Interview with Suri Rosen, author of Playing with Matches

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing with my readers an interview with Suri Rosen, the author of a new YA novel, Playing with Matches. (You can find my review of the highly-entertaining Playing with Matches here.)

PlayingWithMatches_hiRes (3)Suri piqued my interest in part because she has published her first book — a book with universal themes but with distinctively Orthodox characters and setting — with a mainstream, secular publisher. Most books with Orthodox themes tend to be published by Jewish publishers. I conducted this interview last week via email.

RK: This is your first novel, but as many of the reviewers have noted, you write with real skill. In particular, you handle Rain’s voice with humor and confidence.​ Have you published other genres before, taken classes, or to what else do you attribute your success?

SR: I’ve always been writing. (I cover this in detail on this website,’Dear Teen Me.’)

I read numerous books and blogs about writing and spent countless hours discussing technique with other novelists. But the most important aspect of becoming a publishable author  – to me – is getting feedback. Giving a critique also sharpens your craft but getting a critique to me is the single most important factor in developing yourself as a writer.

And it can be brutal! Continue reading

Making a plan for 5775

Since, in last week’s post, I identified five areas in which I can improve my writing career in the next year, I thought I should also consider the steps to take in order to accomplish those goals.

1) Stop wasting time.

I really do need to stay connected on social media for professional reasons: for networking, to publicize my work when it goes live, and so on. However, I don’t need to check it periodically all day long, and then stare fascinated at the screen when I should be writing.

Two steps I’m going to take: allow myself one half-hour of Twitter and FB at noon, and one half-hour after the kids go to bed. The only exception is on those days I actually expect to have a story published online and know I’ll need to publicize it.

Additionally, Continue reading

Visiting “Life in the Married Lane” today for Part 2 of the Orthodox Women Talk Roundtable

Last week, the Orthodox Women Talk Roundtable debuted at Keshet Starr’s blog, and this week Rivki Silver is hosting. On this week’s roundtable (you can find it here) we discuss preparing for and celebrating Shabbos when there are kiddos running around the home. I read lots of great insights from the bloggers included. Can’t wait to find out what the next question is! Anyone who wants to contribute a question — about life as an Orthodox woman, Jewish motherhood, or the like — can send it to Rivki through the “Contact Me” link on her blog.

As the Year Turns… Looking back at 5774

It’s a week until Rosh Hashanah, which for Jews means this is the last week of the year.

What a year.

The world has suffered through a lot this year. Looking ahead, I see so much to pray for in the coming year: peace for the world, individual nations, and in our personal lives; rescue for captives; and what in Hebrew we call “Menuchas HaNefesh,” the ability to remain tranquil even when in stormy seas. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But looking back professionally, I’m profoundly grateful for a very productive year.

Top 5 Things I’m Grateful For This Past Year As a Writer:

1) I’ve published more in the last year than in the prior 38 years of my life combined. Continue reading

Learn to empathize with real people…and fictional ones

So, I was having one of those days when it’s not yet 10 a.m., and I’m already having a pity party for myself. There was something I’d really wanted to get…and I didn’t get it. I was dragging myself down the street, and I realized that I was fixating on all the things that I wanted out of life. And the truth was that what didn’t get…maybe I wanted it, but I didn’t really need it. I thought about the things that other people wanted and how often what they didn’t have was a need. Or something that I personally did have. And that I should basically stop feeling sorry for myself.

How I Emerged from the Fog

As I mentioned, as this mental inventory was taking place, I was walking down the street. Continue reading

Visiting elsewhere today for the Orthodox Women Talk roundtable

Rivki Silver from Life in the Married Lane organized a Jewish women’s roundtable, Orthodox Women Talk. Today’s topic is how to deal with long services in synagogue when you may or may not understand the language. 7 bloggers — including me — give responses over at this week’s host’s, Keshet Starr’s, blog. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what the other women said (okay, pretty much all of it). One of the things that I liked most was that the women selected reflect different stages of life and different backgrounds. Check it out. (If you’re so inclined…)