My friend, Dorothy Wills-Raftery, recently invited me to join in a writing project called “The Next Big Thing”.  Dorothy is an author, photojournalist and owner of five, adorable Siberian Huskies, one of whom has epilepsy.  She has written the book What’s Wrong with Gibson and her blog at FiveSibes blog is all about the life of her beautiful “children” to help raise awareness for canine epilepsy.  This project is all about finding out what the next big thing writers/bloggers are working on and is passed by torch to others each week.  I was honored that Dorothy “tagged” me and thrilled to participate.  Here is a sneak peak of my next project!    

What is the working title of your book?  A Guide to the Jewish Holidays: Honoring the Special Times at Home with Simplicity & Ease.  Completely a “working” title as the concept is just beginning to evolve.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  During the last Jewish holidays, I was chatting with a group who were lamenting about how much work it was to celebrate holidays at home, specifically the Jewish ones.  Many stopped having home celebrations because their family had scattered, they were alone and it was easier to go to gatherings elsewhere.  I could relate to this lament as my children have grown older and moved out and my extended family is scattered as they spend holidays in their own childrens’ home.  I recognize that this mindset often happens as we grow older and our families disperse.  

Following that conversation, a friend and I were chatting and she complimented me on the wonderful events I had created; she even suggested I get back into event planning because I did such a nice job.  What a nice compliment, but been there, done that!  I worked for a synagogue for 11 years and planned upwards of 35 major events a year and didn’t want to make it my primary focus again.  I have to acknowledge that she was right, though… I do love creating special gatherings and am very good at it. 

I felt there was a hidden message in the fact that these two incidents happened back to back.  Was fate trying to enlighten me about something?  I think so, for after further consideration, the idea to create this book was formed. 

What genre does your book fall under?  It’s definitely a “How To” guide.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I don’t foresee this type of book moving towards a movie script as it is a How To guide, but one never knows!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  I would sum up this book as “a guide to honoring the Jewish holidays at home with simplicity, style and ease”.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  The literary world is a foreign territory for me, so I am going to create this in an EBook format and see where it goes.  In the future, maybe it can be turned into an agency published book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  My first draft is currently under construction.  I’m looking to collaborate with a few other individuals and I haven’t worked out the details just yet.  My target date for first draft completion is by January 15, 2013.  A good way to start the New Year, don’t you think?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’m a firm believer in not comparing things as everyone’s own work holds its own merit and is unique in itself.  There is one book, though (which I refer to at every holiday) that I would like mine to be modeled after: Jewish Holiday Style by Rita Milos Brownstein.  It is a visually stimulating book with wonderful ideas for celebrating Jewish Holidays.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  My love of Judaism, writing and organizing is the fire of the concept; my friend, Colleen is the ignitor.  It was what she said to me after the first incident that prompted me to develop the concept that I think has been inside of me for many years.  It was just waiting for the right opportunity to pop out! 

I consider this project as a way for me to channel all the wonderful things I’ve learned about Judaism over the years, combine it with my talent for organizing and create a meaningful piece of writing that others can enjoy.  I also look at it as an opportunity to help others learn that honoring or celebrating Jewish holidays can be easy and fun at home.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  I’m sure that with 11 years of planning Jewish lifecycle and religious events, numerous years of teaching young children about Judaism and a lifetime of my own family experiences, there will be some humorous (and maybe not so) escapades sprinkled throughout the book!  The intent in including those embarrassing moments would be to share the human element of entertaining so readers will understand that perfection is not the goal, enjoyment is!

Now that you’ve learned of my next project, here are some others I know who are working on special things to come:

Christina Workman Johnstone: Christina is a wonderful web developer who has started her own company looking to help others develop their websites.  She brings to her clients a wealth of knowledge in a quiet, but intuitive manner (and many times quite funny).  I am always amazed at her ability to think what I’m thinking, sometimes before I even think it!  Visit her website at Amethyst Answers to find out what will be her “Next Big Thing”.

Please check back for more torch bearers and find out what will be their “Next Big Thing”!


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