Q&A With Jean Meltzer
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Q&A With Jean Meltzer
Today’s Q&A is with Jean Meltzer the bestselling author of “The Matzah Ball,” “Mr. Perfect On Paper,” and in 2023 her upcoming novel “Kissing Kosher”. I know I definitely have “The Matzah Ball”, on my never ending list of books I want to read. On top of that Jean has won Emmy’s for her work in tv which is very impressive.
Q: Jean at what point in your life did you realize that your calling in life was to be an author?
A: Wow. What a great question.
I think my path to becoming an author began in a sixth grade English class. We had been given an assignment to write a short story. I remember I worked so hard on that story, writing what was essentially a romantic comedy about a princess in a kingdom called Care-A-Lot. (I imagine the wording was a play on Camelot. But also, I find it interesting that even as a child, I was playing with the same themes and messages I write about now as an adult.)
The next day, my teacher, Mrs. Lokuta, called me to the front of class. She felt the story was very good, and asked if I wanted to read it aloud to my classmates. I did, and I remember how all my classmates laughed and sighed, and how much I enjoyed seeing their enjoyment over my story. I spent the rest of that year, writing stories for my classmates, and reading them to the class.
When The Matzah Ball published in 2021, I was thrilled to be able to send Mrs. Lokuta a signed copy of my book… along with a thank you card. I imagine my life path would have been completely different, had she not seen some spark of talent in my writing, and nurtured it.
Q: What’s your advice to anyone wanting to be an author?
A: Do not tie your self-worth into publishing a book. Write your stories because they give you joy. Write your stories because they make you happy, and because you have something important to say. Publishing can be a slow, protracted, and fickle business. But if you write your stories for you first, if you put down on the page what you know is the best of your ability at the time, you will never be disappointed.
Q: Are you excited that “The Matzah Ball”, is going to be a film? Did they cast anyone yet? Also are you like the writer or producer behind the movie?
A: Absolutely! We’re still in the process of attaching talent, and I can’t say too much about that, but I will be working as both a consultant and Executive Producer. It’s very nice to be able to return to my roots. I was trained as a screenwriter, originally. And film will always be my first love.
Q: I love it when authors multi task or have done multiple things before writing books. What was it like winning an Emmy? Which tv shows did you write for?
A: Winning the Emmy was definitely as close to a slow-motion experience as I’ve ever encountered. It was surreal, and I recall running up to the stage, and full-on hyperventilating in shock and surprise. We also won the Emmy right after Martha Stewart, so it was cool to be in the back room with her, congratulating each other. I think the best part, however, was calling my family to tell them that I won. I believe my mom dropped the phone, and then I just heard screaming from everyone in the house.
I won the Emmy for Assignment Discovery under the category of “Outstanding Children’s Series.”
Q: Can you spoil a little bit about what “Kissing Kosher”, is about? It sounds like something I’d definitely read too.
A: Of course! Kissing Kosher is about a man named Ethan Lippmann, the heir to a Kosher baked goods empire, who is sent undercover by his ironfisted grandfather to a small kosher bakery in Brooklyn in order to steal their world-famous pumpkin-spice babka recipe. While there, he meets General manager and owner, Avital Cohen—a woman suffering from sexual dysfunction due to chronic pelvic pain—leaving both to wonder if they can ever find the right recipe for falling in love.
I was inspired to write this book after becoming a chronic pelvic pain patient myself. It’s been a long journey—filled with sexual dysfunction, lack of access to opioids, and a cannabis dispensary run by a rabbi—all things the characters in Kissing Kosher experience, as well. It’s also the most deeply intimate and personal book I have written to date. I’m excited for folks to read it, for it to spark conversation, and I hope—outside of experiencing a truly swoony romance beside Ethan and Avital—it makes those experiencing disabling chronic pain feel seen.
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little bit about it?
A: I am, but it’s way too early in the process to begin spilling details. I will tell you that, like all my books, it will tackle a topic not often handled in romance…
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your other novels?
A: Any questions about film/television rights should be directed to my film agents at UTA, Addison Duffy and Jasmine Lake. Sorry I can’t say more than that! But yes, there has been lots of interest in my books, and we’re all excited for what the future holds!