What inspired you to write your memoir?
For years people told me to write a book about my dating experiences, so I did. As a journalist, I had experience in writing about other people’s lives and I was eager to apply my skills to my own situation. I had made several attempts to write novels, but they never got off the ground. My book, a memoir of connected chapters, fulfilled my ambitions and takes my writing career to a new level.
About your Book:
A Kosher Dating Odyssey: One Former Texas Baptist’s Quest for a Naughty & Nice Jewish Girl tracks the progress of the author’s jolting changes in belief as he enters the world of dating pre- and post-Internet. Van Wallach is the product of a small-town Texas upbringing, a Princeton education and years of New York City and posh Connecticut living. The stories of his pursuit of romance—from Brooklyn to Brazil and beyond—provide a wry, revealing, and distinctly male perspective on Jewish online dating.
Raised a Southern Baptist, Wallach found himself drawn to his family’s Jewish heritage and the women who embodied it. To meet the special challenges of online dating, he took a marketer’s approach to packaging his unique background into a memorable screen name and profile. His book explores the highs and heartbreaks of dating the “smart, vulnerable and shtetl-lovely” Jewish women he met and adored after he left Texas. As he follows his muse far afield, he analyzes Jewish body image (his and hers), calculates ROEI (Return on Emotional Investment), identifies the sexiest Jewish movies (hint: his three favorites all have subtitles), engages in edgy encounters with “the competition” in the quest for a fair maidele’s hand, and contemplates the role of Jewish faith in times of difficulties. Part memoir, part how-to, and partly just off-the-wall, A Kosher Dating Odyssey will appeal to anyone who is interested in journeys of both the spirit and the flesh.
Van Wallach is a writer in Westport, Connecticut. A native of Mission, Texas, he holds an economics degree from Princeton University. His work as a journalist has appeared in Advertising Age, the New York Post, Venture, The Journal of Commerce, Newsday, Video Store, the Hollywood Reporter, and the Forward. Van has been a regular contributor to the Princeton Alumni Weekly since 1993 and is the webmaster for the Princeton Class of 1980. He contributed a chapter on home-video economics to the second edition of The Movie Business Book. A language buff, Van has studied Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew, although he can’t speak any of them.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I posted a notice on a Princeton University discussion group about writing, asking for idea on publishers and agents. Somebody suggested Coffeetown Press in Seattle. I approach Coffeetown and after an initial conversation submitted an outline, which drew on materials I had already published online. The publisher liked it and I soon had a contract. The relationship and support during the project have been excellent. I wanted to work with a publisher and editor, rather than self-publish so I could get that support and ideas on how to market the book.