Wendy Brown-Baez Launches Her Book Blog Tour of Catch a Dream

Monday, May 21, 2018
and giveaway!

About the Book

A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?

Print Length: 208 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: BookBaby (April 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1543925561
ISBN-13: 978-1543925562
ISBN: 9781543925579

Catch a Dream is available in print and as an ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound

Book Giveaway Contest

To win a copy of the book Catch a Dream by Wendy Brown-Baez, please enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on May 27th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author

Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone's support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women's retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis, El Colegio High School and Jacob's Well women's retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation
showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students' reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face's writing instructor.

In 2012 she was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve nonprofit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in MN prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.

In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.

You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at:

Website: www.wendybrownbaez.com

Blog: www.wendysmuse.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/wendybrownbaez

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2799802.Wendy_Brown_Baez

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wendybrownbaez.author

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/wendybrownbaez

---- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your book! Tell me about what inspired you to write your book Catch a Dream

WendyI lived and traveled with a group for ten years and during that time I didn’t write at all. I was too busy—we took in the homeless and fed people in the parks, and we were held up to a standard of perfection I wasn’t confident I could meet. Our final destination ended up being Israel. We broke up when we got there. But immediately I bought a blank book because the Holy Land was so incredible. First of all, every step you take you are walking through layers of history, contemporary history on top of ancient history. The Israeli people were dynamic, kind, curious, gossipy, bold, and gorgeous. When I came back to the states, I took a writing class through continuing ed and the story just poured out of me. The endless conflict, wars and the intifada and stories people told me that they once felt safe with their neighbors and no longer do—I had to write it all down to try to understand. Everyone wanted peace but it seemed elusive and impossible.

WOW: That sounds like an incredibly inspiring journey you took. I recently read your blog post about your visit to Jerusalem and am so moved by the experiences you wrote about. How much of what you experienced first hand is in this book?

WendyAbout 50% of the book is true and 50% is made up. The settings and descriptions are all true—the cottage in Ein Hod, the Jerusalem hostel, the couple I worked for as a nanny, the attack on the street, the time we were on the beach and the bomb squad came, camping in the desert, sitting guard duty at my son’s school, the young Israelis I hung out with, and the two men I got involved with. I exaggerated the personalities of the main characters and created most of the conversations but parts are true. Eliane is a composite and the visits with her are invented. We did use show money to get on the boat…my visa did expire and my parents did visit and I did celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. I didn’t write about the time I bought re-ignitable candles for my son’s birthday cake and the cake caught on fire or the time I forgot my change (about $10) and the vendor at the shuk returned it to me. So many many stories!

WOW: Wow, I feel like you could create so many stories based on these experiences! The cake catching on fire sure has my attention (I could see that happening to me!). I was amazed to read you first wrote Catch a Dream as a memoir. What was your process to transform this novel into fiction? Why did you decide to make that change?

Wendy: That was really a surprise and serendipity. I belong to Unity Minneapolis spiritual center and they decided to plan a trip to the Holy Land. This was a reminder to re-visit my story. (I am not going on the trip though….I don’t want to go back as a tourist.) I wrote this story as soon as I got back to the US, and it was hard to grapple with the pacing, because there was so much backstory and I wanted it to be much more simple and straight-forward. I wanted to tell a love story…love that didn’t work out but was the beginning of healing. One day I thought to myself, “What if I changed the story to fiction and changed the names of the main characters?” The names just popped into my head: Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove…and suddenly I could SEE them, they were completely vivid and real to me, not just my memories but these two women setting out on this extraordinary pilgrimage. I could take out all the backstory and everything that wasn’t working and let the focus be Lily’s journey to find herself and I could just make things up, which felt so freeing. It fell into place, but it still required many revisions and feedback and then more revisions. I also noticed that when I asked for beta readers for my memoir, I was having a hard time getting people to follow through but when I said “novel”, people jumped at the chance to read it. That confirmed I was going in the right direction.

WOW: I love when you suddenly see your characters! It transforms the whole story writing experience! So, I was reading in your blog that the revision process was emotional for you. What emotions came about while revising? Do you have any tips for authors as they go through their own emotions while revising?

