Next Year in Jerusalem! Romance, Mystery and Spiritual Awakening (Part I) is the latest book from Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. Paperback Writer is pleased to interview her today as she opens her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. Dr. Holstein will be on book tour from today Oct 1 to November 30. If you would like to follow her tour that includes book excerpts, giveaways and candid conversations with the author, follow here at her tour page.
About Next Year in Jerusalem
You may be wondering why I chose the title Next Year in Jerusalem! for my new novel. Why not Forbidden Romance or Romantic Travel or Spiritual Awakenings or Lust, Memories and Old Friends on Facebook? After all Natalie and Maggie are two women, both caught up in issues that many of us face: a somewhat dull but faithful husband; a bad marriage leading finally to a divorce; a desire for adventure; unsatisfied spiritual longings. They have a great friendship with each other, something research keeps confirming, keeps us young and emotionally happy, but life is far from easy for either women.
So again, why would I focus on a strange title that comes out of a book written thousands of years ago?
Here is one of the reasons. Next Year in Jerusalem! is actually a phrase that shows up at the end of the Haggadah. Those of you who are not Jewish may wonder what that is. The Haggadah is a book that the Jews have used for thousands of years to celebrate and relive the Passover experience. Many people know that the central theme of the story is how the Jews, who were slaves in Egypt, were finally able to escape and began their long journey of 40 years to get to the promised Land, which was Israel. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that this theme is universal and can be taken metaphorically for all of us. That is why when the Haggadah ends with the fourth glass of wine being drunk, and the words, Next Year in Jerusalem! the phrase becomes so significant.
Interview with Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
My girlfriend and I were chatting over lunch on a summer’s day. We were lamenting the loss of a special teacher in our lives, who now that she had left to teach elsewhere, had become almost like a mystery figure in our lives. We started to imagine a film where one of the main characters was like this wonderful kind woman. Suddenly the plot emerged, set in Israel. Of course we decided that the two women who meet up with the mystery woman had to be based on us! Such fun. Two hours later, the plot for actually two books of three parts each and hopefully a film was launched.
Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
Because my friend Susan and I worked so diligently on the plot together, this book did to some extent stick to the outline. However, as I began to write the characters began to direct me. No Natalie didn’t want to live in Manhattan! Norwalk worked much better for her. And Maggie I guess needed two love interests. That was certainly not in the original plot!
Q: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
Yes, for this book I did know the ending at the beginning. Even the title, Next Year in Jerusalem! is based on the very last page of Part 3.
Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?
Yes, I thought a lot about them and did create back stories for each of the main characters that don’t actually appear in the book. Some of the back stories are in their notes to each other on my blog: www.next-year-in-jerusalem.com .
Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
There is definitely some of me in Natalie. She is a school psychologist as I have been. She is a thinker somewhat after my own style. That is about it.
Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?
For me it is the love scene between Natalie and Jack, her old boyfriend, right at the end of Part 1. I like the love scene because I think it is very realistic as to what might happen between oneself and an old flame if one goes down a dark alley at night!
Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
Proofreading and editing a novel is a daunting task and I was very glad when that part was over.
Q: What has been the best part about being published?
Getting others to read the book and discussing the major themes in the story that in my opinion are so universal and yet when we face them we can feel very alone or like it never happened to anyone else. I love speaking engagements and look forward to skype interviews with Book Clubs and giving webinars around some of the themes such as spiritual yearnings, marriage and boredom, travel, romance, etc.
Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
The excitement of romantic travel, an aroused interest in spiritual growth, feelings of connection to the two main characters and their friendship with each other, a curiosity about who and what the mystery woman is all about and a real desire to read Part 2 of Next Year in Jersualem!
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
Yes. Parts 2 and 3 of Next Year in Jerusalem! are just about done. And there are at least 3 more parts on the back burner which will likely comprise another long novel that is released in three sections.
About Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing. “A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving.”
Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at www.enchantedself.com
Her previous books include:
- THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy
- Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
- The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
- Seven Gateways to Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self.