Kids Author Carnival 2015

I’m soooo excited to participate in this year’s Kids Author Carnival on May 30 at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. I mean, just look at this line-up of middle grade authors. Last year’s event looked like so much fun. I wonder how we’re going to top it! Mark your calendars for a fun night!

Kids Author Carnival
May 30, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
Jefferson Market Library
425 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY, 10011

Not your mother’s matzoh ball soup

Adventures in the test kitchen

Remember I was telling you about the Indian- and Jewish-inspired recipes that are featured in the paperback*? Well, feast your eyes on these pictures from our test kitchen. We must have been having some serious beginner’s luck because everything came out AMAZING the very first time. Take a look!

*Get the complete recipes in the paperback edition of My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, available April 21, 2015.

Matzoh Balls and Sambhar

Turmeric matzoh balls and sambhar... they're mm-mmm good.

Turmeric matzoh balls and sambhar… they’re mm-mmm good.
Warning: this recipe is NOT kosher l’pesach.

Not bad for my first attempt.

Not bad for my first attempt. This one was somewhat round, even.

Step up your soup game, and yes, those are red chilies.

Step up your soup game, and yes, those are red chilies. Oy!

Aloo Latkes Chaat

It’s a latke, it’s a tikki… it’s basically the same thing. Whichever way you shred it, it tastes great.

It’s a latke, it’s a tikki… it’s basically the same thing. Whichever way you shred it, it tastes great.

Desi-fied Mandel Toast

    My mom's mandel toast recipe, but with chopped pistachios (top) and candied fennel seeds (bottom).

My mom’s mandel toast recipe, but with chopped pistachios (top) and candied fennel seeds (bottom).

Mango-Ginger Hamantaschen

Mango-ginger hamantaschen. Why in the world wouldn't you?

Mango-ginger hamantaschen. Because why in the world wouldn’t you?

Masala Popcorn

popcorn + chaat masala = simply amazing

popcorn + chaat masala = simply amazing

Secret Ingredient

That which makes everything taste delicious

That which makes everything taste delicious (because MANGO POWDER).

Get the complete recipes in the paperback edition of My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, available April 21, 2015.

Good things come to those who wait

Okay, so… maybe you never got around to buying the hardcover. We’re still friends. Maybe you feel paperbacks are a better value. I hear you, I do. Maybe you’ve been invited to 47 bajillion bar mitzvahs this spring and you’re looking for just the perfect gift-check holder. Well, your patience has paid off handsomely because the new paperback edition of My Basmati Bat Mitzvah contains an exclusive feature you won’t find in the hardcover or the e-book: five-ish drool-inducing, Joshua “Daddy” Feinstein-worthy, my-mom’s-recipe-based, Jewish-and-Indian-inspired original recipes by yours truly! Learn to make matzoh ball sambhar, aloo latkes chaat, candied fennel seed mandel toast, mango-ginger hamantaschen and Tara’s favorite, easy-peasy masala popcorn. The official paperback release date is April 21, 2015. If you can’t wait that long, don’t worry, it’s available for pre-order at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But really, you’ve shown yourself to be a champion procrastinator (erm, I mean, you’ve been very patient so far…) so just mark your calendars and set your alarms for the crack of noon on April 21 and get yourself a copy at your local bookshop. It’ll be your mitzvah for the day. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to remind you. xxx

Blog Tour: The Writing Process

Crap. It’s Monday. This is due today, isn’t it? Okay, focus. Drink coffee. Feed the pets. Boot laptop. Battery’s dead? Already? Plug in. Google “samsung series 9 battery life crap.” So it’s not just me. That’s good. Right. What was the topic again?

There, you’ve just had a taste of “my writing process.” Sorry to disappoint you. If you want good advice, you should probably go back and read Kimberly Pauley‘s blog post again.

author Kimberly PauleyBut, seriously… the lovely Kimberly Pauley, author of the much-anticipated Ask Me, invited me to participate in this blog tour about Writing Process. No kidding, you should definitely read what she had to say about it. Our, ahem, “processes” are not the same.
Now back to me.

Paula FreedmanWhat am I currently working on?

I’m working on a second middle-grade novel. I can’t tell you what it’s about. If I were capable of summarizing it in a paragraph, I probably wouldn’t be writing a full-length novel, knowwhatimean? It’s got a little humor, a little heartbreak, and (in a major milestone for me) it’s written in the third person. Right now. That could change. Just saying. It’s not a sequel to My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, but I’m hoping it’ll appeal to the same sorts of readers.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s a tricky question. In My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, readers seemed to appreciate that Tara’s “differences” were no big deal. Meaning, the diversity elements of the story were not the “problem” of the novel, just facts. That’s cool.

Why do I write what I write?

Because my characters tell me to. That’s not exactly true. I’m pretty sure my characters don’t know about me, or wouldn’t care. They pretty much talk amongst themselves while I eavesdrop. I become interested in the characters and the story follows. The premise for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah came to me while I was walking down the street (Upper West Side of NYC, so not that surprising). Here’s what I told The Streetlight Reader in my first online interview:

I came up with the title first, the story next. I was literally walking down the street when it came to me. It felt right. By the time I got home and wrote anything down, Tara and Mum were already arguing in my head. That first day I wrote just one page (which I ended up using in chapter three – it hasn’t changed very much!).

How does my individual writing process work?

See paragraph one. Okay, semi-seriously. I alternate between writing in total isolation at home (cookies, coffee, napping, talking to self) and writing side-by-side in public with like-minded companions (cookies, coffee, no napping, writing until the cursed battery runs out, talking to self and companions, teeth brushed). I recently moved to London from NYC and was thrilled to find a new group (mainly Kimberly Pauley and Tracey Mathias) as inspiring as my NYC group (Margaret Crocker and a revolving cast of geniuses). I am super motivated by deadlines. When I don’t have a real one, I will inform my agent or editor that I will deliver something to her by a specified date, and then I will miss that deadline by only a few days. I plan to write every day Monday through Friday (and usually do); I don’t write on weekends because it’s my job and nobody works seven days a week. By the time Monday rolls around again, I’m itching to get going. I’m not allowed to watch TV while I’m working, though I often listen to music and take the aforementioned naps (giving those characters in my head time to stretch their legs).

Next up in the blog tour:

author Michelle KnudsenMy friend Michelle Knudsen, prolific author of adorable picture books and thrilling novels. Two that you’ll want to keep beyond their return date are Library Lion and the upcoming Evil Librarian (sporting my favorite cover of all time–but you’ll have to wait until it comes out in September. Mwahahaha!).
author Sheri KoonesFor something completely different–Sheri Koones, journalist and author of Prefabulous World: Energy Efficient and Sustainable Homes Around the Globe, coming out just in time for Earth Day. The book profiles 50 of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly houses around the world.
I can’t wait to read their answers on April 14.