Daphna Edwards Ziman, NY Times Bestselling Author of The Gray Zone: Our 'Ask the Author' Interview

Ziman's first novel, The Gray Zone, published by Greenleaf Book Group Press in June 2011.
Ziman's first novel, The Gray Zone, published by Greenleaf Book Group Press in June 2011.

Local author Daphna Edwards Ziman garnered a lot of attention for socially aware novel The Gray Zone, which chronicled the fate of kids put in the American foster care system via a fast-paced thriller of a narrative. Ziman, whose day job includes chairing child welfare organization Children Uniting Nations, wrote the novel in the hopes that people would be arrested by the plight of children in foster care, many of whom Ziman believes are in danger of human trafficking, abuse or sex slavery.

Her book soon rocketed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, garnered celebrity support for her organization and even sent Ziman to Washington to meet with the president. A film adaptation of the novel is in the works, reputedly starring the Australian actress Radha Mitchell as the heroine.

Here's LA Weekly's Ask the Author interview with Ziman, for the story behind The Gray Zone:

Ziman (right) with Mitchell (second from right) at a recent book signing.
Ziman (right) with Mitchell (second from right) at a recent book signing.

Where do you live?

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Los Angeles, CA.

Where did you grow up?

Israel, Australia, England, USA.

Favorite book of all time:

John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, Jim Thompson's The Grifters, and Decadence by Maxim Gorky.

Favorite book from your childhood:

Eloise by Kate Thompson

Favorite line from literature:

"...That's why love stories don't have endings! They don't have endings because love doesn't end." - The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

Book, Kindle, Nook, audiobook or other, and why?

A book - Because I like to touch, smell, feel and see a piece of literature.

Favorite literary spot:

Book Soup in West Hollywood.

The trailer for the movie version of your new book would go: In a world___

of abuse, neglect and sex trafficking, a young mother finds the courage to stand up to the justice system and fall in love with a maverick defense attorney.

Describe the moment when you first got the idea for your new book:

When I met a teen foster girl in a group home, who captured my heart with her stay of courage and resilience.

Most helpful epiphany while writing the book:

The realization that "Kelly" and "Jake" opened the doors for me to live vicariously through them.

Dream casting for your protagonist in the movie version, and why:

Radha Mitchell and Matt Damon.

Dream audiobook reader for your book:

Sharon Stone.

Typical writing schedule:

One hour every night.

Office, home, Starbucks, or elsewhere?

My bedroom.

Favorite piece of music to listen to while writing, if any:


Procrastination technique:

Research until you drop.

Do writers need to drink to be good writers? What kind of drink?

Vanilla latte triple shot.

Most embarrassing story or other piece of writing you wrote as a kid, and

what it was about:

A fairy tale called The Duchess of Central Park.

Your favorite character you've ever thought up, and why:

A young Latina girl who dreams to be a singer in a script I wrote - Eastside Story. Because she lived her dream in spite of her own Achilles' heel.

Sentence you most regret writing:

"She disregarded her emotional reaction..."

Book or other work that you'd like to parody, and how you'd do it:

One Hand Clapping by Anthony Burgess. I'd write about a girl who takes everything in life at face value.

What book or other piece of media you've been consuming lately:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

What book or other piece of media you've been feeling guilty for not consuming lately:

Pass the Salt, Please, a short film by Tatjana Najdanovic.

What you would do if you weren't a writer:

Become a full-time music composer.

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