Rabbi Marc Katz is that rare person who can go from teaching a room full of restless children to a room full of work-weary adults, speak passionately about the environment and feminism and then relate them to Torah passages, and lead a powerful sermon before telling you in detail where exactly you should go for pizza in Park Slope. Marc is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, has published a number of articles, and his first book came out in September, The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort. Here, Marc talks about what it's like to be a first-time author, the struggles of self-marketing, how loneliness seeps into all of our lives, and the ways in which we can reach out for ourselves and for others.
This past month, I took myself off to a cabin in the middle of the woods for four days—no wi-fi, no TV, no indoor plumbing...just me, some books, and a bear for company (black, not toy). It was the perfect environment for doing nothing but reading. Some people need tranquility and birdsong to feel inspired or meet a writing deadline. Rachel Cohn is not one of them. She recently told me she left a writing getaway halfway through because it was too quiet. Whatever your creative needs, the following conferences, workshops, and retreats are held in a range of settings across the country to help you hone your craft, hear from the experts, and, hopefully, come away ready to send that book out into the world!
Before I ever knew Paul, I read Ten Mile River and was so blown away by his writing, his intensity, his ability to look vulnerability in the eye and somehow leave the reader feeling stronger, that I knew I had to meet him. In person, Paul is one of the most warm-hearted individuals I have ever come across and I'm thrilled he agreed to be interviewed for Behind the Desk. His new book, When Friendship Followed Me Home, is out today (June 7), and is already being hailed as one of the best summer reads!
Kass Morgan has that special ability to make a splash wherever she goes, be it Brown and Oxford as an undergraduate and graduate, respectively, the New York publishing scene where she is an incredible editor at one of the top publishing houses, or the New York Times Best Seller List, which is where her first book, The 100, ended up whilst being turned into a hugely popular TV show by the same name. But Kass is more than just her accolades. She has a sharp wit, a passion for culture and coffee, and a fashion sense that makes you want to go out and buy hundreds of dresses. The fourth installment of The 100 series will be out in December, so catch up on the previous books if you haven't already!
Patricia McCormick writes about some of the darkest subject matters known to humankind, yet she remains one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Her literary efforts have been rewarded with two National Book Award nominations and countless other awards. But, more importantly, her moving and true-to-life books impact readers, teachers, students, and artists around the world. This month sees the release of Sold, based on her novel of the same name, starring Gillian Anderson, David Arquette, and the utterly brilliant Niyar Saikia.
Rachel Cohn is not only a New York Times bestselling author nor is she just an author who has published thirteen YA and children's books (with four more due out in the next couple of years!); she also happens to be my brilliant half-sister. If it weren't for her, I may never have entered the world of publishing (or been an extra on her book-turned-movie, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist). Rachel was kind enough to be my first subject for Behind the Desk, so I'll let her take it away...
In December, I posted about contests for unpublished writers (those deadlines are now approaching!). This month, I'll introduce you to some conferences, workshops, and retreats in the United States that are open to the public and suitable for a variety of writing levels (beginner, published, simply curious, and so on). Events like these can be a great place to meet published authors, hear them lecture about the craft and process of writing, improve your own work, and interact with your peers. If you attend one of these programs, or have attended in the past, I'd love to hear your feedback on how it went!