Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Straight From the Author's Mouth of 'She Ain't Heavy' Arnine Weiss

Arnine Cumsky Weiss is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and a teacher of English as a second language. She has worked in the field of Deafness for over thirty years. She is the author of six books. BECOMING A BAR MITVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES, BECOMING A BAT MITZVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES (University of Scranton Press), THE JEWS OF SCRANTON (Arcadia Publishing), and THE UNDEFEATED (RID Press) and  THE CHOICE: CONVERTS TO JUDAISM SHARE THEIR STORIES (University of Scranton Press). Her second novel, SHE AIN’T HEAVY (Academy Chicago)was published in June, 2013. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Weiss and is the mother of Matt, Allie, and Ben.

Visit Arnine’s website at www.ArnineWeiss.com.

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut
answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

My oldest son survived cancer. He was diagnosed with leukemia at age six and underwent three years of chemotherapy. When it came time for his Bar Mitzvah when he was 13, we were celebrating his life, not only his coming of age. I realized we had a special circumstance and I started researching other stories of Bar Mitzvahs that were unique and one of a kind. I found 50 of them and I wrote my first book.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

Someone once told me that becoming a writer means you have homework all the time. There’s a drive inside that tells you to write something. I see stories all around me. And seeing your words published in a book is breathtaking.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I’ve been fortunate to have had six books published, four non-fiction and two novels, all by established publishing houses. I’ve saved all of my rejections which is probably toxic. I went to the Book Expo in NYC last June with a writing friend of mine. We walked through the exhibits and pointed to the places that rejected us.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

Everyone is very important and very busy. It’s the only business I know that you have to supply a self addressed stamped envelope so they can reject you.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My family is very supportive of my writing. I’m married and have three children and they’ve all read my work. My two sisters have both been supportive and they laugh when they find a familiar name or a familiar character.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I had a bad experience with the Bar and Bat Mitzvah books. A reputable press offered me a two book contract right away, and once I turned over my manuscripts they held them for two years. I finally asked for my books back and brought them to the University of Scranton Press, a small Jesuit press. They were glad to publish them and my Bar and Bat Mitzvah books have a little cross in the binding to represent the press.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

This is a new world and so far I’ve had only positive responses on social media sites  like facebook and linkedin.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Book talks, social media, direct emails, word of mouth, a book trailer and Dorothy Thompson at Pump up Your Books.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I saw someone on the subway reading my book. YAY!!!

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

 Someone in the business wanting to publish your book is the most amazing validation. There’s this amazing thrill to see your words in print, wrapped up in a glossy cover. And it’s like becoming a member of the club, with a key to the executive washroom.

No comments: