Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ILENE SCHNEIDER: Twelve Question Tuesday

Ilene Schneider
1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
Hmmm …. Most important? Or most interesting? 1. I became a rabbi at a time when it was still weird. (1976; the first woman was ordained as a rabbi in 1972). 2. My original goal in life was to be the first woman editor of the NY Times. Or Mad Magazine. 3. Don’t ask me a question unless you have a lot of time to listen to me ramble.

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Cat, all the way. I always say I like dogs, so long as they belong to someone else. But if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then I either once was or will be a cat.

3.  Tea or coffee?
Hot, neither. (Hot chocolate is the only hot drink I like; I don’t even like most soups.) Iced, coffee (with cream, no sugar). Even the smell of tea makes me feel queasy. I think it’s because whenever I had an upset stomach as a child, my mother would give me tea, so I associate tea with being sick.

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
No preference in males. Briefs (no bikinis, no high-leg, no thongs) for me. Cotton.

5. What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Around 4th grade, I began to write parodies of nursery rhymes. My 1st paid published work was a eulogy for JFK in Ingenue Magazine, when I was 15.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
When my first novel, Chanukah Guilt, was published in 2007.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
Whew. That’s like asking which of your children is your favorite. Maybe my doctoral dissertation, as it was the hardest. And took the longest. (I’m a world-class procrastinator.)

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Probably when I heard a voice from the fire escape outside my apartment window say, “Don’t say anything.” (I screamed, ran out the door, and lost only my pocketbook, on the desk under the window. And my dignity and sense of security. As soon as the lease was up, I moved into a high rise with a doorman.)

9.  How did you end up getting published?
I had “met” the owner of Swimming Kangaroo Books online and asked her if I could send her my completed manuscript of Chanukah Guilt. I had “met” the acquisition editor of Oak Tree Press online and asked her if I could send her my completed manuscript of Unleavened Dead. The pattern was broken in between the two books when the acquisition editor of Adams Media, whom I’d “met” online, asked me if I would be interested in writing Talk Dirty Yiddish.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
If daring = stupid, then hitchhiking alone from Jerusalem to Haifa with nothing but a backpack and sleeping bag, wearing a bikini as underwear under a long tunic. Hey, I was 20! At least I had enough sense to take a bus the rest of the way across the desert to Eilat.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that. 
Both. Or neither. I don’t want to be rich and not have accomplished anything, or famous but living in a homeless shelter. I guess if I were rich I could buy fame.


Rabbi Aviva Cohen is a 50-something, twice-divorced rabbi living a fairly uneventful life in South Jersey. True, her family is rather unconventional. And her first ex-husband moves to her town as the Interim Director of Public Safety (aka, temporary police chief). But her uneventful life turns eventful when she finds herself embroiled in helping solve several suspicious deaths. She thinks she is helping; the police call it meddling. Especially when her solutions are the right ones.

Read about her exploits in the first two Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries, Chanukah Guilt (http://tinyurl.com/lsltbge), just re-issued in a 2nd edition, including a bonus alternate solution, and in Unleavened Dead (http://tinyurl.com/lgljjqz). Both books are also available on Kindle.

Website/blog: http://rabbiauthor.com


Holli Castillo said...

Ilene, thanks so much for joining me today. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have such fascinating writer friends. You are definitely one of a kind.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good interview and loved your answers to Holli's questions.