Chuck Weinblatt discusses Jacob's Courage

Charles S. Weinblatt was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1952. He is a retired University of Toledo administrator. Weinblatt is the author of Jacob's Courage and Job Seeking Skills for Students. His biography appears in the Marquis Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Education. Weinblatt was a frequent Toledo television news guest, providing business, economic and labor-management insight. He received the 2004 Douglas Frasier Swift Award

Weinblatt writes novels, short stories and articles. He lives in Ohio.

Chuck, what books came along at just the right time to influence your reading/writing?

The Source, by James Michener; novels by Herman Wouk, including The Winds of War & War & Remembrance; Night & The Oath, by Wiesel; Holocaust, by Dwork & Van Pelt.

Please give us a short synopsis of your new book.

How would you feel if, at age seventeen, the government removed you from school, evicted you from your home, looted your bank account and took all of your family's possessions, prevented your parents from working and then deported you and your loved ones to a prison camp run by brutal taskmasters? How would you feel if you suddenly lost contact with everyone that you know and love? How would you feel if you were sent to the most frightening place in the history of humankind, and then forced to perform unspeakable acts of horror in order to remain alive?

Jacob's Courage is a tender coming of age love story of two young adults living in Salzburg at the time when the Nazi war machine enters Austria. This historical novel presents scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It explores the dazzling beauty of passionate love and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are murdered. From despair, to unforgettable moments of chaste beauty, Jacob's Courage examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality.

How has your writing progressed since your first book? Has it changed you? If so, how?

My first published book was Job Seeking Skills for Students (Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 1986). Job Seeking Skills for Students was a recitation of my course as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. It required little research, editing or graphic design. This was a simple effort of recitation and being published by a traditional publishing company was icing on the cake.

Jacob’s Courage was entirely different. This became a full-length (524-page) epic novel, based in part upon the pogroms experienced by my mother in early 20th-Century Russia. I placed fictitious characters into real-life events during the Holocaust. While researching for Jacob’s Courage, I discovered that almost two generations of my maternal extended family perished at the hands of Nazi Germany and their proctors (the Einsatzgruppen).

I had to master effective and moving dialog, with accurate references to historical events, surrounded by the horror of massive genocide. I had to engage the reader with effective character development. The circumstances surrounding this terror must be accepted with a constantly credible reference. I wanted to create average people (young lovers) who became immersed within the most horrific circumstances imagined. This was an entirely new and massive challenge. I had to describe the most utterly beautiful moments in the human experience, along with the most terrifying moments. This was a monumental test. My readers must walk into the most frightening moments possible and then into consummate passion and the beauty of devotion. They were forced into slavery by Nazi Germany, but their minds remained free. Sometimes, ordinary people can perform extraordinary acts. We know that there were young Jewish couples who escaped from Nazi concentration camps and fought with the local partisans. This is the story of one such couple. This is the victory of a few over pure evil.

I think I’ve developed as a writer because of the experience. Perhaps I am now a more comprehensive storyteller. Maybe I try to write with greater reference to the perspective of the viewer. That, ultimately, is the fate of all writers.

When do you accomplish your best writing?

I’m not at all a morning person. I write primarily in the afternoon. Sometimes, if I’m on a roll, I continue into the evening. Very rarely will I write at night. I don’t force myself to write. Instead, I try to recognize my formidable moments and push on.

Is there another book on the horizon?

I finished a children’s book in November. And, I’m nearly done with a science fiction novel (my favorite genre). I am thinking about a sequel to Jacob’s Courage, which would take place in the nascent State of Israel, or another Holocaust book. I’m always writing something. Hopefully, we’ll see some new published works soon.

After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind? I write in a large family room with a cathedral ceiling, large skylight and a wall of windows facing a beautiful wooded ravine; all from a house perched on the edge of a cliff. I see all manner of flora and fauna regularly. Ironically, my writing environment seems to defuse the tension. I only occasionally notice the passage of time.

Where can we purchase these books and get more information about you?

Mazo Publishers:


Barnes & Noble: