The Bucharest Dossier by William Maz
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!
The Bucharest Dossier
Bill Hefflin is a man apart—apart from life, apart from his homeland, apart from love
At the start of the 1989 uprising in Romania, CIA analyst Bill Hefflin—a disillusioned Romanian expat—arrives in Bucharest at the insistence of his KGB asset, code-named Boris.
As Hefflin becomes embroiled in an uprising that turns into a brutal revolution, nothing is as it seems, including the search for his childhood love, which has taken on mythical proportions.
With the bloody events unfolding at blinding speed, Hefflin realizes the revolution is manipulated by outside forces, including his own CIA and Boris—the puppeteer who seems to be pulling all the strings of Hefflin’s life.
The Bourne Identity meets John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
To purchase The Bucharest Dossier click on any of the following links: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, Apple & Kobo
The Bucharest Dossier — the Interview with William Maz
The Bucharest Dossier is set in 1989 about a CIA agent and set partially in Bucharest. You were born in Bucharest but grew up in Worchester, MA. What drew you to writing about that era and the country of your birth?
The country one is born in, even one as horrible as communist Romania during Ceausescu’s period, can still hold social and cultural ties that pull at one’s heart.
I have relatives still living in Bucharest, and have gone back to visit over a dozen times, both during Ceausescu’s reign and afterward. So I am well-versed in the life endured under communism as well as the events during and after the revolution.
The Romanian revolution was a unique event in the transition of former Soviet satellites to democracy for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was the only violent revolution. To this day, there is a secrecy shrouding the actual events, including how the shooting started in the city of Timisoara, who ordered it, and whether outside forces were involved.
To this day no one knows whether it was a spontaneous revolution or a coup. Rumors abound. Using this historical background, I have created The Bucharest Dossier, a love story inside a spy story inside a historical novel.
Tell us about Bill Hefflin:
Bill Hefflin is a man in his twenties who left his childhood love behind in Bucharest when he and his parents emigrated to the US when he was eight years old.
Their love has since taken on mythical proportions. Added to the loss of his love is his feeling that he has lost his childhood and his compass in life. In the US he has left his immigrant roots behind, changed his name, and joined the CIA where he believes he can find a home and help his country of birth escape the shackles of communism.
What was it like getting The Bucharest Dossier published? Tell us about your journey:
I found that getting my debut novel published was quite difficult. One needs an agent, and getting an agent to even read my book was a grueling process. After spending a year sending queries and sample chapters to agents, and getting a mixture of thoughtful and stock rejections, my private editor, who loved the book, suggested I send it to Pat and Bob Gussin at Oceanview Publishing. They loved the book and immediately offered me a contract without my yet having an agent.
As the so-called gatekeepers, agents perform a valuable function for the publishing houses. But they are apparently so overwhelmed by submissions that they have little time to read more than a few paragraphs or a page submitted by unknown writers. If it doesn’t strike some cord, they reject it. Often they just have assistants culling through the slush pile of submissions. These days, I think one needs an agent to acquire an agent, a very sad situation.
What has been the most surprising thing to you about launching your first book?
I found the team at Oceanview to be extremely open to my input in the various aspects of the production of the book, including choosing a photo and design for the cover, and even the font of the title.
Having heard stories about authors not even being consulted about such matters, I found it surprising that it was such a collaborative experience. I even chose the narrator for the audiobook, with whom I am now working chapter by chapter to make sure he has the pronunciation correct for some Romanian words. So, my experience with Oceanview has been extremely positive.
You are also a medical doctor, how do those two careers mesh?
The process of becoming a medical doctor provides training that helps in all aspects of one’s life, especially in writing.
It instills in you the importance of doing rigorous research, of being able to sit at your desk for hours, of observing how people act, how they express themselves, how they grieve or mourn, how they tell their stories. It teaches you that the patient’s own story is the most important aspect in determining the diagnosis and of knowing the larger aspects of his or her life.
It also reminds you that every person’s life is full of such stories, and that our brains deal with life by telling ourselves stories, both about others and about our own life.
That said, I have been studying writing fiction since my college days, and have been writing during my medical studies and practice. Not an easy job. I have since retired early from medicine and am devoting my full time to my passion.
What are you working on now?
I am presently working on a sequel to The Bucharest Dossier.
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:
You have to love the writing process, and the rewriting, and then the rewriting after that.
Concentrate on the word, then the sentence, then the paragraph, then the larger structure of the novel. You need to sit at your desk every day, whether or not you feel inspired. Like Pavlov’s dogs, inspiration comes as you make the writing process an everyday event that subconsciously teaches your brain to start working.
And read, in every genre. Learn from those before you. Analyze what they did, how they did it. Use the tools from each genre in your own writing. Try to make your novel not just a thriller, but a three dimensional study of character as well. All great novels straddle genres.
And then the hard part comes: somehow getting it published. While you’re trying every avenue, keep writing. Somewhere, someone, will eventually open the door a crack to let you in.
Author Pet Corner
My wife and I have two dogs named Zoe and Scout.
They are both purebred female Vizsla dogs, a Hungarian hunting breed.
They are very intelligent, sensitive, and form a tight bond with their owners.
They will pick your pocket of anything that smells of food or looks interesting.
WILLIAM MAZ was born in Bucharest, Romania, of Greek parents and emigrated to the U.S. as a child. He is a graduate of Harvard University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Yale residency.
During his high school and undergraduate years, he developed a passion for writing fiction.
He studied writing at Harvard, the New School, The Writer’s Studio in New York City, and with Gordon Lish, and is now writing full time. The Bucharest Dossier is his debut novel.
To learn more about William, click on his name, photo, or any of the following links: Instagram, Twitter & Facebook
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020