Please make welcome a talented author and another "Sister Rose" from The Wild Rose Press, Jennifer Wilck! The Tavern is celebrating her new release, Waiting for a Miracle. Grab a glass of champagne and let's hear what Jennifer has to say about her new book...
For those who don’t know me, I write contemporary romance. But what makes my stories stand out is that many of them feature Jewish characters and themes. Whenever anyone hears that I write Jewish romance, the first thing they ask is if I’ve written a Hanukkah story.
Usually, my answer is no. I’ve always wanted to blend the Judaism seamlessly into my stories, in a similar way as Christianity—weddings, etc.—are blended into non-Jewish romances. So the idea of writing a Hanukkah story never really appealed to me.
However, as the questions kept coming, I thought about it and decided to give it a try. An indie author was putting together a Hanukkah anthology and everyone—seriously, everyone—who knew me asked me if I was going to contribute. Apparently, I have a brand. So I did. When my story wasn’t chosen, I went to my publisher, who was more than happy to publish it. And the more I worked on it—it’s a novella, but I needed to lengthen it, edit it, etc.—the more excited about it I became.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hanukkah, it’s an eight-day holiday that celebrates the Maccabean army’s successful rebellion over Antiochus, who had banned Jewish religious practice way back in the 2nd century BCE. When the Maccabees reconsecrated the Temple of Jerusalem, there wasn’t enough oil to light the lamps, and according to Jewish legend, one small pot of oil—enough for one day—lasted for eight days, giving enough time to find more. What does all that mean?
Well, it means we light eight candles—one per night—to celebrate the miracle of the oil, and we eat lots of oily foods during the holiday, such as latkes (potato pancakes), donuts and fried Oreos. We give out presents. Some people give presents each of the eight nights. We give to charity one of the nights, and we keep our presents small.
In my novella, Waiting for a Miracle, the young daughter, Jessie, receives presents on the first and last night of Hanukkah, like I did as a child. However, her grandmother stuffs enough presents into two boxes to last the entire eight nights.
If you’re looking for a short, funny and sweet read, this story is for you.
Let me know how you like it, and also, tell me about your traditions!
Backcover blurb for Waiting for a Miracle
Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.
Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.
Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?
Sneak preview from Waiting for a Miracle
Six-year-old bodies were good at many things— bouncing, hugging, and racing. Rachel was thankful they were also good at hiding her surprise. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine her favorite student, and her student’s father, would be at her neighbor’s house the same night she was invited to celebrate Hanukkah.
She met the hard gaze of Jessie’s father across the room. Eyes narrowed as if he suspected her reasons for being here. His broad shoulders were stiff. His jean-clad muscular legs were spread apart in a solid stance. Square hands fisted at his sides, and one of them held a menorah. Did he plan to throw it or club someone with it?
Giving Jessie a last pat, she rose. With an arm around Jessie, she extended her other hand to her father. “Happy Hanukkah.”
“Oh, please,” Harriet said, “Such formality between
you two. Rachel, this is my son Benny. I mean Benjamin.”
Benny. Rachel filed the information away for later, along with his flushed skin at the nickname. Interesting.
“And Benjamin, this is my neighbor, Rachel. We’re not at a school event. You can call each other by your first names.” Harriet pointed at Jessie, who gripped Rachel’s hand so hard, Rachel’s fingers lost their circulation. “Except for you,” Harriet added. “You have to call her Ms. Schaecter.”
Jessie giggled. “Yes, Grandma.”
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About the Author
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.