Interview With A Jewish Vampire by Erica Manfred ~ A Review & More

The last thing zaftig middle-aged journalist, Rhoda Ginsburg, expected when she signed up for JDate was to fall in love with  a vampire.  But when she meets drop-dead gorgeous Sheldon, a Hasidic vampire, she falls hard. She rationalizes that he may not be alive, but at least he’s Jewish.She learns that back in the nineteenth century Sheldon was a rabbi who was turned into a vampire by Count Dracula, an anti-Semite who got his kicks from turning Orthodox Jews into vampires because then they’d have to drink blood, which isn’t kosher.Soon after she meets Sheldon, she discovers her beloved mother, Fanny, is terminally ill, so she comes up with the crackpot idea of getting Sheldon to turn Fanny and her friends, known as “the goils,” into vampires.  Once she becomes a vampire, Fanny tires of her boring life in Century Village, Florida, and, seeking thrills, she goes clubbing and disappears into the nightlife of South Beach in Miami.  When Fanny and her goil posse  “go rogue” and start preying on the young, Rhoda and Sheldon must track them down to keep them from killing again.

Interview with a Jewish Vampire turns vampire lore on its head, proving that not all vampires are young and beautiful and it IS possible to be undead and kosher.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a big fan of vampires. I have not read, nor do I plan on reading Twilight, I have never seen an episode of Buffy, and I’ve only seen one episode of True Blood. Well, I watched part of an episode, but it was so…ick. And well, I didn’t watch the rest of it. So I was surprised when I agreed to read Interview With a Jewish Vampire by Erica Manfred, but there was something about the blurb that lured me in. Maybe it was  her snarky sense of humor, or the irony of a Jewish vampire (I mean, how are you going to ward them off? Not with a cross.).

Whatever it was, I caved, put my ick factor away for the day, and dove right in. Erica has a fabulous sense of humor which pulled me in from the beginning and I must admit, there is something charming about a man who likes his women a little chubby–even if that man is a vampire. (Oh, the bygone era of Rubuen). But the heart of a great book lies in the reader’s ability to idenitfy with the characters. And Erica has this down to an art. There is so much in this book for reader’s to connect with. Even if you’re not Jewish or over-weight, most of us have regrets in our lives, like Rhoda, our heroine who is over 40 and childless. And I would chance to say that most of us would do danged near anything to keep our loved ones with us always. And Sheldon, our Jewish rabbi vamp? Well, he’s pretty great.  Even with his little quirks–like insomnia, a golem who doubles as a guilt-flinging Jewish mother, and well, the fact that he’s a vampire–he still comes out on top. And he’s more than perfect for Rhoda.

But I think what I liked best was the simple fact that the  book doesn’t take itself so seriously. Certainly not like other vamp works (okay, I admit to reading Salem’s Lot, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Interview with a Vampire, but that’s all you’re getting out of me.) Despite some of the issues Rhoda faces–her mother’s mortality topping that list– it was still a FUN read. There’s no ick factor, no spurting blood, no damned for eternity. And I loved it!

So take it from this not-digging-the-undead-craze reader, this is one vampire book you don’t want to miss!

~*~*~*~ Excerpt from Interview With a Jewish Vampire ~*~*~*~ 

No, I wasn’t interested in the story of his life. I was interested in getting to know him in a more biblical sense. I figured he was just another narcissistic celebrity wannabe. As a writer I was constantly getting hit on–not by attractive men–but by people who thought their lives were so fascinating they would make surefire bestseller material. All they thought they needed was a writer to tell their story which, of course, I would be thrilled to do on spec because they didn’t have any money. None of them realized that writers are not charitable institutions.

“You will want to write my story,” he said urgently, “You’ve never heard anything like it before. It will make you rich and famous.”

“Sure, sure. So what’s so special about your story?” I asked wearily, disappointed that he was only interested in my writing skills, not my body.

~*~*~*~  The Interview ~*~*~*~

Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?  I’ve been a vampire fan since reading Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire in the 1980s.   I started wondering what a Jewish vampire would be like and thought meeting one on Jdate was funny. Since I’m a journalist I imagined myself meeting a Jewish vampire and interviewing him.   The book originally started as a humor piece and morphed into a novel.

One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.  Yes, that I’m hysterically funny and they should feel compelled to tell everyone they know to buy my book.

Why did you choose your genre?  I have no idea what my genre is.   I wish I knew.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?  Yes, getting started.  That’s the part I hate.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?   Take workshops and get a lot of feedback.  Pay attention to what experienced writers tell you and don’t assume you know it all right off the bat.  Join a critique group.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?   Yes, I do suffer from it–a lot.  I tell myself to write it any old way and worry about fixing it up later.  That’s why God invented computers.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?  A computer and a refrigerator full of snacks so you have someplace to visit when you need to stretch your legs.   A dog or cat helps too.


~*~*~*~ Author Bio~*~*~*~

Erica Manfred is a freelance journalist, humorous essayist, and author.   Her most recent book is the novel,  Interview with a Jewish Vampire.  She’s also authored two non-fiction self-help books, including most recently He’s History You’re Not; Surviving Divorce After Forty.     Her articles and essays have appeared in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times Magazine, Ms., New Age Journal, Village Voice, Woman’s Day, SELF, Ladies Home Journal, and many other publications.  Erica lives in Woodstock, New York with her Chihuahua, Shadow, and her daughter, Freda. Brought up by Jewish parents who spoke Yiddish but avoided religion, she got her Jewish education at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation which welcomes Jews from all backgrounds, from atheist to Orthodox, to vampire.    Her website is www.ericamanfred.com, or visit www.jewishvampire.com

~*~*~*~ Praise for Erica Manfred ~*~*~*~

Erica Manfred’s wry humor is the perfect match for the sexy-vampire genre in this novel about the emotional intricacies of dating a hot Jewish guy who is a card-carrying member of the undead. Delicious!” –Nancy Peske, coauthor of the bestselling Cinematherapy series

“Bloodaholics! Only Erica could think of this. Clever, clever, clever.”- –Avigayil Lansmann, contributor to The Meta Arts Magazine.

With wild irreverent humor this book turns upside down and sideways all the vampire clichés and stock images. Jewish vampires keeping kosher, old lady vampires on the prowl. Above all, it’s fun! –Rachel Pollack, author of World Fantasy Award winner Godmother Night

~*~*~*~ Erica on Tour ~*~*~*~

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/03/interview-with-jewish-vampire-by-erica.html

Many thanks to Erica for sharing her hi-larious story with us. And many more to you for stopping by today! 

Lots of <3–Amie

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