments. I welcome feedback from readers. It's you, after all, who keep us writers in business. Thanks.


Adam - I'm so glad you were able to sign in okay! (The sign in process has been plagued by gremlins and trolls lately.)

 

Have you included any real events from your work as a foreign correspondent in your books, or have you relied completely on your imagination? I imagine there are a lot of stories you could tell!

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becke_davis
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

One more question, if you don't mind. What book are you working on now? Can you share any details about it, or is it too soon to say?

 

Also, will you be doing any Barnes & Noble book signings this year?

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!


becke_davis wrote:

Please welcome ADAM LEBOR to B&N's Mystery Forum! You'll find his website here:

 

http://www.adamlebor.com/

 

 

I am a British author and journalist. I grew up in London in the 1970s and studied at Leeds University, where I also edited the student newspaper. I enjoyed a peripatetic career on a number of Fleet Street newspapers with assignments that ranged from seeking London’s best dry Martini to investigating Nazi war criminals who found sanctuary in Britain.

In 1991 I decided to become a foreign correspondent and moved to Budapest to cover the aftermath of the collapse of Communism.

 

I also spent much time in the former Yugoslavia, covering the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. I moved to Paris for a year in 1997 to write a thriller, which eventually became The Budapest Protocol, then returned to Budapest. Over the years I have worked in more than 30 countries and enjoyed some hair raising adventures along the way. I now write for the Economist, The Times (of London), Monocle, Traveler and many others and I review books for the New York Times and the Financial Times. I also teach journalism at Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Budapest.

 

I've written eight non-fiction books and two novels, which have been published in twelve languages including Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and Hungarian. These include the ground-breaking Hitler’s Secret Bankers, which exposed Swiss economic complicity with Nazi Germany and which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize; a biography of Slobodan Milosevic, now regarded as the standard work on his life and City of Oranges, which recounts the lives of Arab and Jewish families in Jaffa, and which was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize.

 

The Geneva Option, the first in a series of thrillers featuring Yael Azoulay, is published by Telegram in Britain and HarperCollins in the US. Tower of Basel, my investigative history of the Bank for International Settlements, the world's most secretive and influential financial institution, will be published in the US and Britain in June by PublicAffairs.


I'm curious, Adam - did you find London’s best dry Martini, and if so, where did you find it?

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adam_lebor
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Thanks Becke, that's a good question, as to whether I have used real events in my fiction. I can say that facts inspire fiction- for example, the protagonist of my first thriller, The Budapest Protocol, was a foreign correspondent based in Budapest, as I am....more than a little coincidence, perhaps...!

 

The Yael Azoulay series, set in and around the UN, definitely has its roots in my time as a correspondent covering the wars in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, when I first encountered the UN in action - or, more often, in inaction. That led me to write a non-fiction investigation on the UN and its failures to confront genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, called 'Complicity with Evil' and that's when I really got to know how the organisation worked and started to understand all the complex inner politics there, where everyone seemed to be plotting, watching and calculating all the time. The Geneva Option is a work of fiction but it was inspired in part by my factual investigatiove book. I thought the UN, which sometimes seems like a cross between the last days of the Roman Empire and the court of the Borgias, would be a good setting for a series of international thrillers and I hope I am right. 

 

As for the future, I am now working on the next Yael Azoulay novel. I dont want to say too much about the current plotline but the book will take her deeper into danger and further back in her past as we learn more about her story and what motivates her. There will be some surprises too, I hope. 

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adam_lebor
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

I did, and I learnt a lot about the science - it really is a science - of mixing drinks and cocktails - comparative viscosity, the role of ice etc. In those days at least the best dry Martini was to be found at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel and that certainly remains one of the most stylish and glamorous place in the city, even now.

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adam_lebor
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

No plans at the moment to do any B & N book signings this year -  but I am definitely open to offers the next time I am in NYC

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becke_davis
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!


adam_lebor wrote:

Thanks Becke, that's a good question, as to whether I have used real events in my fiction. I can say that facts inspire fiction- for example, the protagonist of my first thriller, The Budapest Protocol, was a foreign correspondent based in Budapest, as I am....more than a little coincidence, perhaps...!

