Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Daniel Silva in the Bay Area

Daniel Silva made his only Northern California appearance last night at the JCC in Palo Alto to promote his 19th Gabriel Allon book, The New Girl.  When we saw him 2 years ago at the same venue, the interview was dry.  But not last night!  His wife, noted Washington D.C. journalist, Jamie Gangel, did the interviewing this time.  And it was anything but dry.  Aside from the teasing that went back and forth between the 2 of them, we learned a whole bunch of interesting things about Silva and his books.  Here they are in bullet point form:

1.  At the time Silva started writing his latest book, there was a Saudi prince who looked like he was going to break tradition and actually reach out to Israel.  The Israelis and allies were very excited.  The possibilities seemed endless.  But then came Khashoggi.  As you probably remember, he was assassinated at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.  It turned out that this Saudi prince that everybody was so excited about was in on it.  Now why does this matter to Silva?  Well, he had written 250 pages of the new book specifically about a Saudi prince who was leaning toward allying with Israel.  So what did Silva do?  He took the 250 pages and dumped them in the garbage can...literally! Since he only has 6 months to write his book each year, he had to basically spend all of his time writing, even when he was on vacation with his family!
2.  On a completely different note, Bill Clinton says that Gabriel Allon is his favorite fictional character of all time!
3.  Dick Cheney says he dreams about Allon!
4.  We all know that Allon is a world-class art restorer.  It turns out that he is patterned after a very close friend of Silva's who is also a world-renowned art restorer.
5.  Not surprisingly, art restorers LOVE Allon!
6.  Silva writes his books almost exclusively on yellow legal notepads with a specific type of pencil (and many of them).  He does NOT like anybody (including his wife) to touch those pencils.  And after he finishes a section longhand, then he will type it up.
7.  Somebody asked him what his 5 favorite books are:  1984, The Great Gatsby, The Sheltering Sky, The Quiet American, Lolita.
8.  All research is done by Silva, his own self.
9.  When it was my turn to get my book signed, I told him that the plotline for The Unlikely Spy (his 1st book and still my #1 Silva), is one of my favorites of all time.  He said that he's been rereading parts of that book in preparation for doing something with it.  Very cryptic, but equally exciting.

Crazy stuff, right?  Here are some pics:

We went with Rich and Leslie.  Here is Rich getting his book signed.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an amazing event. It sounds like Silva and his wife have great chemistry.