WendyAll the emotions I felt at the time were just as fresh as the day I left Israel. My heart-break over this amazing impossible country—the constant conflict and the injustices and political mess juxtaposed with the kind, generous people I met. My love for this particular man and why he let me go-- whether or not this was the best thing…it still hurt! The passion felt unresolved, there was no closure. During this time, I started to experiment with being feminine, wearing skirts and sexy underwear…I shaved my legs for the first time in 10 years, due to the young Israeli women hounding me about it because you are always in skirts…and the beauty of the sea and the taste of fruits fresh picked that morning... it was a very sensual experience. And the feeling you are touched by something celestial and holy. I missed all these things. I longed for them.

As Lily says to Levi, “I feel like I am awakening.” That awakening was a blessing and yet painful because disappointment was part of it.

My tips are to make sure you take care of yourself. Do things to uplift your spirit…take a walk, go out to a meal with friends, have a massage, do yoga, hang out at the museum, listen to music, interact with other writers, attend readings or go to a play…do things to ground yourself and get out of your head or out of your own story. I love hanging out with my grandson who likes board games and swimming and going out for hamburgers. Take breaks and write poetry instead. Let yourself weep and journal about everything you are going through. Write letters to people you will never see again to put on your altar or burn. Read your horoscope or watch inspirational webinars. Brag about how excited and terrified you are. Give your work to beta-readers you really trust, who will be truthful and meticulous but kind.

WOW: Your advice is spot on and something I needed to hear myself for sure! Who do you hope reads Catch a Dream and what do you want them to take away from the book?

Wendy: I wanted to raise the question whether it is possible to have peace without forgiveness, whether peace is possible when both sides stick to their version and can’t communicate. I also think that as a pacifist, I was naïve and it was good to witness the reality. People go to Israel on a pilgrimage or vacation and never think about the cost it takes to maintain a Jewish nation, both giving up their children to be soldiers and giving up their sense of mercy to keep the Palestinian people subdued. My intention was to raise questions rather than supply answers.

I also wanted to show how Lily finally stood up for herself when she was attacked. The trauma that happened to her made her afraid of intimacy, she didn’t even know she could get help, but in this defining moment, she saved herself. When we are able to share our stories without shame and to know it is not our fault, this is a big step towards not only individual healing but awareness that we live in cultures where women are bullied and mistreated and beaten and killed. So, there is political bullying and domestic bullying and we can say “That is enough. It has to stop.”

WOW: Your book sounds like an important read and I love hearing about your character saves herself. I can't wait for people to read it! So, did you have to do any additional research for this book? What was your process?

Wendy: I predicted in the book that things will get worse, the Israelis will become hardened. The fence that is really a wall was not part of the daily discussion when I was there. I had to do some research to finish with the reality that the conflict goes on and the hours spent at checkpoints, the access to Palestinian owned orchards and farmland and water have been cut. I have an Israeli friend who says when she goes back, everyone acts as though these things aren’t happening. I attended a very powerful play by a woman who brought the ashes of her father to Israel and she wept on stage over her experience. I googled the wall in Israel and read news articles. But most everything I wrote came from my own personal experience and that is why I can’t speak with any sense of expertise on the conflict.

WOW: That you experienced so much first hand I know will lend to a powerful reading experience. What is next for you? Are you working on anything at the moment? 

Wendy: I have a novel about an elderly woman estranged from her family who invites a young woman to move in with her, the beginning of a multi-generational household. Hannah Lowenstein is Jewish, so still writing on that theme, and she is eventually reconciled with her family. But I also surprised myself with a character out of the blue who meets her true love in Ireland and their child is born with Spina Bifada. I’ve never been to Ireland, I know nothing about Spina Bifada, but read it is prevalent there, so it’s a new adventure and I think I may have to go there!

WOW: I think you should visit there too! I can't wait to read this next book. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat today and I am really looking forward to reading the reviews throughout the tour.

--- Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin
Join us today over at the Muffin when we celebrate the launch of Wendy Baez's book Catch a Dream. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

May 22nd @ Memoir Revolution
Jerry Waxler relates to the main character in To Catch a Dream as if she was a real person. His post reflects on lessons learned in this fertile ground between “memoir” and “fiction-based-on-fact.

