09 April, 2019

Man Mission By Eytan Uliel Book Spotlight and Author Interview! @eytanuliel

Man Mission
By Eytan Uliel
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Four blokes take a week-long adventure trip – hiking, biking, or kayaking – each year, for fifteen years, starting in their late 20s. In the course of their travels, they hitch a ride with drug dealers in New Zealand, down kava shots on Fijian beaches, come face-to-face with a roaring lion in South Africa, luxuriate in a resort intended only for Vietnamese Communist officials, trek to Machu Picchu, and go ice climbing in Iceland.
Along the way, they get married, start families, establish careers, and do all the stuff upright men are supposed to do. But when the challenges of real life come into conflict with the perfect lives they are supposed to be living, their friendship, and the yearly Man Mission become something much more than an annual getaway – a source of stability, and a place to find redemption.
Part travel narrative and part roman à clef, Man Mission follows four regular guys across fifteen years, on an international, adventure-packed, humor-filled search for meaning and purpose, in a world where the traditional rules of “being a man” are no longer clear.
About the Author
Eytan Uliel is a storyteller, wanderer, global traveler, and seriously committed gourmand. After graduating from the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia, he practiced corporate law for several years, before moving on to a career in investment banking, private equity, and oil and gas finance.
An extensive work travel schedule has taken Eytan to every corner of the globe – over 70 countries, and counting. His successful blog – The Road Warrior (www.eytanuliel.com) – chronicles these journeys through a series of short stories and essays, some of which have been republished in various magazines and newspapers. Man Mission is his debut novel.
Eytan was born in Jerusalem, and has lived in Australia, Singapore, the UK, The Bahamas, and the USA. He currently splits his time between Los Angeles, The Bahamas and Sydney.
On Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NpXzVY

 I found the taste of the kava bitter and grainy, like slurping sandy water. Although by the third round my lips and tongue were tingling, the rest of my mouth was numb, and I was in a remarkably mellow, relaxed mood. This was surprising because I had been told kava—the national drink and full-time obsession of Fiji—was non-alcoholic.
Still, everyone else seated around the fire seemed to be in a similar, zoned-out frame of mind, so who was I to argue. After all, the post-kava period of relaxation—talanoa in Fijian—was supposedly the whole point of the ceremony, and as guests, we were expected to stick around, drink more kava, laugh, eat, dance, and shoot the breeze.
But as time wore on I was finding it harder and harder to participate fully, much as I wanted to. My mouth began refusing to work. An hour in and I couldn’t form complete sentences, increasingly slurring my words and mumbling incoherently.
For their part, the chief of the village and his cronies found my amateur response to the kava incredibly amusing. Either that or even these seasoned veterans had got a bad case of the giggles, thanks to the multiple rounds they’d drunk.
I closed my eyes for a long moment, and when I opened them again, orange and purple bands of light were streaked across the sky, and the last of the campfire embers glowed a dull and smoky red.
It was morning.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
For me, the biggest challenge is to maintain discipline and write consistently. Somedays I feel like writing, other days I couldn’t be bothered. But I am constantly reminded of what Stephen King so perfectly said: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot, and write a lot.” So I try and do a little bit of writing every day, no matter what my mood or level of enthusiasm. If you want to be an athlete, you need to train every day. Somedays it is easier, some days it is harder. But you don’t get to wake up and say “oh, I just not going to train today”. You just do it. The same is true of writing. There is always an ability to put a page or two of words down. It may turn out to be garbage that ultimately gets binned, but as a matter of discipline, I still force myself to do it. Although it is not always that easy to do!
When and where do you do your writing?
There is nothing I love more than sitting in the corner of a bustling café with a coffee and my laptop. Somehow, I am at my most creative in this situation……
What have you learned about promoting your books?
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I am most proud of finishing the process and producing a book! I have always wanted to write a book. For many years I have written a (reasonably successful) travel blog, and a lot of my readers kept saying “you should write a book”. But it took me a long time to find the story I wanted to write and the message I wanted to convey, in a voice that is authentically me. In the end, it took me almost 4 years to complete Man Mission…..
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Am I allowed to choose two? Makes for a more interesting dinner party!
My all-time favorite write is Gore Vidal. I have read a huge amount of his work, but he was prolific, so I don’t think anyone could ever read the entirety of his output. Something about Vidal’s way of expressing himself - his wit, use of words, the subjects he wrote about, his oftentimes brutal honesty - has always appealed to me. I especially love his satirical novels, and I would love the opportunity to ask him questions about them: his sources of inspiration, and how he was able to maintain a truly life-long commitment to writing.
My other favorite writer is Paul Theroux. If I could model myself on anyone, it would be him, and I think I have read almost everything Theroux has ever written. I have always loved the fact that he writes both fiction and non-fiction, but always rooted in a deep sense of wanderlust and a passion for travel and exploration. I’d love to sit and shoot the breeze with Paul, mainly to swap travel stories. For me, it would like being granted a private audience with Superman (that’s a line from my book, by the way…..).

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