I am an author, journalist, and aspiring artist.
My first three novels, Rachel’s Secret, Rachel’s Promise, and Rachel’s Hope (Second Story Press) were inspired by my grandmother’s escape from a Russian pogrom and subsequent journey to Shanghai. They received starred reviews, including Booklist and VOYA, and two were named Notable Books by the Sydney Taylor Book Awards announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries.
Recently, I signed with a new agent (Beverley Slopen), now pitching my latest manuscript, Ghosts of Riga; it explores intergenerational trauma after the Rumbula massacre, and was spurred by ancestors as well as the discovery of my Jewish roots as an adult.
Before I started weaving my family through historical narratives, I was a journalist, writing about everything from green architecture to Tourette’s Syndrome for the Toronto Star, National Post, Canadian Jewish News, Maclean’s magazine, Canadian Living, and Reader’s Digest. (To be perfectly honest, I did write about family in a few pieces; it was impossible to resist when all three of my children got lice at the same time, or when we hosted a Chernobyl child.)
Inborn curiosity and cynicism drive my work. I am happiest when researching a new subject, and often have to force myself to start an outline, because I am consumed by facts, people, places, stories, and ideas.
When I’m not writing, I paint, binge genealogy sites or, pre-Covid, speed skate and play tennis (I’m a two-handed backhander). I also review books for Jewishgen.org, and run the book club for my synagogue. I’ve read everything Alice Hoffman has written, just finished Sarah Blake’s, The Guesthouse, and am now reading, Mengele: Unmasking the Angel of Death by David Marwell. During Covid, I have become disturbingly addicted to Netflix’s ‘Sugar Rush’ and Scandinavian murder mysteries.
In an artful way throughout this absorbing, chilling tale, characters wonder what can stop the tragedy of hatred from overcoming community.
Booklist Starred Review
Adeptly conveys the history, from Mikhail Rybachenko's real name to the bitter bigotry and
bloodbath...Critical for its underexplored subject.
Rachel's Secret effectively uses the historical record to create a compelling image of this troubled period,
making meaningful points about the role of hatred and hope in society--and how young people can break
free from the shakles of tradition.
iTunes, Book of the Week
A poignantly realistic portrayal of young Jewish woman's struggle towards independence
in early 20th C San Francisco, trying to embrace the new world while grappling with her ties to tradition.
The Jury, Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature (Rachel's Hope shortlisted, 2016)