The mostly serious bio: A native of Bergen County, New Jersey, Ariella makes her home in coastal Maine but her dream self resides in County Mayo, Ireland. The daughter of a school teacher/librarian, she doesn’t remember learning to read, only the frustration when her older siblings could and she couldn’t.
Ariella graduated with honors from Barnard College, Columbia University, and attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a Visiting Scholar. Her three years in that city were magical. She holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School where she served as Associate Editor of both The Journal of International Law and Comparative Studies in Society and History. She spent more than a decade working in NYC – as a senior manager at the New York Public Library, Yeshiva University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts – before completing her law degree. After practicing in New York and New Jersey, she now focuses full-time on her writing and her family.
Sweet Breath of Memory is Ariella’s debut adult novel. Her sophomore novel is currently on submission. Learn more about that project here. Her short fiction appears in the print anthologies Heartscapes (Spruce Mountain Press, 2012) and in A Cup of Comfort for Couples (Adams Media, 2010). She was runner-up in Redbook’s 2010 Short Story Contest, and received an honorable mention from Spruce Mountain Press’ 2010 Short Story Contest.
As much as she admires writers who hit the mark at 20 or 25, at those ages Ariella simply hadn’t made enough mistakes – in life and love – to write well. She’s made up for that since. Her favored modes of procrastination when the writing simply won’t come are playing with her animals, biking & gardening.
Her writing life is far from solitary, so when they decide to come the words often find her at the sink, folding laundry, or weeding the garden. Sometimes, her characters must make their case in quarter hours – the time it takes to brew tea, scrub a floor, or walk the dog.
She counts among her favorite books: Kenilworth; The Warden; The Mayor of Casterbridge; All Passion Spent; Jane Eyre; Pride & Prejudice; and, The Witch of Blackbird Pond. And the best short story ever is The Last Leaf by O. Henry. Favorite films include The Red Violin (awesome cinematography); Charlotte Gray (kudos to the director for focusing on the collaborators instead of the Germans); and Aliens (because it’s Ripley breaking her word that triggers all the carnage that follows). A more than honorable mention to Glengarry Glen Ross, The Usual Suspects and Doubt for, of course, the writing. Lesser-known jewels include The Winslow Boy, Shooting The Past, Lark Rise to Candleford and The Duchess of Duke Street.
The not so serious bio: Ariella spent her childhood traveling (through books), washing endless dishes (two older brothers), and talking non-stop to her best friend sister. She got her work permit on her 16th birthday and, by 17, ran the evening cash office at Saks Fifth Avenue. Needless to say, much of her salary was spent in that store.
Her college years at NYC’s Barnard were wonderful; she took 21 credits and was blissfully buried in work. Hebrew. Arabic. Political Science. Instead of crossing the street to Columbia Law, as her classmates were wont to do, she moved to Israel. Her non-heated apartments were brutally cold, her Hebrew inadequate for graduate school, and she worked until midnight (Luz Industries, Intel) to make ends meet. But the Old City of Jerusalem was a walk away and it was Heaven.
She returned to the States for law school, after which she somehow passed the NY & NJ bars during a three-day period that is still a blur. Her NYC law office looked down on 5th Avenue’s Plaza Hotel and afforded a lovely view of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. She watched many a sunrise from those windows as well. She has tried to forget much of what partners screamed at her but one line stands out: A good attorney reads a contract until it’s perfect; a great attorney reads it again. Sage advice for writers, too.
During the last summer Olympics, Ariella was inspired to run out into the garden and prove she was still a gymnast. It wasn’t pretty. While writing the sections of her debut set in an Italian bakery, she had cannoli overnighted from Mike’s Pastry in Boston. Twice. It was tough research, but needs must.
She will never weed her (1 acre) garden to perfection, master the violin as she’d like or memorize all the poetry she should. And there’s no way she’ll ever write all the stories she thinks she will. But you never know with this new career – in for a penny, in for a pound.
Should the novels find their feet, Ariella will put that law degree to good use and set up her own foundations. The first will fund no-kill animal shelters, and the second will provide free Krav Maga training to women and girls.
It would be nice to own Hever Castle, too.
The poetry of Ariella’s 91-year-old mother, Kathryn, appears in the novel. Recipient of the Army-Navy ‘E’ award during WWII, Kathryn worked in a war plant testing radio crystals – the only woman in her plant qualified to do so. A single parent, Kathryn raised four children while teaching kindergarten and 4th grade. She was also a local reporter for The Record, a northern New Jersey newspaper. Kathryn holds a B.A. (with honors) in English Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In her later years, she was a librarian. Kathryn takes pride in the fact that the first vote she cast was for FDR and the latest for Bernie Sanders.