There are bar flies and bar stools. Bar fights, bar backs and bar food. However, one local bar owner is hoping there might be room for bar books as well.

Janet Fattal, co-owner of Barney’s Beanery on Third St Promenade has teamed up with television show writer Joyce Gittlin, to publish their first novel, A Narrow Bridge.

Janet and her husband Avi Fattal own the popular bar in Santa Monica. However, owning a local bar was never Fattals’ lifelong dream.

“It is a great business, and Santa Monica is a big part of our flagship,” said Janet Fattal. “Overall the Promenade is just an exciting place to be.”

She grew up reading and writing, and knew some day she would write a novel. She leads many Los Angeles area book groups including locations like the Skirball Cultural Center.

With a Masters degree in Comparative Literature from UCLA, and a career as an educator teaching literature she decided it was time to start writing.
Her manager introduced her to Joyce Gittlin, a writer and television show director of Frasier, and Everybody Loves Raymond. She has also written more than ten features films for Disney, and 20th Century Fox.

The two clicked instantly and became writing partners. Together they formed their new pen name, J.J. Gesher.

They wrote a screenplay together and won multiple awards including the Geller Prize and the Screenwriting Award at the Austin Film Festival. It soon became a movie on a major network. However, the two were not satisfied with how the film turned out and decided to redeem the story by making it a novel.

Ever heard the saying, the book is better than the movie?

Well Fattal and Gittlin set out to make sure the book was better than the movie. They believed the audience deserved an opportunity to really understand each character, and comprehend the theme of novel, resilience and the importance of human connection.

Fattel said, “We began writing the novel in 2013. We really wanted to continue to tell the characters stories while maintaining control of the novel.”

The novel, A Narrow Bridge was published in February of this year and explores the sensitive topics of ethnicity, religion and cultural issues.

Gittlin said the novel is about an Orthodox Jewish man living in Brooklyn and how his life goes to shambles. He finds himself an Alabaman town with a large African American population where he discovers new culture, new friends and a new passion.

“It is an emotional read, and we hope people can get a sense of common ground after reading this book,” said Fattal.

Gittlin believes the book came out at the right time, as the novel shows diversity and human connection. She said it’s timely for the country’s current state of mind.

 

Gittlin and Fattel are both very proud of becoming published authors. They are both mothers, and continue to keep their day jobs while dedicating hours each day to editing and more writing.

The two continue to travel the country speaking to everyone and anyone.

“Since the book, the reviews have been excellent,” said Fattal. “Now we are speaking to groups of 10 and speaking to crowds of 150 people about our book and the journey.”

A Narrow Bridge is sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many independent booksellers.

The two are more than happy to speak to students within the Santa Monica community along with adults. For more information visit http://www.jjgesher.com/

marina@smdp.com

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