Author Interview: Yael Levy

Yael Levyauthor, Brooklyn Love
Thank you so much for your interview!

I’m really drawn to characters who are forced to grapple with moral choices and access their faith in God to help them through life’s challenges. In my debut novel Brooklyn Love, Rachel is forced to choose between what she knows in her heart is right for her vs. communal expectations. As for heroes, I love them strong! Though their physicality is at best immaterial, at worst a liability to me. I want to love their soul: their choices, their sacrifices, their character and values.

On my nightstand I am currently reading:

From Sacrament to Contract Marriage, Religion and Law in the Western Tradition by
John Witte Jr.
Lost Love The Untold Story of Henrietta Szold by Baila Round Shargel

I’m looking forward to reading:

In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist by Ruchama King Feurman (who is also one of my writing teachers!) and A Guide to the Perplexed by Dara Horn

I enjoy reading non-fiction and thoughtful fiction or books that make me laugh. Elmore Leonard was a hoot, I’m sorry that he’s gone.

Most of them are not clear about what exactly categorizes a book under fiction and non-fiction. See this website to understand the difference. In a fiction book, the plot, characters, and settings are from one’s imagination. In a non-fiction book, the stories are factual, and they are actual people and events.

I don’t have a favorite genre yet in terms of my own writing. I tend to write for the story instead of the genre. So far I enjoy writing Young Adult, quirky romantic comedies and thoughtful fiction. But I do hope to take a jump into non-fiction and then sci-fi when the time is right!

My ideas come from…God? I think. I don’t know, really but I’ll take a guess. They tend to come when I am sitting around the table with my family on the Sabbath and we are all eating together, laughing and talking and in the banter and chatter that makes up a great conversation I start with a “what if?” and then the day progresses and that “what if” continues to dance in my head and the scenarios start jumping around like popcorn kernels in a pot for a week or so, the plot and characters are all moving around and don’t shut up until I write them out.

Brooklyn Love is my debut novel which takes readers into the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and dating practices there. My next books are quirky romantic-comedies: Starstruck–a frustrated Jewish homemaker’s life literally collides with a soap opera star, followed by Touchdown–a Jewish spirit takes over the body of a Southern football hero and refuses to leave until he agrees to stop the wedding between her fiancé and the witch who killed her. (They are all published by Crimson Romance.)

The projects I’m working on now are serious Women’s Fiction set in Orthodox Jewish communities and then I hope to develop a few humorous Young Adult novels which have been hammering me in the head, trying to get out!

All my work is family-friendly. I feel the essence of a great story are the spiritual and emotional components so that is what I enjoy focusing on and writing about. And I want to write books that my kids could enjoy, too!

My books could get readers thinking about a community and characters that are different from their own– yet similar enough to engage the reader in looking at their own lives through another lens.

Favorite characters:

Brooklyn Love– Hindy. Suri.
Starstruck–Sara. Boris.

Thanks so much for this interview!

All the best,