Author Guest Post
My Inspiration: On Becoming A Writer
My oldest son survived cancer. Eleven days after his sixth birthday, and just three months after I gave birth to our third child, Matt was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. We – yes, we, the five of us – endured three years of chemotherapy, two bouts of hair loss, and a daunting uncertainty that if we didn’t know where the disease came from in the first place, how did we know it wouldn’t come back. And yet, as the treatment ended, we emerged as a tighter unit, grateful to medical science and our doctors, who worked in partnership with the Almighty.
Planning the bar mitzvah ceremony for the first child and grandchild on my side of the family would have been enough to elicit tremendous excitement and enthusiasm. However, compounded with the fact that Matt was a survivor, the bar mitzvah became a community event with standing room only in the synagogue. In addition, since I’ve been a sign language interpreter for most of my career, the service was interpreted into American Sign Language, making it accessible to my deaf friends and colleagues.
Stepping back from the situation, I recognized that something unique had happened. We had witnessed a beautiful, spiritual ritual for a young man who, in the process of becoming a man, had already demonstrated more moxie than most people ever do. I thought, well, if we had something special, there must be others who also had extraordinary circumstances surrounding their bar mitzvahs. I was going to write a book.
The process started with a small ad placed in five local Jewish newspapers asking people to share their stories with me. Anticipating that I would be bombarded, I set parameters to weed out the kinds of stories I didn’t want: glitzy, expensive and extravagant parties. Rather my focus was on remarkable people and special situations.
My worries about rejecting stories that did not fit my criteria were for naught. The ads yielded one phone call, one story. It was a great one though, and having even one person respond to my ad gave me enough confidence to pursue this endeavor. I started researching and through networking, found nearly 100 stories that I wrote and compiled into my first two books, Becoming a Bar Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories and Becoming a Bat Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories (University of Scranton Press.)
The completion of these books gave me the impetus to pursue an idea for a novel. I had actually started writing it years before, but I’d lacked discipline and a clear plan on how to proceed. I expanded what I’d learned about story telling during the process of writing the first two books and my first novel was born. The Undefeated (RID Press) is a coming-of-age story of two young men, one deaf and one hearing, set during the turbulent times of the civil rights movement. I not only wrote what I knew, but along the way I infused little bits of my soul into that book.
My latest novel, She Ain’t Heavy, is a departure for me, as there is nothing related to either Judaism or deafness. The protagonist, Teddy Warner, is a counter clerk at Dunkin’ Donuts, who moves from her small Pennsylvania town to Philadelphia to be with a childhood friend. When a carbon monoxide accident sidelines her friend, Teddy is left with no money, no friends and no place to live. It’s a heroic journey with themes of loyalty, friendship and second chances.
What started out as a devastating situation, my son’s cancer, brought me to an additional career (I still interpret) and a place I love – writing. Once I started, I realized I couldn’t stop. I see things everyday that inspire me and I want to write about them. And most of all, I look at my now 30 year-old son and know that I’m still enthralled with the miracle of life and the blessings we have received.
About The Author
She Ain't Heavy - Book Trailer
She Ain't Heavy by Arnine Cumsky Weiss
Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers
Publication Date: June 15, 2013 (1st Published: October 15, 2012)
Format: Paperback - 256 pages / Kindle - 407 KB / Nook - 398 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: She Ain't Heavy
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.
Teddy and Rachel reconnect over hot chocolate and under New Year’s Eve fireworks. Their discussion leads to an invitation. Soon, Teddy’s on her way to Philadelphia, where Rachel is a student, to share an apartment and begin an exciting new life in the City.
Teddy views Rachel as perfect. Rachel can’t bring herself to shatter the image by letting on that she is having an affair with a married man. Just when Teddy is starting to feel at home, Rachel insists on some privacy. Acting out her anger at being asked to stay away, Teddy indulges in a one-night stand.
When Teddy returns to their apartment the next morning, Rachel is being carried out on a stretcher – the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. This unforeseen tragedy leaves Teddy alone in a strange city, with no money, no friends, and no connections.
