Saturday, September 3, 2011

The YouTube Rabbi

 I started last September. September 2010.  I hoped to finish in six months, as I did with the first in this series, The Tattooed Rabbi.

It took, instead, a year. Now it's written, rewritten, massaged. I've taken feedback and input from a few carefully-chosen writer friends, then rewritten, then had the manuscript proofed by the always eagle-eyed Cindy G., then massaged that with my own two pages of erratum and now—finished!

My agent, like everyone in the New York publishing world, is vacationing out of town until after Labor Day. In reality that means trolling writers conferences for new talent, catching up on client manuscripts, maybe a brief visit with a client in some convivial port of call. And some top-quality family time, I’m sure.

When he returns he’ll find a stuffed mailbox and in it my manuscript. It might be weeks or months before he gets back to me, but I will wait. Or rather, I will start work on my next Rabbi Ben mystery, which, so far as I now know, will be set in Pittsburgh.

The YouTube Rabbi started out with the working title “The Aleppo Codex.” That’s a real thing, a fascinating and priceless Torah that went missing from a synagogue in Aleppo, Syria, in 1947.  The Codex, however, is actually the MacGuffin of this story, the thing that drives the plot and moves it forward.

Those who write fiction will know that sometimes a story takes on a life of its own. Exhibit A: The YouTube Rabbi.   I started out to write another mystery featuring Rabbi Ben, set this time in Brooklyn, New York, and as usual once I was into the process I dreamed—literally dreamed in my sleep—scenes to flesh out at the computer. And these scenes led me, step-by-step, inexorably, toward a different kind of mystery. It became, against every inclination I’d previously had, against all my experience and all my misgivings, a love story wrapped in a mystery.

The introduction will tell you what the book is about.

Tomorrow or sooner, I'll post a sample chapter that will give you a taste. The chapters are very short and I might post one or two more.



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