Amy Fellner Dominy is a wonderful person and talented author that my students already love. We’re very lucky to have her participating with Students Want to Know! Thank you, Amy 🙂
Summary of OyMG (From Goodreads): Jewish girl. Christian camp. Holy moly.
Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she’s sure that if she wins the final tournament, it’ll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she’s confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship’s benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?
Debut author Amy Fellner Dominy mixes sweet romance, surprising secrets, and even some matzo ball soup to cook up a funny yet heartfelt story about an outspoken girl who must learn to speak out for herself.
- What made you think of Ellie’s character?
When I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona , the only other Jewish kids in my school were my brothers and sisters. So I felt different. I knew I wanted to write about a girl who felt that same way. I think most of us feel different in one way or another, but it made sense for me to write about a Jewish girl at a Christian school program because that was something I had lived.
- What did you do to come up with Ellie’s grandpa?
Zeydeh sprang to life as if I’d always been walking around with an old Jewish dude in my head. I never had a grandpa like that, although I did have a grandma who cursed in Yiddish. Zeydeh just flowed—in fact, the working title of the book was Crazy Zeydeh because he was so clear to me right from the beginning. I really loved the scenes with him—he’s the kind of character who can say or do anything so I never quite knew myself what words would come out of his mouth. 🙂
- Why is the soup such a big deal?
For Zeydeh, winning the cooking contest was about proving himself special and worthy, even in such a small way. It’s a big deal to him because he got to live a long life when so many other Jewish people died in the Holocaust.
- How long did it take you to write the book?
I wrote the first page in 2006—almost exactly as it is in the book—but then I got stuck. I rewrote the book many times for the next couple of years. At first, Ellie was unsure of herself and the story kept stalling out. When I finally gave her more chutzpah (guts) the story came to life.
- While writing the book did you picture someone specific as the main character? (If the book ever becomes a movie)
I didn’t have an actress in mind. It’s funny, but the girl I imagined in my head looks a lot like the model they found for the cover of my book. I’m still not sure who I would choose, but I was watching Modern Family the other night and thinking that either of those girls could be Ellie.
Allison and Brittany both asked similar questions here:
- (Allison) Did you experience something that inspired you to write the book?
- (Brittany) What brought you to the idea for the storyline? (Jewish people fighting for equality)
It’s not a very nice story to tell, but when I was 14-years-old (the same age as Ellie), I was fired from a babysitting job when the family found out I was Jewish. Up until then, I’d never even THOUGHT about hiding my religion. But that made me wary. I could understand the temptation to hide the part of yourself that you think someone else might not like. Whether it’s something about your past, or your family, or the way you believe or think or feel… That’s how I got the idea for this book—by asking the question, “What would you be willing to hide?”