An Interview with Author Isaac Kal

Isaac Kal
Born in 1958, he is married and has 4 daughters. Isaac is an international businessman who lives in Toronto Canada.
Isaac used to work over 20 years for the Israeli Prime Minister office.

In the midst of the Covid-19 closure, the author had plenty of time to go through the photos and documents of his family.
He found his grandfather’s soldier certificate and the date of his enlistment. While browsing online, he came across a group of relatives of the Israeli POW from WW2. he discovered the name of the unit in which his grandfather served (Port Operation Unit 1039). Interestingly enough, his captain kept a war diary until his capture.
Through the stories and the dates in the diary, he was able to trace the route that his grandfather took until his capture.
All he had left to do, was to dive into the depths of the research and the stories of the prisoners in order to develop the plot of the book. For the author it was definitely a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Q: Can you sum up The Long Way Home from Crete in 20 words or less?

The journey of a man who sacrifices everything to protect and provide for his family amidst the outbreak of WWII. 

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

Throughout the pandemic, I had plenty of time to go through old photos, relics and documents acquired from my family.  I came across my grandfather’s soldier certificate from the war along with a diary that captured his experiences as a Prisoner of War (POW). My grandfather was a very serious and private man who never shared these details with his family. After reading his story, I knew I had something to share with the rest of the world. 

Q: What sort of research went into the writing of this book?

There was a lot of fact checking and cross referencing of events and timelines using literature previously published about the war and about Prisoners of War. I had read other stories of soldiers who were also captured at war which allowed me to compare and draw similarities between that of my grandfather’s. There was a lot of historical and biographical reading about the time period in Israel and Germany. 

Q: Do you have a favorite character in the book?

Abraham is my favourite character due to his resilience and strength to never give up and keep pushing until his goals are achieved.

Q: Did you find it challenging to work on a story with a personal connection for you?

Yes, it was challenging to separate the need to create a captivating or “Hollywood-esque” plotline from just sharing personal stories my grandfather documented. To make it interesting for people other than my family to read, I really needed to delve and expand the characters, events, and conversations and build up the action.

Q: Did you enjoy the creative process of developing the book trailer?

 Yes, absolutely. This was my first book and it was a big learning curve to navigate but I learned so much from the process and have such an appreciation for every step involved in the creative process.  

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Q: What inspires you to write?

I’ve always been a creative and imaginative person. I’ve written hundreds of reports throughout my career but never a story or book that required me to reflect, process and meticulously analyze details for others to read as pleasure.  I think I am inspired by the challenge to write for an audience and use my creativity to engage and draw readers from around the world and share untold stories. 

Q: Is there a message or common theme in The Long Way Home from Crete you want readers to grasp?

 Never give up on your dreams because if there is a will there is always a way.  We all have that inner strength and resilience to persevere and we need to believe in ourselves, no matter how hard, to make it happen.  

Q: What is on your current reading list?

1) Beneath a Scarlet Sky  by Mark Sullivan 

2) Company man by Joseph Finder 

3) Paranoia  by Joseph Finder

Q: What is your next writing project?

I recently started writing another book about a British spy who worked for the Hagana in 1948 ( a true story about Major Cyril Hector Abraham Wybrow )-Stay tuned! 

Q: Where can readers connect with you (website, social media, etc)?

Q: Any closing remarks?

The Hebrew version of the book was very well-received by critics in Israel. I hope that the English version will live up to that expectation as well. 

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