On The Bookshelf
Selected news and feature stories
from the Detroit Jewish News.
) Back In Time
Look for Alexis P. Rubin's
"This Month in Jewish History"
) What's Eating
This Normal Life
Brain Blum goes to India
in search of the lost Jews
of Jaipur. Did he find
them? Read his column on
Jewish.com and find out.
On Jewish.com, Martin
Peretz, editor-in-chief of
The New Republic, writes
in memory of Larry Tisch
Ira Kaufman Chapel... www.irakaufman.com
DetailsArt.com ... www.detailsart.com
Patti's Parties ... www.pattisparties.invitations.com
Sisters turn to childhood tales
as inspiration for adult series.
11 - V 7 er
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Copley News Service
illa and Nora Zuckerman swear they didn't per-
sonally partake in the debaucherous adventures
detailed in their first book, Tangle in Tijuana
(Fireside; $9.95), published in March.
"Everyone's heard a story about Mexico," said Nora, 27.
"There are just so many insane possibilities."
So why not let readers decide where the Tijuana tale
That's why the California-based sisters wrote their book
in the old "choose-your-own-adventure" style that spawned
more than 100 books popular
with young readers in the
1980s. Only this time, the audi-
ence is the Sex and the City set,
what Lilla calls the "bad-ass,
young chick genre."
"Chick lit is exploding," said
Lilla, 28. "I've read every one
of those hot-pink books out
there, and where is the ballsy
twentysomething chick who
doesn't give a damn about find-
ing a husband? I wanted to cre-
ate a story to fill that niche."
The niche must have needed
filling, because Lilla and Nora
— both first-time authors —
scored themselves a two-book
deal with publisher Simon &
Schuster and helped create a
ture-type series for adults called
"Miss Adventure." The second
volume in the series, Beauty
Queen Blowout (Fireside; $9.95),
about a dark-horse beauty con-
testant participating in a pag-
eant in Reno, Nev., came out in
At the end of each chapter,
readers are faced with a choice:
Do you go shopping or head
straight to the bar? Do you leave with the handsome stranger
or stick with your drunken friend? Each selection determines
the course of the story.
Amanda Patten, an editor with Simon & Schuster, said she
hopes the new series will appeal to the now-grown readers of
the original choose-your-own-adventure books.
"All those same people are reading all this chick lit," she
said. "I think people like to get involved in their entertain-
ment in a way they weren't before. Here's something where
you get to control the story. You decide what happens, and if
you don't like what happens, you can go back and start again.
"You really get more bang for your buck when you have
38 different endings."
LLA' AND NORA ZUCKERMAN
Of course, plotting out such
a story can be challenging, par-
ticularly for a pair of first-time
authors. That's why Lilla, who
came up with the idea, asked
her screenwriting sister, Nora,
"I thought it was a slam-
dunk of an idea," Nora said. "I
was writing [screenplays] on
my own and I was stuck on a
project, so I was thrilled to
write something in a new for-
The Jewish Zuckerman sis-
ters, who grew up just outside
L.A. in a family of five children
— dad Ken is a land developer
and mom Peggy is a small busi-
ness owner — spent months
brainstorming wacky scenarios
for their fearless female charac-
ters. Each chapter had to tell its
own story and connect seam-
lessly to other chapters, regard-
less of the readers' choices. It
turned into something of a logistical nightmare, Lilla said.
"We made a big flow chart and it looked like a crazy fami-
ly tree," she said. "It was the most disorganized, amorphous-
looking mess you've ever seen, and that was our outline."
They chose chapters and wrote every day. They matched up
• page numbers and made sure all 38 possible stories held
together. Once their first manuscript was complete, they
looked for an agent.
Nora had experienced ample frustration as a screenwriter,
so she prepared her sister for the repeated rejection they were
about to experience.
"Nora's a realist," Lilla said. "But I was telling her, 'We
can't lose. This is brilliant. In fact, this is a series.'"