Tuesday, September 10, 2019

My Hanukkah Story

The romance world is becoming more diverse, and Jewish characters add to the lovely tapestry of colors, religions, customs, sexual orientation and genders that today’s story depict.

As a Jewish author, some of what I write is considered “own voices.” By writing characters who are Jewish, like I am, I bring an authenticity to my stories that non-Jewish writers can’t necessarily achieve. But writing Jewish romance is more than just writing Hanukkah stories. It’s inviting Jewish characters to the table—into the small towns, the big cities and everywhere in between. It’s acknowledging there are more holidays than just Christmas—and I happen to be a Jewish author who LOVES Christmas romances, so no yelling at me, please—and that weddings don’t just happen in churches. It’s food and faith and funny anecdotes that come from years of experiencing the inclusiveness of my own religion, while also, at times, the exclusion of others.

So when people hear I write Jewish romance and they respond with, “You should write a Hanukkah story!” I smile and sigh. Although they’re only touching the tip of the iceberg, they mean well, and if people like reading Christmas stories, it stands to reason they’d like reading Hanukkah stories, too. 

With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve written one, and that my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has agreed to publish it this holiday season.

Since I have such a conflicted opinion about Hanukkah stories, why did I write one? Well, an author who self publishes decided she wanted to publish a Hanukkah anthology with eight other authors, and opened submissions to everyone. The stories had to be short—15,000 words or less—something I’d never done before. How in the world would I be able to develop characters, story arc, conflict and a satisfying ending in so few words? But after almost every author who knows me said I should enter a story, I did it. It was out of my comfort zone, but I was proud of what I wrote. As with all submissions, a lot depends on luck, and my story wasn’t chosen. So what to do next?

Well, I mentioned to my current publisher that I had this Hanukkah story that I’d written, asking if they had any holiday anthologies planned for next year—I really didn’t think anything was possible for this year. And after hearing about it, she told me she didn’t have one planned, but she’d love to see the story and potentially publish it on its own this year. 

This was in July. Hanukkah is in December. That’s not a lot of time, and I don’t want to publish less than my best just to make a deadline. But I trust my publisher and my editors. If they think it’s possible, they’ll do it, and it will be good. After some expanding of the plot and editing, I received a contract.

The story, Waiting for a Miracle, will be released sometime this holiday season (we’re still waiting on a specific release date) in e-format only. And despite my ambivalence about Hanukkah stories, I really do like this one. My characters don’t live in a bubble. Their neighbors celebrate Christmas, and the decorations, sights and smells are easily woven into the setting of my story. There’s a child and a pesky grandmother and food—three of my specialties—and of course a hot guy and a smart heroine.

The fact that everyone who hears I write romance with Jewish characters tells me to write a Hanukkah story means we still have a ways to go before we achieve full inclusiveness (ask any author of color and they’ll agree, as well). But in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this story, and I’m tremendously thankful to my team at The Wild Rose Press for once again, taking a chance on me.


  1. I have always loved Hanukkah books, and my first published romance was a Hanukkah story. Unfortunately there aren't to many of them!