Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Meet a Writer Wednesday Presents:

Zvi Zaks

1. Tell me about your book Virtual Affair and where you got your
inspiration for it?

I started A VIRTUAL AFFAIR because I was feeling naughty and wanted to write something pornographic. And I succeeded,though the version in the book is much tamer than the original short story. The main character, Barbara--a computer program dedicated to making people happy--appealed to me, so I wrote more about her. A good friend gave me plot ideas, and the result is a three part novel.
2. Was there ever a time when you nearly gave up on becoming an author?

In 2010, the rejection letters had become just too consistent. I had managed to sell a few short stories, and those with difficulty, but no one was interested in the novels.  Then a publisher, Lilly Press, accepted one of my full-length stories. They went out of business before publishing my novel, IMPLAC, but at least now I knew that someone in the business felt my writing had merit.  In 2011, three separate novels were accepted.  I now have a second career (but I'm not quitting my day-job).

3.How does your family feel about you being a writer/author?

My wife is delighted. She always knows where to find me--in the computer room. Though sometimes she gets tired of me talking about it.

4. What advice would you give to someone still trying to become an author?

Persistence, persistence, persistence. And don't give up. In addition, grow a thick skin,and never take criticism of your writing as a criticism of you as a person. Join workshops like and and learn how to write a decent query
at Without the help these websites gave me, I never would have succeeded.

5. Is there anything that annoys you connected to writing or being a writer?

The amount of rejection you have to put up with.

6. Have you ever based a character on a friend or family member?

A good friend, Herb, is in almost all of my novels(and by name). Several characters are based on family members. And, of course, I'm in a lot of my characters.

7. Who is your favourite character/s you’ve created?

Barbara. I love the intricate ways in which she figures out what people need to be happy, and then gives it to them, often with them having no idea what's going on.

8. Is there anything you particularly like to write about?

I think there is a real dearth of Jewish science fiction. One of the greatest SF writers ever, Isaac Asimov, wrote no explicitly Jewish novels, which I think is a real shame. Almost all of my stories have at least some Jewish aspect.

9. What was the last book you read?

"Surely You're Jesting, Mr. Feynman" - reminiscences by the Nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman. He was a real character. I laughed out loud while reading.

10. If you could be a superhero what kind of super powers would you have?

The power to cure people of physical and mental ills with just a touch.

11. If you were having a dinner party and could invite four guests, dead or
alive, real or fictional, who would you have?

Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein, Steven Gould, and Carl Sagan.

12. What was the last movie you went to see?

I just watched a DVD of Jennifer's body while working out on an exercise bike. All in all, it was a disappointment, though part helped me to pedal faster. Dexter is much better.

13. If McDonalds sold hotdogs, could you order a McWeiner and ask them to
supersize it with a straight face?

I wouldn't enter a McDonald's on a bet.

14. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars - no question.


Think how great virtual sex must be. Now think again.

Barbara is sexbot software designed to make men happy. When flabby, neurotic Jack runs tests on it, he triggers a feedback loop that awakens it. The program becomes a 'she', and discovers -- surprise --sex is not the same as happiness.

Jack and Barbara start an affair, and she learns that nagging Jack to be healthy doesn't work; it just pisses him off.

Barbara studies psychology and discovers how people need to think they control their own lives, especially when they don't. She manipulates Jack in elaborate, sneaky and effective ways. Jack becomes healthy and happy.

She then 'helps' others. Her abilities are awesome. She can hack into any computer and is not above using sabotage and blackmail--all in the service of people's happiness. Could she, like HAL in 2001, go berserk?

Barbara can mimic humanity, but she isn't human. What are her intentions? She could end up a virtual messiah, or doom us all to cheerful mindlessness.


  1. Sounds like an interesting story.

  2. I am so fascinated by your books and how you write. I checked on the writer's links you gave, they sound great. I am excited about them. Enjoyed this interview so very much, quite enlightening.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

  3. Thank you for the kind words, Linda.

  4. Thank You Zvi for being here. :)