Spring is here at Great Thoughts. To celebrate, this week is our Spring Fling featuring 5 new books and 5 giveaway copies of each. I have invited Laura McNeill, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, Anita Hughes, Brenda Janowitz and Emiy Liebert (aka “Author Dreamteam”) to share thoughts with us this week! Yes huge BOOK GIVEWAY!
Today, we welcome Brenda Janowitz. Her book, The Dinner Party comes out TODAY!
I have a hard time letting things go. Always have. I don’t throw things away. I hold onto Playbills and hand-written notes and ticket stubs for longer than I should. I’m sentimental about silly things, tiny things, because you never know when you might want them again. I don’t give up on relationships easily, even when people show their true selves to me, even when they hurt me.
And I beat myself up about it. A lot.
Now that I’m married with kids, I’m getting better. I do a spring cleaning every year. I’m honest about my relationships, and if one isn’t healthy, I know when to let it go. I’m less sentimental about stuff—having lost my father-in-law and having had the health of both of my sons at risk (at separate times) has taught me to treasure people, and not things.
And I try to beat myself up a little less. But, like all people, I’m a work in progress.
For my fifth novel, I wanted to do a book about forgiveness, and what happens when we hold on to the past. It was something that I was grappling with in my personal life, something I’m always grappling with in my personal life, so I did what all writers do: I wrote about it.
The first image that came to mind was of a mother of three and her eldest daughter in the kitchen during a family holiday. They’d be quietly disagreeing, arguing, about what the eldest daughter’s boyfriend was wearing to the dinner. But there would be more going on under the surface—the mother would be nervous about impressing the family of her younger daughter’s boyfriend and her eldest daughter would be angry that her mother disapproved of her own boyfriend, had never had her boyfriend’s family over for a meal, much less a holiday meal.
When I was younger, I could never understand why there were so many books, television shows, and movies about holiday dinners gone awry. To me, holidays were a sacred time. The smells, the elegant table settings, the opportunity to see family members you hadn’t seen for so long. We’d eat. We’d talk. We’d dress up. It’s only now, as an adult, that I realize that the holidays aren’t just about joy and celebration. They can highlight everything that is wrong within a family, all of the family dynamics that don’t work. All of the ways we quietly drive each other crazy. You can dress the table any way you like, but it won’t change who people are and how they interact with each other.
Passover is the perfect metaphor for a novel about letting go of the past, of the things that hold you back. The Passover Seder recounts the story of the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Just as Moses told Pharaoh “let my people go,” the characters in the book—people from three very different families—learn how only when we truly let go of the past can we move on with the future.
For my fifth novel, I was looking to do something different. Write a better book. Write a bigger book. I wanted a novel that encompassed all of the themes I think about often—family, forgiveness, success, happiness, and acceptance—and THE DINNER PARTY is the culmination of these ideas.
25 Book Giveaway
Enter here to win one of the 25 books the authors’ publishers are giving away:
Spring Fling Giveaway
Special thanks to our authors and their publishers for sponsoring these giveaways. I received a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
What are you reading?