Lunch With a Girlfriend Led to Next Year in Jerusalem! Romance, Mystery and Spiritual Awakenings, Part 1

Name: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

 Name of Book: Next Year in Jerusalem! Romance, Mystery & Spiritual Awakenings! Part 1

Next Year in Jerusalem

One warm, sunny summer’s day Susan and I were having lunch together in a lovely cafe.  We laughed and chatted our way through tunafish sandwiches and iced coffee.  As we covered just about all the subjects girlfriends cover-that is husbands, children, grandchildren, our work situations, vacation plans, etc. we found ourselves coming back again and again to a situation we couldn’t change.   A beloved teacher of ours had left and we were missing her terribly.  Obviously we were no longer in school.  But for years we had studied Judiac Studies with this special woman.  Both of us had been raised with little formal religious education and both of us had hungered to know more.   It was a miracle that we found our teacher.  In fact, although Susan and I had known each other for years, it was through meeting with our teacher that we finally took the time to get to know each other and become very close friends.  There was still so much we both wanted to study.  So many questions to still ask!  And now she was gone, as if by magic.  It was almost as if she had never existed.  Had we imagined her?  Of course not.  But what a wonderful story it would be to imagine a special teacher who made every student feel loved and special, who remained kind of a mystery woman herself and then disappeared!

Suddenly, we were all excited.  I grabbed a napkin from the table and started to write on it.  We imagined that we went off to Jerusalem and met this special woman who began to teach us so much.  But wait, we are talking about two woman characters, not really ourselves.  That makes it even more fun.  Let’s make the characters younger than we are.  Late 40’s feel fine.  I decided to represent Natalie, Susan represented Maggie.  Soon we had a mystery developing around the teacher that Natalie and Maggie found.  Strange things were going on.  She was wonderful, but things were not quite as they seemed.  What was wrong?  Was she in trouble? The plot thickened.

One napkin grew into many napkins.  We couldn’t stop ourselves. The entire time we could see every bit of the plot as if it was already a movie.  Everything was so vivid.  There they were at the Western Wall in Jerusalem!  Now they were visiting the mystery woman at the school where she told them they could find her.  Now something strange was happening!

Obviously, I can’t give the plot away.  Let me just say that we worked for two hours and the basic plot that we developed will ultimately run about 700 pages at least.  That is why I have begun by publishing Part 1.  Also, many aspects of the plot later emerged when we went home and wrote and chatted back and forth with each other.  For one thing, the book took on a much more romantic cast than when we originally brainstormed.  Also, mysterious aspects that suggested terrorism and other sinister aspects of life began to birth themselves. I quickly took responsiblity to write the book.

Being an author already and aware of character development I quickly saw that a quest for spiritual knowledge is great, but not enough in a novel.  The characters needed intense love interests also.  That wasn’t a problem.  Soon Natalie was eager to be in touch with an old boyfriend.  I should say eager, yet conflicted.  Maggie was eager to date after a recent divorce.  The question really was would she be ready to handle the complications of perhaps two men in her life at the same time?

So, as you can see, a pleasant lunch in a cafe on a summer’s day led to a cliff hanger series of romantic, mystery novels that reach spiritual highs and sinister lows.


About Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Dr. Barbara Holstein

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing.  “A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving.”

Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at


Her previous books include:

  • THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy
  • Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
  • The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
  • Seven Gateways to Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self.



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