In the Spotlight: The Book of Zev’s Marilyn Horowitz

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Marilyn Horowitz

The Book of Zev is a political thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.

Click here to read an Excerpt of The Book of Zev

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Marilyn Horowitz
Marilyn Horowitz

Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.

Follow Marilyn at her website,


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Q:  Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book? 

Yes, I met a man on a train who was a religious Jew who was travelling to a different community to see where he fit in. He was questioning his faith and after talking to him for three hours, I just started writing.

Q:  Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

I have a trademarked writing system that I have used in my work as a coach and teacher at New York University to help hundreds of writers write faster and more effectively.  The method employs some interesting outlining techniques that I used for The Book Of Zev.

Q:  Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

Not a clue.

Q:  Do you have a process for developing your characters?

In my writing system, there is a series of character exercises that get you in deep, but are not exhausting. They can be found in my NYU textbook, How To Write A Screenplay In 10 Weeks.

Q:  It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

 It is unavoidable. We can only write from what we know. I am in all my characters, and they are in me. They are of me, but not about me, if that makes sense.

Q:  What is your most favorite part about this book?

Definitely. It’s the last line of the book, when Sarah has her revelation. I don’t want to spoil it, and tell you, but I think it’s a zinger!

Q:  What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

There was eight months with the wrong agent for the book and then several publishers wanted me to change the opening chapter. I’ve been very fortunate.

Q:  What has been the best part about being published?

I have gotten great support from the publisher. And the “best part” will reveal itself when the book is released in December 2014.

Q:  What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

I want them to ask themselves where they stand on the issue of faith and patriotism, whatever those two things mean to them. I want them to revisit their lives, and see where they can make a difference. And of course I want them to remember the sex scenes! J

Q:  Do you have plans to write another book?

Many. I am page 150 of the newest one.


The Book of Zev Book Excerpt #1  

What a fool she had been to fall in love with a man, any man. For a brief time the way Michael had made her feel thwarted her chronic nihilism. He had filled her with that most evil thing—hope. Michael resembled Clark Kent from Superman. He was tall and muscular. Dark, curly hair fell forward on his high forehead, framing an intelligent face with a cleft chin. Horn-rimmed glasses topped off his profile. Sarah had hoped the marriage vows would be kept, and furthermore that the two of them would always inhabit that euphoric state known as “being in love.” It had lasted for a year or two, and then somehow, the connection had slipped away. Sarah found herself living with a man who would do anything for her except the one thing she needed.  In short, he had stopped making love to her for over a year before the end. Once she saw that the magic was gone forever, she ended the marriage although her married friends all seemed to have accepted that it was natural for the romance to end, and that a descent into a comfortable sort of brother-sister arrangement was fine. They didn’t understand why she would give up such a good and decent man and risk being alone. Was it “good and decent” not to try to meet the other half of a relationship halfway? She wanted a life filled with romance—and she had never felt as alone as she did on those sexless mornings. The worst was knowing that he hadn’t wanted to try. He kept saying that he couldn’t, but a book she read to try to understand his behavior stated bluntly that “couldn’t” meant “wouldn’t.” She keenly remembered the dreadful recognition when she’d read those words.

Today was the worst so far. Well, it was a Sunday. She felt like the Little Match Girl in the fairytale, who is not allowed to come in out of the snowstorm until all of her matches are sold. The child dies, unloved and unnoticed. Sarah felt the Little Match Girl’s pain and could not comfort herself. She just had to wait it out, and usually this agony would pass into her unconscious because she was too busy prepping a new cooking job. Thanksgiving was the beginning of one of her busy seasons.




The Book of Zev Excerpt #2  


Gwydion recognized Cindal’s gentle knock, and she smiled nervously as she peeked her head in, looking around the room as if expecting to find someone there with Gwydion. She was a plump, pretty blonde, and she wore a short, sexy pink robe with terrycloth mules. “Is it safe to come in?”

It was a fair question. There had been occasions when odd and unexplained things happened in the study. After the World Trade Center had been blown up, a tall, gray-haired woman in

scorched and tattered clothing had appeared at the front door of the cottage, giving her name as Lorraine Smith and saying she had come urgently to meet with Gwydion. Cindal had politely

escorted the distressed woman to the back of the study and lingered as Lorraine explained to Gwydion that she was there to find her husband. She had seemed confused when Gwydion

explained that she was three thousand miles away from the tragedy. Gwydion immediately realized what had happened, and he gently asked Cindal to get them some coffee as he did not want her to hear the distressing truth: Lorraine’s husband had gone into the next world, and Lorraine herself was already dead! Nonetheless, Gwydion knew he had to tell her, and when he revealed the news, Lorraine did not understand and leapt up to argue her case. Cindal returned with coffee and muffins just in time to see the woman vanish into thin air, a crumpled tissue on

the floor where she once stood.


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