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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria


She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.

In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.
The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.

It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.

Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.
Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.
The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.


Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army’s Nahal branch. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava Valley in Israel’s south. On the kibbutz he worked in agriculture, industry, tourism, the dairy barn, and served as the kibbutz’s general secretary.

After moving with his wife and three young children to Moshav Neve Ilan in the Judean Hills, Ellis received formal training in the hotel industry. He worked in a variety of positions at the Neve Ilan Hotel and later was Food and Beverage Controller at the Jerusalem Hilton. He served as the moshav’s general secretary during a period in which the community underwent major social changes.

As a hobby, Ellis began writing on the Internet. He wrote extensively about life in Israel in his position as the Israeli Culture Guide at He designed and maintained websites for the Neve Ilan Hotel and for Indic—Independent Israeli Cinema. For two years he was webmaster for Yazam, an international financial firm that provided support for technological start-ups.

Ellis served for three years as Editor in Chief of Israel Insider, an online daily newsmagazine that developed new technologies as it posted the latest news and views, from and about Israel.

Starting in 2004, Ellis began working in a marketing company servicing the online gaming industry. In the years 2009 - 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. During those years, Ellis and Jodie traveled extensively in Bulgaria as well as in the countries of the region. Today Ellis continues working in the online gaming industry in Tel Aviv.

Ellis writes regularly on his blog at:

New novel: The Burgas Affair
Short stories: TheVirtual Kibbutz
Follow on Twitter

Welcome to my blog Ellis.  Please tell my readers and I more about yourself and your books.

Q: Tell us about your latest work—title, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?
A: The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the investigation of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a bomb detonated inside a bus at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria. Five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the blast. As no one was ever held responsible for the bombing, I envisioned a joint Bulgarian-Israeli investigation. A headstrong Bulgarian detective is teamed up with a young Israeli analyst on her first overseas assignment. The two must track down the terrorists behind the attack, while at the same time confront the demons from their past.
The reason I wrote this book is because I am an American-born Israeli author who writes about Bulgaria. I was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and moved to Israel as a teenager with my family. I served in the Israeli army, was a founding member of a kibbutz, worked in the hotel industry, and now live in a small community near Jerusalem. For two years, my job in online marketing was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. I fell in love with the country and most of my writing these days, both fiction and non-fiction, is based on my experiences in Bulgaria.

Q: What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
A: I write the type of book I would be interested in reading myself. I am drawn to thrillers that keep me turning the page. Possibly this is because I do most of my reading on my daily commute by train to work. I take my seat, open my book (or my tablet as the case may be), and the next thing I know I am at the station when I must get off the train. I hope that my writing comes across as being that suspenseful.

Q: What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
A: In both of my novels—Valley of Thracians and The Burgas Affair—I envisioned the end of the book before I began writing. In fact, I came up with the very last sentence (or at least the concluding paragraph) before I began. I believe that the author John Irving also works like this. After I can picture the book’s ending, I work on how the plot will reach that conclusion. It’s definitely an interesting challenge!

Q: What kind of research was involved?
A: The Burgas Affair is based on a very real terrorist attack but it is a fictional account of the investigation conducted in the aftermath of that attack. Following the bombing in July 2012, I read every report I could find in the media, making notes of the details so that I could present them as accurately as possible in my novel. The circumstances of the bombing are based on real life incidents. Of course, the characters and the plot are entirely fictional.

Q: How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
A: In my early attempts at writing a novel, my characters were too autobiographical, based on my personal experiences. I wasn’t successful in finding a way to make them have their own personalities. In the two published novels, the characters are totally independent. They are flawed individuals, with concerns and backstories that are not similar in any way to my life.

Q: How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A: The most difficult part of writing, for me, has always been finding the time to write. When I come home from work each day I am too tired to be creative. Weekends are devoted to family. Luckily, I was able to solve this problem. I start every day by sitting down at a coffee shop, writing for at one hour while drinking a cup of cappuccino. I don’t hear the other customers or the coffee machines. And, I accomplish quite a bit.

Q: Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
A: I read a lot and generally go through phases when I endeavor to read all the books of a certain author. In my home, I have a bookshelf with all the novels of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. I enjoy his mix of reality with a bit of fantasy. I have also read most of the novels written by Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving. And I am constantly reading new authors as well, including many independent, self-published authors. Reading inspires me to write!

Q: Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
A: Most readers would not be able to place Bulgaria on a map. And quite possibly, most readers don’t know too much about life in Israel. My novel, a crime thriller based on real events, is also an introduction to these two fascinating countries.

Q: What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
A: I am always writing. I write on my personal blog. I post book reviews on The Times of Israel and travel reports on The Huffington Post. I am working on my third novel, which will also be set in Bulgaria and Israel, but it will take time to finish that project.

Q: Could you share some of your marketing strategies?  Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
A: I am still looking for an effective marketing strategy. As a debut author I was encouraged to establish a ‘platform’ so I set up a Facebook author’s page. I am very active on Twitter and LinkedIn, but I don’t see too many followers rushing to purchase my books. Following the publication of The Burgas Affair, I am spending a lot of time contacting book bloggers and book reviewers. Once I have a respectable amount of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads I will consider advertising the book.

Q: What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
A: First of all, I would tell aspiring authors to write the kind of book that they would want to read. Then, I would advise them to write constantly, even if it’s only a short time every day. Good writing comes with practice, so even writing non-fiction (in my case travel reports and book reviews) helps improve one’s mastery of the art. I would tell authors to get a professional to look at their writing before it is published. Working with an experienced editor can make all the difference. And finally, I would say that one should never give up. It takes time to write a novel so aspiring authors should be prepared to devote a lot of time to the project. It will be worth the effort in the end!

Again, thank you Ellis for your time and great works.

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