Bracha Goetz is the author of 36 picture books – and the list is growing! Her newest book, I WANT TO BE FAMOUS is a modern take on traditional Jewish wisdom. Bracha’s work ethic and dedication to create meaningful stories are inspiring. I am so pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about Bracha and her work for kids and adults.
Tell me a bit about your writing career. How did you get started? What keeps you motivated?
I have loved writing poems since I was a child. And my favorite kind of books has always remained picture books, even though I’m a Harvard grad, because I enjoy deep and complex topics being simplified in delightful ways. I wrote my first children’s book, sitting outside with a notebook, when I was living in the Judean Hills in Israel, while watching my young children play. I handwrote it there and put it in an envelope and sent it to a Jewish publisher in the states. A few weeks later, I got a letter back, accepting my little manuscript. That’s when I discovered that was how a person actually writes a children’s book!
Now I’m the author of 36 children’s books, with a few more that are busy cooking. Writing articles is not my favorite thing to do, but I do it if I feel that it is important to help clarify certain points that need to be made. My first book for adults only (and probably the only one for adults that I’ll ever write) was just released. Searching for God in the Garbage is a memoir about how I became Torah observant and overcame food addictions. It’s a very raw and candid account based on actual diary and journal entries that were kept.
What keeps me motivated? I try to write things that could be helpful spiritually, with the potential to enable more souls to shine.
I Want to be Famous is very timely for today’s celebrity culture, yet is based on traditional Jewish thought. Can share your thoughts about the creation of this story?
I Want to Be Famous first formed in my head when I learned that Rabbi Yisroel Salanter (1810 – 1883) was quoted as saying, “The loudest noise in Creation is the sound of a person breaking a habit.” I imagined the sound of a clap of thunder in the Heavens reverberating each time a person managed to break a habit. And then the clap of thunder got me thinking about the clapping of hands. That led to the idea of the clap of thunder being louder than all applause. And that led to the concept of breaking the habit of wanting to be a celebrity that gets loads of applause. How can this habit be broken? It can come through recognizing that there is a more lasting and far greater pleasure than fame. And guess what it is? Having the spotlight glow from within – when one’s uniquely beautiful soul is shining!
What is your writing process? Are you very structured or do you go with the flow of an idea?
I love to go with the flow of an idea, and once the idea is drafted, then I enjoy the editing process in order to create a more structured finished project.
How is the niche of Jewish children’s books different that mainstream or secular publishing?
For years, my books were only accepted by Orthodox Jewish publishers. Only recently, are my books now also being published by mainstream publishers. If you want to see them all, this is where they are, on my Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/spiritualkidsbooks-brachagoetz. It’s so new to me that I don’t really know what is different about being published by a niche Jewish publisher versus a mainstream one yet. One thing I do know, though, is that the books all contain universal values that can help any soul to shine more brightly.
Thank you, Bracha! It’s been lovely getting to know you!