Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Q&A with Jean Meltzer


Photo by Lisa Damico



Jean Meltzer is the author of the new novel Mr. Perfect on Paper. She also has written the novel The Matzah Ball. She lives in Virginia.


Q: In our previous interview, you said that Mr. Perfect on Paper was based on your real life. How did you create the characters of Dara and Chris?

A: Before I went to rabbinical school, I worked in daytime television. I knew I wanted to use my background in TV to create Christopher Steadfast, who is the charming head anchor of a struggling daytime television show called Good News New York.


Also, my brother-in-law worked as a news broadcaster for many years, so I was privy to many of his stories (and frustrations!) that came with working as a reporter.


As for Dara, I knew I wanted to center her life in the Jewish world. I’m not a technical person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m married to a guy who works in tech, and I loved the idea of making her a more modernized version of the old-world matchmaker. Hence, the idea to make her the creator of J-Mate, the world’s largest online platform for Jewish dating.


Q: What do you see as the role of Judaism in the novel?


A: That’s such an interesting question, because in truth, I don’t think about it any differently than a book where non-Jewish characters would be portrayed. Dara is a committed Jew, who lives in a more active Jewish world, family, and community. I’m not really doing anything other than writing her normal everyday life. 


Q: What do you hope people take away from the story?


A: I hope people have a wonderful time reading Mr. Perfect on Paper. I hope it makes readers belly laugh, tear-up in a good way, and swoon over the big ending. Beyond that, and especially for people who find themselves in interfaith partnerships or marriages, or who live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I hope it helps them feel a little more seen.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m currently working on my third book, another rom-com entitled Half-Baked. It’s about the heirs of two rival bakeries in Brooklyn—one of whom lives with chronic pelvic pain—who find themselves falling for each other despite insurmountable odds stacked up against them. It’s a book about Jewish intimacy and navigating sex after chronic pain.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I love hearing from readers! You can find me at:

Instagram: @JeanMeltzer

Facebook: @JeanMeltzerAuthor 

Website: JeanMeltzer.com


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Jean Meltzer.

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