AS: This is your seventh collection of stories — all of them major bestsellers. How do you keep the stories so fresh and exciting?
CBW: Real life is always more fascinating than fiction — davka because it’s real. I love connecting with people from all over the world who share their challenges, their struggles, their triumphs, and, yes, even their failures, and I am gratified to be able to connect with so many wonderful individuals. It’s a privilege I don’t take for granted.
AS: Tell us about how you find so many stories, each one compelling and each one different.
CBW: It’s uncanny how I can sometimes go through a frustrating “dry spell,” without any good stories. And then, just hours before my deadline, I invariably receive a phone call, an email, or a text from someone who knows someone who heard of someone who wants to share their story.
At times it takes detective work, and a bit of phone tag, but not always. Once in a while a winning story falls into my lap without too much effort, and it is such a pleasure to write. I think of these “easy” jobs as little “love pats” from Hashem.
AS: What a variety! There are stories of plane hijackings and plumbers, shidduchim and prisoners of war, even a boat adrift in the Caribbean. There are happy endings, tragic endings, and surprise endings that leave us open-mouthed. Is there a common denominator, something that every “C.B. Weinfeld story” must have?
CBW: Not really. Any story that is heartfelt, honest, and atypical will usually make the cut. And no, they don’t need to have perfectly happy endings, though that is always a nice bonus. Ultimately, a successful story is one where we find ourselves nodding and identifying with the narrator and his or her dilemma long after we turn the page.
AS: So, what, exactly, is a “front row seat experience”?
CBW: I invite you to open the book and answer that question yourself. Happy reading!