Friday, November 15, 2013

Interview with Arnine Weiss, author of chick lit 'She Ain't Heavy'

Arnine Cumsky Weiss is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and a teacher of English as a second language. She has worked in the field of Deafness for over thirty years. She is the author of six books. BECOMING A BAR MITVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES, BECOMING A BAT MITZVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES (University of Scranton Press), THE JEWS OF SCRANTON (Arcadia Publishing), and THE UNDEFEATED (RID Press) and  THE CHOICE: CONVERTS TO JUDAISM SHARE THEIR STORIES (University of Scranton Press). Her second novel, SHE AIN’T HEAVY (Academy Chicago)was published in June, 2013. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Weiss and is the mother of Matt, Allie, and Ben.

Visit Arnine’s website at

Socialize with Arnine!


About the Book:

Just when counter clerk Teddy Warner is about to be evicted from her Scranton apartment, she bumps into beautiful, brilliant, blond Rachel – her estranged childhood friend whose mother forbid their friendship thinking Teddy was beneath them.

Teddy and Rachel reconnect over hot chocolate and under New Year’s Eve fireworks.  Their discussion leads to an invitation. Soon, Teddy’s on her way to Philadelphia, where Rachel is a student, to share an apartment and begin an exciting new life in the City.

Teddy views Rachel as perfect.  Rachel can’t bring herself to shatter the image by letting on that she is having an affair with a married man. Just when Teddy is starting to feel at home, Rachel insists on some privacy.  Acting out her anger at being asked to stay away, Teddy indulges in a one-night stand.

When Teddy returns to their apartment the next morning, Rachel is being carried out on a stretcher – the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. This unforeseen tragedy leaves Teddy alone in a strange city, with no money, no friends, and no connections.

As Teddy struggles to find her way, she meets a mentor at the same university Rachel previously attended who takes an interest in her, but with strings attached. She also develops a unique bond with the firefighter who rescued Rachel.  And yet, Teddy remains committed to helping Rachel get back on her feet, at a time when no one else who supposedly loves her can accept her in this diminished way.  Along the way, Teddy discovers her own strength in the roles of caretaker, lover, and friend.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m a sign language interpreter and I work with deaf kids in the Bronx. I also teach English as a second language and GED prep classes. I love riding my bike and spending time with my family.

When did you start writing?

I came to writing relatively late. I was inspired by my son’s survivorship of leukemia and his subsequent Bar Mitzvah. I started writing non-fiction and then made the crossover to fiction.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Rather than one big “ah hah!” moment, I like to celebrate little triumphs along the way. Not too long ago, I was in a writing group and one of my colleagues told me that a particular piece of my writing was a “home run.” So I like to celebrate small victories because then they keep coming.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

My next book will be the sequel to my first novel, The Undefeated. There’s a scene in the school for the deaf in New England. I’d like to go there and see if for myself.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

It’s a magnificent fall day. I’d like to walk outside and enjoy the fall foliage.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’d like to tell a story that is told in three parts, and three different time periods – WWI, WWII and the present. The stories and characters are all interconnected.

Back to your present book, (add book title here), how did you publish it?

My agent, Janice Pieroni was amazing and diligent about finding a publisher for She Ain’t Heavy. She was awesome.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

When I first started writing, I flew all over the country interviewing people. The internet has made it much easier to do research now. However I do like to get first  person perspectives, and I interviewed a young woman from Dunkin’ Donuts and several firemen about carbon monoxide.

Why was writing She Ain't Heavy so important to you?

I was working on another book when my mother died unexpectedly in 2005. I started writing She Ain’t Heavy as an homage to my mother.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I know it sounds corny but I find inspiration from everything around me. Some guy knocked me off my bike in Central Park – I wrote about it. Some of the scenes in my books are straight out of my life, while others are all fiction.

Any final words?

Thank you so much for this opportunity!


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