Let me introduce you to a writer I admire and a friend I adore, Laurie Boris, author of the newly released historical fiction novel, Boychik.
BOYCHIK by Laurie Boris
Bio: Laurie Boris has been writing fiction for thirty years and is the award-winning author of nine novels. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, reading, and avoiding housework. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley.
Link to book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09J43786C
At the time of Boychik’s inception, I was writing a contemporary novella that had intriguing characters, but I didn’t know where to take them. So, I did what I often do when I’m stymied—I talked to them. This conversation led me to their parents, their grandparents…and into the basement of a delicatessen in Brooklyn, New York during the Great Depression. My parents spent part of their childhoods in Brooklyn during that time, and I was fascinated by the idea of writing a novel set in that world: as an homage to my family and my immigrant ancestors, and for my own writing challenge. The idea of writing historical fiction had always daunted me (all that research!), but I eagerly did my homework, learning about the movies they’d watch, the clothes they’d wear, the neighborhoods they’d frequent, how they made do during the Depression. I learned how pickles and lox and pastrami are made, took a refresher on Yiddish and the kosher laws, and followed these new characters into a story that sucked me in and didn’t let go. What I especially loved was the time I spent with my parents, asking questions, listening to their stories, absorbing all they could remember about their early lives, until I could imagine hopping a streetcar, speaking Yiddish with the neighbor ladies, going to the bakery and the greengrocer and the various other places where wonderful foods were made…and of course, the delicatessen, which became the heart of this story.
While the events of Boychik are fictional, I did weave in a couple of family anecdotes, both about my paternal grandfather. That’s him on the cover, at seventeen, a tough kid ready to take on the world.
From writing Boychik, I learned that historical fiction does not have to be a daunting, intimidating project. That I love my subject matter and feel connected to this period in time also helped. I may still go back to that contemporary story, perhaps as a sequel, following Eli and Evelyn into their futures. I want to know how it all turns out.