What books did you love as a child? Why?
There were so many, it’s hard to choose—or remember. I do remember adoring Green Mansions. Hardly anyone remembers that one. I loved the intersection of fantasy and reality – I also imagined myself as Rima, the bird girl, living in the forest away from the miseries of school and parents.
Who are your favorite authors? How did they influence your writing?
Keeps changing depending on what I’m reading at the moment. Right now I adore George RR Martin and Diana Gabaldon on Audible.com. As for influence I can’t say either of them influenced me. My writing is humorous and I’ll have to say my idol in that area is the late, great Nora Ephron. I also love Augusten Burroughs, Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Why did you decide to write?
I got fired from my job as a caseworker in the 1970s and wrote a mystery novel, Get Off My Case based on my experiences at the New York State Division for Youth. You can find it on Kindle.
What are the joys of writing for you?
The joy is in focusing on something outside myself. I love that sense of being transported to another time and place, or just forgetting my problems and worries. Writing gives me that feeling of “flow” where I’m totally involved and engaged. Feels good.
What are the obstacles of writing? How do you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle for me is getting started. Once I start I keep going. It helps to have a deadline. That’s about the only way I get to work.
What is your favorite genre to read in? Write in? Why?
I really love writing personal essays. Give me a 1,000 words and I’ll wow you. Give me a 100,000 and I struggle. Don’t know why I keep writing books—probably because I like the continuity of them.
How would you describe your writing style? How did you develop it?
My writing style is funny. I didn’t develop it, it developed me. I just naturally think that way, talk that way and so write that way. If I had another life I’d like to be a stand-up comic.
What was the inspiration for your book?
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice of course. I started thinking of a way to parody it, and voila, Interview with a Jewish Vampire.
What do you wish someone had told you about writing that you learned the hard way?
Discipline comes from within. I didn’t start writing until later in life because I thought I had no discipline—that I’d have to have someone standing over me with a whip to write. I had no idea that writing was a joy in itself, and the discipline comes from loving the process. A shrink told me that, over and over, until I finally believed it. That’s when I wrote Get off My Case.
What is your next project?
I’m working on a sequel to Interview with a Jewish Vampire entitled True Kosher Blood. In this book Rhoda will rescue Sheldon from the clutches of the Vampire Bureau of Investigation, the VBI.
What are you reading now?
I mostly listen to books on Audible.com. Right now I’m listening to The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon who never ceases to amaze me with the intricate details of the time period she writes about. I mean how the hell does she know all this stuff.
Interview with a Jewish Vampire
By Erica Manfred
About the Story:
The last thing zaftig middle-aged journalist, Rhoda Ginsburg, expected when she signed up for JDate was to fall in love with a vampire. But when she meets drop-dead gorgeous Sheldon, a Hasidic vampire, she falls hard. She rationalizes that he may not be alive, but at least he’s Jewish.
She learns that back in the nineteenth century Sheldon was a rabbi who was turned into a vampire by Count Dracula, an anti-Semite who got his kicks from turning Orthodox Jews into vampires because then they’d have to drink blood, which isn’t kosher.
Soon after she meets Sheldon, she discovers her beloved mother, Fanny, is terminally ill, so she comes up with the crackpot idea of getting Sheldon to turn Fanny and her friends, known as “the goils,” into vampires.
Once she becomes a vampire, Fanny tires of her boring life in Century Village, Florida, and, seeking thrills, she goes clubbing and disappears into the nightlife of South Beach in Miami. When Fanny and her goil posse “go rogue” and start preying on the young, Rhoda and Sheldon must track them down to keep them from killing again.
Interview with a Jewish Vampire turns vampire lore on its head, proving that not all vampires are young and beautiful and it IS possible to be undead and kosher.
About the Author:
Erica Manfred is a freelance journalist, humorous essayist, and author. Her most recent book is the novel Interview with a Jewish Vampire. She’s also authored two non-fiction self-help books, including most recently He’s History You’re Not; Surviving Divorce After Forty. Her articles and essays have appeared in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times Magazine, Ms., New Age Journal, Village Voice, Woman’s Day, SELF, Ladies Home Journal, and many other publications. Erica lives in Woodstock, New York with her Chihuahua, Shadow, and her daughter, Freda. Brought up by Jewish parents who spoke Yiddish but avoided religion, she got her Jewish education at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation which welcomes Jews from all backgrounds, from atheist to Orthodox to vampire. Her website is www.ericamanfred.com or visit www.jewishvampire.com.