Today’s book promotion comes from Sally Wiener Grotta and her book called Jo Joe. If you like fiction, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!
Book: Jo Joe
Author: Sally Wiener Grotta
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Lit, Jewish, African American, Literary
Publisher: Pixel Hall Press
Format: Hardback, Paperback, ebook
Release Date: 6/6/2013
As a child, Judith Ormand was the only Black — and the only Jew — in a small insular Pennsylvania mountain village where she was raised by her white Christian grandparents. Now, she must reluctantly break her vow to never return to the town she learned to hate. During her one week visit, she buries and mourns her beloved grandmother, is forced to deal with the white boy who cruelly broke her heart, and is menaced by an old enemy. But with her traumatic discovery of a long buried secret, Judith finds more questions than answers about the prejudice that scarred her childhood.
Q & A:
The best thing about writing this book?
I love storytelling, and I’ve devoted my life and career to it. I feel privileged to be able to live in these other worlds, within the minds of so many other people, through my stories. The best thing about writing “Jo Joe” was getting to know Judith, Joe, Martha, AH, and all the other inhabitants of Black Bear, Pennsylvania.
Where did you get your idea for this story?
All my stories are born as a single character put into a difficult situation. At that moment, I know her/his name and personality, and usually how the story will end. But I have to write it to understand fully how it develops, the twists and turns that define the plot and shape the characters. My first draft is always me telling myself a story.
The themes of “Jo Joe” — prejudice, bigotry, family misunderstandings, etc. — were inspired by unanswerable questions that haunt me. Why do we hate? What are the roots of prejudice, of bigotry and fear? How is it that families who love each other so deeply can, through what they think are well-intentioned acts, hurt each other?
I spoke on this subject at the annual Jewish Book Council conference in New York City last summer. Here’s a YouTube video of what I said: http://tinyurl.com/ourkcuy
What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
The key to writing is to write. Set aside a time everyday that is devoted to writing and nothing else. Then, share your writing with others who have a good critical eye. Listen to their suggestions, and use them as guidelines to understand where you haven’t made your vision clear enough.
And read everything you can. Not just in the genre you want to write, but any good work. For inspiration and to help you understand what works and doesn’t work.
What is your favorite book?
Too many to list. Right now, I’m enjoying reading a short story “Annabelle” by Nancy Christie
Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
Anything else that you would like to add?
“Jo Joe’s” themes and personal dilemmas are natural fodder for book discussions. The publisher Pixel Hall Press has a free downloadable Study Guide for “Jo Joe” with suggested discussion questions at http://www.PixelHallPress.com/jo_joe.html. They also arrange for me to visit with book discussion groups and classes, usually via Skype or Google Hangout, occasionally in person.
I want to thank Sally Wiener Grotta for allowing me to promote her book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Jo Joe!