Where I get ideas for writing fiction
I’ve always wondered what brings people into a room together or onto a street at just that time, and where their journeys are taking them. This can give rise to many stories. Sometimes, one truly captures my imagination.
For example, the love story in Night In Jerusalem came to me on a movie set. We were filming on a blazingly hot day, dressed as lightly as possible. A young Hasidic woman in long black clothes and a
I set the book in Israel at the time of the Six Day War, which I experienced firsthand. I remember vividly huddling in shelters with other women, listening to Arab radio news reports proclaiming victory while we contemplated how we would end it for ourselves. It turned out, of course, that the war went the other way. We were to live! Winston Churchill wrote that there is nothing as exhilarating as when someone shoots at you and misses. Emerging from that shelter sure was exhilarating! It also brought up questions that have been with me ever since - why does it take such courage to truly love, how impossible it seems to bring peace to the world, and, of course, how “God works in mysterious ways.” The characters in Night In Jerusalem, and their responses to the challenges they encounter, express different points of view that I share, even as they conflict with each other.
There are endless ways to work with these themes - it’s a matter of grounding them in a time and place with characters you love. As you get to know the characters, they will tell you more about themselves. That’s when the story begins to reveal itself, often in surprising ways.
About the Author
Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and Israel. Night in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.
She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.
I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.
I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.
Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.
Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”