Say Hello to Big Sam

I have another book coming out in August. Say ‘Hello’ to Big Sam, the giant. Sam has to make a giant challah for Rosh Hashanah, enough to feed all his friends. He has a lot of them and some are pretty big. On the other hand, the Grand Canyon makes a fine mixing bowl and Mount St. Helens, a perfect oven for baking.

The idea for this story began one day when I was driving by the huge, life-size state of Paul Bunyan in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood. Here’s a link. Click HERE if you’d like to know what the statue looks like

I was looking for an idea for a Rosh Hashanah tale, something out-of-the-ordinary. (My fans know I never do ordinary.) I thought about  Jewish giant who lives out west. The story began to come together. I felt I was ready to write within a few days. The story pretty much wrote itself since all the places in the story, from West Texas to the Mississippi River to the Cascade Mountains are all places I know well.

However, once I finished the first draft I realized something was missing. It was too easy. Sam sets out to bake his challah and bakes it. My editor friend Stephanie Lurie gave me the suggestion that solved the problem. She pointed out that Big Sam tore up the landscape to make his challah. How about restoring the mountains, the rivers, the prairie to the way they were before. That was the key! It’s the difference between a list of activities and a problem that must be solved. It’s the problems that give good stories their tension.

Check out the trailer and the video I made for Big Sam. Here are the links:


Big Sam Story

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