This week from Algonquin: Steve Stern‘s newest novel, The Frozen Rabbi. Stern has been writing for over twenty-five years, earning high praise for his Yiddish-folklore-inspired novels, short-story collections, and children’s books. He’s won the O. Henry Award, the Pushcart Writers’ Choice Award, and the National Jewish Book Award.
We asked him a few questions and he gave us a few answers–I get the feeling that he’s as dark and pithy in real life as he is in his novels (at least, I hope so). Also, for a little clarity on number 4, it’s a quote from a novella in this collection, by Stern.
1. Describe your new book in one sentence.
The Frozen Rabbi is a cautionary tale detailing the perils that ensue when a novel by the young Philip Roth falls into the wrong hands.
2. Where do you do your best writing?
In my panic room.
3. What is your motto or maxim?
No fun intended.
4. Do you have any secret skills (besides writing, of course)?
“I can fish, fight, fart, screw, fly a kite and drive a truck…”
5. Describe the plot of the first story you remember writing.
The plot of my first story revolved around my mother’s abduction by a crew of pirates. She ultimately prevails, becoming the captain of the pirate ship and enjoining the crew to wash their hands before and after cutting the throats of their victims.
6. If you had to change professions, and needed no credentials, what would you do?
I always wanted to be either an insurance actuary or a tight-rope walker.
7. Which band would you like to have follow you around, playing the soundtrack to your life?
Spike Jones and His City Slickers.
8. Where do you hope to catch people reading your new book?
9. What is your all-time-absolute-favorite book?
C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington’s The History of Underclothes.
10. What books have you read recently that you’d recommend?
Edna Ferber’s Fanny Herself–no kidding!