I am pleased to welcome Ellis Shuman, author of The Burgas Affair, to Totally Addicted to Reading!
What Inspired Me to Set My Novels in Bulgaria
My crime thriller, The Burgas Affair, is set in Bulgaria and Israel. Why Israel? That setting can be attributed to the fact that I moved to Israel at the age of fifteen with my family and have lived here ever since. But why Bulgaria?
Most readers would probably not be able to locate Bulgaria on a map. I had never been to Bulgaria and knew nothing about the country when my job was relocated to Sofia, the capital, for two years. Bulgaria? Of all places in the world! I didn’t speak Bulgarian and coming from Israel, I wasn’t prepared to face the harsh winters of Eastern Europe.
I arrived in an unseasonably warm January. This is not too bad, I thought. But when my wife joined me three weeks later, she landed in the midst of a fierce snowstorm with sub-zero temperatures. “Why did you bring me here?” she asked me.
The weather warmed and we got settled in our daily routine. We both had jobs in a modern office building and shopped for groceries in a well-stocked supermarket located in a fancy mall. Our apartment was heated and comfortably furnished with all the modern appliances. Our co-workers spoke English so we managed just fine. We had a good Internet connection which enabled us to call our family in Israel whenever we wanted, at no cost.
On the weekends, we began to explore Bulgaria. We walked the streets of Sofia, traveled into the countryside to visit the picturesque villages and ate its tasty cuisine in the restaurants. Bulgaria is blessed with stunning nature—mountains, forests, and sandy Black Sea beaches. We learned about Bulgaria’s rich history, including the story of the militant Thracian tribes that ruled the region before the Romans. In short, we fell in love with the scenery, the culture, and the people.
Nobody knows how special Bulgaria is, I thought. After my job returned me to Israel, I devoted myself to writing about Bulgaria, both fiction and non-fiction. My first novel, Valley of Thracians, was published in 2013. And now, The Burgas Affair. In addition to being a crime thriller, the book introduces readers to both Israel and Bulgaria. I hope you enjoy it!
Ellis Shuman is an American-born, Israeli author, travel writer, and book reviewer. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel.
After working for several years in the hotel industry, he today writes and edits online marketing content. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria.
His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and a wide range of Internet websites. His collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz, was originally published in 2003. His novel Valley of Thracians was published in 2013 and his novel The Burgas Affair was published in 2017. Ellis lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem.