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An afternoon with Shelly Reuben–The Man with the Glass Heart

Bay Ridge author Shelly Reuben was at the Book Mark Shoppe on Saturday, February 9, giving a talk and signing copies of her latest book, The Man with the Glass Heart, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Reuben, who is a fire investigator by trade, explained that she decided to write the book over 30 years ago, before she was married. At the time, she was working for a “gazillionaire” and her only responsibilities were collecting coins from washers and dryers, and ordering lobsters once a week.

During her free time, Reuben worked with dummy books and wrote “The Man with the Glass Heart” in long hand. Surprisingly, the cover of the book looks almost exactly like the sketch she drew decades ago.

Reuben talked about the publishing process and how the cover evolved, with about five different versions, over the course of a month.

“It was a labor of love,” she said.

Although she does not like the “idea of being self-published,” Reuben was contacted by BookBaby.com, which offered to make The Man with the Glass Heart into an e-book. The rest is history.

Reuben explained that the fable tells the story of a man who goes up into the mountains, pushing a wheelbarrow with a giant glass heart in it. In order to protect the heart, he only uses clear roads. That’s until the man meets a road gypsy named Panache, who “couldn’t believe that he was only going where there was no risk. Next thing you know, he is following her into the woods and they are having adventures together,” Reuben said.

The moral of the story is all about validation, Reuben explained, adding that the inspiration for her book was, “Some guy must have dumped me!

“I was at a point in my life when everything that could happen to me, had already happened to me and I voted for life,” she said. “I decided to write because I wanted to spend the rest of my life reading and having adventures. To me, writing is all imagination.”

About a dozen Ridgeites braved post-storm weather to attend the talk at the Book Mark Shoppe, which included Valentine’s Day candy, donuts, tea and coffee.

One of those was Mary Heaney, whose late mother used to own the previous store at the location: A Novel Idea. She also used to work for Reuben when she was younger, typing up her manuscripts.

“I am thrilled for Shelly and that a book store is still here. I feel close to my mom,” Heaney said.

“It’s great to be back,” Reuben said.

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