As Teddy struggles to find her way, she meets a mentor at the same university Rachel previously attended who takes an interest in her, but with strings attached. She also develops a unique bond with the firefighter who rescued Rachel. And yet, Teddy remains committed to helping Rachel get back on her feet, at a time when no one else who supposedly loves her can accept her in this diminished way. Along the way, Teddy discovers her own strength in the roles of caretaker, lover, and friend.
My Book Review:
She Ain't Heavy is a poignant coming of age story that follows Teddy Warner's journey of self-discovery and determination to make it on her own.
Author Arnine Cumsky Weiss weaves an inspirational tale set in Scranton and Philadelphia, that draws the reader into Teddy's story as she travels down the path of life wrought with trials and tribulations. With amazing determination and strength she learns to overcome the various challenges and continues to move forward in search of finding a fulfilling and happy life.
From early childhood, Teddy learned how to stand on her own two feet in order to survive. Through her tenacity and faith, Teddy's journey from Scranton to Philadelphia will teach her to learn to trust people she meets who will lend her friendship and support, have the courage to take risks, and not give up on her dreams of love and happiness.
She Ain't Heavy is a compelling story with a universal theme that every reader can relate to. Author Arnine Cumsky Weiss has created a beautifully written story about a spirited and strong young woman who has the will power and desire to survive and succeed against any challenges that life threw her way. The author's inspirational message that a person can do anything with their life and make it on their own successfully, will provide much food for thought, and will leave the reader to ponder what they would do if they ever found themselves at a crossroad in their life.
RATING: 4 STARS ****
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Tuesday, October 8 – First Chapter Reveal & Book Trailer Reveal at Raven Reviews
Wednesday, October 9 – First Chapter Reveal at I’m Shelfish
Thursday, October 10 – Guest Blogging at Curling Up With a Book
Friday, October 11 – Interview at The Book Connection
Monday, October 14 – Book Feature at Sweeping Me
Tuesday, October 15 – Interview at Beyond the Books
Wednesday, October 16 – Book Review & Book Trailer Reveal at Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, October 17 – Guest Blogging at Workaday Reads
Friday, October 18 – First Chapter Reveal at Literarily Speaking
Monday, October 21 – Book Trailer of the Week at Pump Up Your Book
Tuesday, October 22 – Book Trailer Reveal at Confessions of a Reader
Wednesday, October 23 – Book Featured at Bookingly Yours
Wednesday, October 23 – Book Review & First Chapter Reveal at Deal Sharing Aunt
Thursday, October 24 – Book Trailer Reveal at SheWrites
Friday, October 25 – First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Monday, October 28 – Guest Blogging at Bibliotica
Tuesday, October 29 – Interview at Book Marketing Buzz
Wednesday, October 30 – Book Review at Bibliotica
Thursday, October 31 – Character Guest Post at Lori’s Reading Corner
Monday, November 4 – Interview at Examiner
Tuesday, November 5 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Thursday, November 7 – Guest Blogging at As the Pages Turn
Monday, November 11 – Interview at Between the Covers
Tuesday, November 12 – Interview at BlogHer
Wednesday, November 13 – Interview at Straight From the Author’s Mouth
Thursday, November 14 – Book Trailer Reveal at Review From Here
Thursday, November 15 – Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Wednesday, November 20 – Interviewed LIVE at Blog Talk Radio’s A Book and a Chat
Wednesday, November 20 – Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Thursday, November 21 – Book Review at Melissa’s Midnight Musings
Friday, November 22 – Book Feature at Plug Your Book
Monday, November 25 – Book Trailer Reveal at If Books Could Talk
Tuesday, November 26 – First Chapter Reveal at Reader Girls Blog
Wednesday, November 27 – Book Feature at Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Wednesday, November 27 – Book Review at Steph the Bookworm
Friday, November 29 – Book Review, Guest Blogging & First Chapter Reveal at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Friday, November 29 – Blog Tour Wrap Up at PUYB Virtual Book Club