Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Jennifer Wilck is my special guest today

My special guest today, Jennifer Wilck, talks about her new series of novels, each taking place around a Jewish holiday

I want to thank Paula for hosting me today on her blog. She doesn’t often have visitors on her personal blog, so I appreciate her allowing me to visit today. Miriam’s Surrender released on September 10 and I’m so happy that my vision for this series is finally coming to fruition.
Miriam’s Surrender is the second in my Women of Valor series. The first book, The Seduction of Esther, came out last year. At the time, I had an idea for a series in my head, and figured I’d try writing the first book to see how it worked.
In my head (often a scary place), I wanted to write a contemporary romance series, with each book taking place around a Jewish holiday. There aren’t a lot of romances that have Jewish characters or ones that take place in non-Christian settings. Weddings take place in churches, characters say a prayer before Thanksgiving Dinner or celebrate Christmas. I love reading those books, but I also wanted to see what would happen if I made the default religion Jewish rather than Christian. Honestly, diversity in books is important and fun!
The Seduction of Esther took place during the holiday of Purim. One of the themes of the holiday is hiding one’s identity. Well, that’s a great theme for a romance and it was easy to write. It’s gotten great reviews and people seem to appreciate the different perspective. So I sat down to write book number two.
Miriam’s Surrender takes place around Passover. The holiday is more well known because it takes place right near Easter. One of the Passover themes is freedom; again, a great theme for a romance. There are so many things you can free your characters from—their past, a secret, a person, etc. My hero in this book (who was the villain in the first one, by the way), hides a big secret from the heroine, and revealing it helped move the plot along.
Looking ahead to the rest of my series, I’d like to write at least four more full-length books, with maybe a novella or two thrown in. Each book can be read on its own, although characters from previous books do recur—as I said, Josh, the hero in this latest book was the villain from the previous book. I don’t know about you, but I like seeing what happens to characters after I write The End.
Please see below for more about Miriam’s Surrender. And I’d love to hear from you: what do you like, or dislike, about a series? What are your opinions on diversity in books? What’s your favorite holiday?
Blurb: Josh Lowenstein is a successful architect, hired to redesign the alumni club of a posh, private school in New York. He is strong, capable and knows the best way to do everything. Except let another woman in.
Miriam Goldberg is the Assistant Director of Outreach, and is Josh’s day-to-day contact for the redesign. She’s taken care of everyone around her, and forgotten how to let someone else take care of her.
With a tumultuous history, neither one is prepared to work together. As they get to know each other, the animosity disappears, but Josh is hiding something from Miriam and its discovery has the possibility of destroying their relationship. Only when they are both able to let the other in, and release some of the control they exert over everything, will they be able to see if their love can survive.

“I’m glad you agreed to have dinner with me. Maybe we’ll do it again?”
“I’d like that.” She looked at Josh and smiled.
He tipped his head and Miriam could feel his breath warm her face. Mere inches apart, she could see silver and black flecks in his irises, stubble on his cheeks, the arch of his eyebrow. Shivers zinged up her spine. Like a magnetic pull, she wanted to lean into him, to feel his body against hers, to press her lips against his. But they worked together, and a kiss would change everything. As if he read her mind, he pulled back, said goodbye and got into the cab and drove away. Miriam covered her lips with her fingers.
What in the world was she supposed to do now? He’d come close to kissing her. She could still feel the electric charge between them; still catch a slight scent of his musky aftershave in the air. His hand had held her arm with enough pressure to keep her against him. Although she’d watched him leave, she could still feel the imprint of his touch. She stroked her hand up and down her arm.
Did she give away how much she wanted to kiss him too? It was so quick, so unexpected, she couldn’t be sure. Her mind shot off in all directions as she entered her building and took the elevator to her fifth floor apartment.
They worked together! How in the world was she supposed to look at him when they next met? Should she acknowledge the kiss that almost happened? Should she pretend it never did? He didn’t plan on discussing it at their next meeting, did he?
Links: Jennifer can be reached at or She tweets at @JWilck. Her blog (Fried Oreos) is and she contributes to Heroine With Hearts blog on Tuesdays and Front Porch Saturdays at Sandra Sookoo’s Believing is Seeing blog
Buy Links:
Miriam’s Surrender
Barnes & Noble:

Good luck with Miriam's Surrender, Jennifer - and I look forward to more in your series.



  1. Thank you so much, Paula, for hosting me today!

    1. I'm curious, Jennifer - I don't know whether you're Jewish or not, but for me, I always have trouble creating characters with specific religious affiliations precisely because, having been brought up with no particular faith myself, I fear making a mistake or possibly even offending someone. My characters, therefore, tend to experience Christmas as an Americanized holiday rather than a religious one, and I avoid depictions of both Easter and Passover with equal rigor. So I guess my question is, while I love the idea of making Judaism or some other faith the "default religion," if you are not Jewish, how did you get past that fear of misrepresenting Jewishness? To me, learning another culture is like learning a foreign language - literal translations are easy enough to learn, but mastering the idioms can take a lifetime, and I would hate to mistranslate something I don't know very much about.

    2. Hi Lori, that's a great question. I don't know if I've done the characters justice, but I am Jewish, so I write what I know. Judaism is open to wide interpretation--there are many ways to practice, many varying beliefs and questioning is encouraged. So it took away some of the pressure you're talking about. Additionally, I didn't make it a particularly "religious" book--the characters are not having conversations about God or why they're supposed to do what they do. Just like a book that features a wedding in a church, it's just something that occurs. So, for Miriam, her preparations for Passover are more of a cultural and lifestyle choice--there is no religious discussion about why or how they should be celebrating Passover. Does that help?

  2. That actually makes a ton of sense. I grew up in an area with a large Jewish population, and what you're saying exactly matches my experience, that for many people, being Jewish is really more about culture than religion. In other words, it can be more a part of the background than the focus of events - which sounds precisely like what you've been trying to achieve in your series. And if religion isn't the focus, you don't have to worry so much about making an error or unintentionally causing offense :)

    1. Exactly, because causing offense is the very last thing I want to do. :)