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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Too Jewish??

Growing up in a household that never celebrated a religious holiday nor belonged to a church or synagogue, I profess ignorance of bible stories, prayers and all the rituals that go along with being observant. That being said, a few years ago I decided to write an early chapter book about a detective  named Pinky Bloom whose family is observant Jews. It's basically a mystery story about Pinky's best friend, Michael Chen, whose family owns a Kosher Chinese restaurant where strange things are happening and Pinky is asked to solve the mystery.  I think I did a pretty good job describing Pinky's over-the-top grandmother who possessed a prized "Kiddush" cup and his family who observed "Shabbat." I made sure not to make it too much of a "Jewish" story but the first publisher I sent it too was a Jewish publisher. I received a rejection from the editor with the standard form letter saying it just wasn't the right fit for their list. Next I tried sending it to an editor who was looking for "Jewish" stories. I received a rejection from her, also with no explanation. So I decided to send Pinky to a mainstream publisher who after several weeks replied that it was "quirky" but not right for them. Is "quirky" code for too Jewish? I'll never know since Pinky Bloom has been put to rest in my ever-growing pile of rejected manuscripts. My next foray into religious-themed stories is a picture book I'm working on about Noah's Ark. I suspect this too will be a hard, if not impossible, manuscript to sell. But the good news is that with all my research I'm getting a long over-due religious education!

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