 

The Yael Azoulay series, set in and around the UN, definitely has its roots in my time as a correspondent covering the wars in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, when I first encountered the UN in action - or, more often, in inaction. That led me to write a non-fiction investigation on the UN and its failures to confront genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, called 'Complicity with Evil' and that's when I really got to know how the organisation worked and started to understand all the complex inner politics there, where everyone seemed to be plotting, watching and calculating all the time. The Geneva Option is a work of fiction but it was inspired in part by my factual investigatiove book. I thought the UN, which sometimes seems like a cross between the last days of the Roman Empire and the court of the Borgias, would be a good setting for a series of international thrillers and I hope I am right. 

 

As for the future, I am now working on the next Yael Azoulay novel. I dont want to say too much about the current plotline but the book will take her deeper into danger and further back in her past as we learn more about her story and what motivates her. There will be some surprises too, I hope. 


Thanks for sharing this with us. What about Yael's character? Is she based on someone - or a compilation of someones - you met while working abroad?

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becke_davis
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Sorry to bombard you with questions, but now that you're an accomplished author, is it hard to find a balance between journalism and fiction writing?

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Welcome to the board.  And I know this is the Mystery Board, but after reading about your books, City of Oranges just went on my wishlist.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

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becke_davis
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!


Ryan_G wrote:

Welcome to the board.  And I know this is the Mystery Board, but after reading about your books, City of Oranges just went on my wishlist.


I know what you mean! My son isn't a big mystery reader, but he's an economist. I'm going to pick up a couple of Adam's books for him. I think he'll be interested in these:

 

Tower of Basel  

The Believers  

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adam_lebor
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Bombard away, Becke, that's what the forum is for :smileyhappy: !

 

So who is Yael based on? That's a good question, there is something of the Biblical Yael in her, but of course, I never met the Biblical Yael. I think she was also inspired by some of the female aid workers that I met working for the UN and other organisations during the Yugoslav wars: smart, feisty, brave and very determined women. I have also spent a lot of time in Israel where there are soldiers, including female ones, everywhere. I am quite fascinated by the tension between the traditional ideas of womanhood: nurturing, motherhood, femininity and modern ideas of independence, career and simply not taking any more nonsense from sexist men. But Yael is also a very human protagonist (I hope). Her biological clock is ticking ever more loudly and insistently and part of her wonders why she is living like this...

 

As for the mix of journalism and fiction - I am ever more capitivated by fiction and I am starting to wind down the journalism. I still enjoy occasional reporting, which gets me out and about, but eventually I would probably aim to be a full time writer, mostly of fiction, but with occasional non-fiction books as well. The one feeds off the other - as was the case with Complicity with Evil, my investigation into the UN and the Yael Azoulay series. 

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adam_lebor
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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Thanks so much, Ryan. Actually, City of Oranges is my favourite non-fiction book, apart from my newest (Tower of Basel). I tried very hard to recount the human story of Israel and Palestine in City of Oranges. I was very gratified when I hosted a small party in Jaffa for all the people in the book and they all came and chatted to each other, Jews, Muslims and Christians. Whatever divides us we are still united by our common humanity. 

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Re: One Day Feature with Author ADAM LEBOR!

Thinking more about the mix of journalism and fiction, I do think that the digital and e-book age brings new opportunities for writers working on contemporary-themed thrillers. I got the idea for The Istanbul Exchange, my Yael Azoulay novella, in part from newspaper reports about rendition and torture, and a story in the NYT about the US sending arms to Syrian rebels. I wrote The Istanbul Exchange in March and it was published as a free e-book short, with a couple of chapters from The Geneva Option, a few weeks later. you can download it on your Nook here:

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-istanbul-exchange-adam-lebor/1115181604?ean=9780062301932&itm=1&...