May 23rd @ The World Of My Imagination
Come by Nicole's blog The World of My Imagination to check out her thoughts on Wendy Baez' book Catch a Dream.

May 24th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Make sure to stop by Jill Sheet’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez fascinating guest post on conflict and peace. The author answers the question – is peace possible without forgiveness?

May 24th @ Rebecca Whitman's Blog
Come by Rebecca Whitman's Blog to check out Wendy Baez's guest post free spirits and belonging. What if home is not where we come from but where we feel we belong? What are we willing to give up to stay?

May 25th @ Margo Dill's Blog
Visit Margo Dill's blog to check out Wendy Baez's thoughts on motherhood and how we can be a good parent and yet be fulfilled as a woman.

May 26th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Come by Ashley's blog to catch Wendy Baez's thoughts on trauma and healing.

May 27th @ Beverley Baird's Blog
Stop by Beverley Baird's blog to find out her thoughts on Wendy Baez' book "Catch a Dream."

May 27th @ Memoir Revolution
In a second post, Jerry Waxler will share Wendy Baez’s own words about the choices she made to publish her true life story as a fictional novel.

May 29th @ Mari’s #JustJournal! Blog
Come by Mari's #WriteOn! Journaling Blog to find out what Wendy Baezy had to say about journaling and self-reflective writing.

May 30th @ Story Teller Alley
Come by the Story Teller Alley blog to read about how Wendy Baez book "Catch a Dream" came to be in the blog's regular feature on how stories grow.

June 1st @ Words from the Heart
Come by Rev. Linda Naes' blog Words from the Heart to find out what Wendy Baez had to say about loving someone who is not good for us. She answers questions such as "How do we live within contradictions? How do we let go of the hold of a bad relationship?"

June 2nd @ McNellis Writes
Come by Margaret’s blog when she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the subject of travelling in countries during times of unrest.

June 3rd @ Margo Dill's Blog
Check out Margo Dill's blog to find out what she had to say about Wendy Baez's book "Catch a Dream."

June 4th Mommy Daze: Say What??
Come by Ashley's blog to find out she has to say about Wendy Baez' book Catch a Dream.

June 5th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
Come by Madeline Sharples' blog to read Wendy Baez' blog post on writing to heal.

June 7th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Stop by Kathleen Pooler's blog Memoir Writer's Journey to check out Wendy Baez' guest post about writing authentically about difficult and painful topics.

June 8th @ Words from the Heart
Come by Rev. Linda Naes' blog to Words from the Heart to hear her thoughts on Wendy Baez' book "Catch a Dream."

June 14th @ Become Zen Again
Come by Shell’s blog Become Zen Again where she shares her opinions on Wendy Brown-Baez moving book Catch a Dream.

June 18th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Come by Wendi Huskin's blog Strength 4 Spouses to read Wendy Baez' guest post on Writing to Heal.

June 19th @ Bring on Lemons
Come by Crystal's blog Bring on Lemons where she shares her thoughts on Wendy Brown-Baez' book Catch a Dream.

June 22nd @ Strength 4 Spouses
Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the book Catch a Dream. A must read for your upcoming summer vacation!

Keep up with more stops on this tour on Twitter @WOWBlogTour


Enter to win a copy of Catch a Dream by Wendy Brown-Baez! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below by 12am Sunday, May 27th. We will choose a winner the next day. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Angela Mackintosh said...

Wendy, I enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind your book! I think basing it on true people and events and then fictionalizing things makes for a rich reading experience. I've been thinking about turning my memoir pieces into a novel. I think it is more paletable for some readers. Your love for Israel comes through in your interview. I'm looking forward to reading your book! Good luck on your tour!

Wendy Brown-Baez said...

Thank you...fiction gives us permission to make things up which can be freeing when the complicated back story weighs down the writing. Also in response to questions about my character's choices I can say, that was Lily..she is flawed and not at all always right!

Donna Jacoby said...

I'm always looking for a good book and this sounds like one I'd enjoy. Thank you for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. You are amazing in many ways.

Danalee said...

This looks like a great book.

Wendy Brown-Baez said...

Thanks for your comments and I hope you fall in love with Israel, too, despite the current crisis.

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