Interview of Rodef Vokli, the author of ‘Diet to Live Diet to Die’
Q1. What excites you most about your book's topic? Why did you choose it?
Actually, it chose me… For quite some time I’d been wondering, “Does living become dying when eating becomes dieting,” but then I met Zakhariy, who pointed me towards understanding what makes my life living as opposed to dying.
So, the topic of the novel, which chose me, is ‘Diet to Live vs. Diet to Die,’ as opposed approaches to life. This is a story about realizing that it is not as if one chose one diet or another—no, one chooses a way to live her/his life, and in so doing, one ends up on either the Diet to Live or the Diet to Die.
We all intend to Diet to Live and are stunned to find out that our body treats our intention as the ‘Diet to Die.’
Q2. How long did the book take you from start to finish?
I’d say two years, from the time I really began putting in more than few hours a week. And two years before that I was writing sporadically, only when some event reminded me of the topic.
Q3. What aspect of writing the book did you find particularly challenging?
To make it sound…, have a flow. Do you know what I mean? To make it sound one has to bring a beat of life into the structure, an emotional flow into the form...
When that is achieved then a miracle happens—the book isn’t a text that a reader is reading anymore, but a sound she/he hears inside like music. Sometimes it’s pleasant and dreamy, and sometimes it is like a clash of cymbals that makes you cry out loud, ‘Holy shit! What was that?’
Q4. What surprised you the most about the book writing process?
A trembling in my chest!
The first time I felt it, I laughed at myself, considering it to be so childish, so emotional…
With time it became my only differentiator between writing and scribbling letters on a piece of a paper.
Q5. What do you hope your readers will gain from reading your book?
I hope they will gain absolutely nothing… but lose a lot… lose the ignorance they have in knowing too much, as the protagonist of the novel did. I hope they stop knowing and start understanding. If a question like “Does living become dying when eating becomes dieting?” confuses them and at the same time attracts them, then this book is right for them. Then, as they read the book they might stop pretending to be alive… and start living.
Come to think of it, actually my "nothing" wasn't absolute; they can learn to please their partner in bed. But I hope that is not the only thing they come away with from the book.
Q6. What projects are you currently working on?
Quite a few actually… and the most exciting and immediate project, which I’m working on with my dearest friend Amrisha, is a book of recipes… that isn't a book of recipes. The same way the novel Diet to Die is not a book on diets. I mean it will have cookable recipes in it, but the book is an emotional story of a girl transforming into a woman.
Q7. Is writing your sole career? If not, what else do you do?
Oh no! It’s not my career at all.
Writing is something I indulge in when I have breaks from doing science and engineering.. just like the ecstatic dancing and trekking I do.
Q8. Did you do any research for your books, or did you write from experience?
I did quite a bit of research on dieting—that is the background the story is developed on, and I wanted to be very clear and up to date with the material. The rest was just Zakhariy’s voice I put on the paper.
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