Since the publication of When We Were Shadows, I feel I have been on a whirlwind journey. Almost 1000 bookmarks have been distributed on buses, in supermarkets, in letters, at launches, on airplanes, in libraries, bookstores, malls and to friends and relatives. Not sure how many books have been sold to this date, but I am hearing of more and more people I don’t know who have the book and want me to sign it. So nice! And adults are reading it for book clubs, and inviting me to their club times.
On May 16 there was a launch in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson’s Books and they served their wonderful hummus. Relatives and friends helped me celebrate the novel. Not only did many of my books sell, but I got my friend’s book that was on the shelf and told my audience about it as well. Some of her books (At This Juncture by Rona Altrows)were also sold!
The dates of my launches were significant dates. The Calgary launch was on my late brother Ben’s birthday. The launch in Winnipeg was my late pen pal’s birthday. The one in Edmonton was my boyfriend’s late mother’s birthday.
Edmonton launch was on June 6 at Audreys (no apostrophe) Books. It was very crowded and people surprised me by attending from out of town. I never got any food because I was too busy signing books but it was a great event. I saw so many friends and cousins. There never seems to be enough time to just visit!
In July I had a Saturday signing at Cafe Books in Canmore. I love the cozy atmosphere of the spot. Many people came in and good conversations ensued. The bookstore was very supportive and had great advertising. While there I bought a necklace that says “I even love the smell of books”. Here are Julie, a friend, and her daughters.
I flew to Saskatoon later in July and then drove to Kamsack SK where I had a reading at the public library, where I used to borrow books, but now in a different location. So many friends attended, and almost everyone bought a book. A highlight of the evening was that my friend Colleen got someone to bake cookies that looked like books and had the title, and my name on the covers! It was a joyous night, and beyond my wildest expectations.
The next day I went to Yorkton SK to do a signing at Coles Books. That was fun as I could call over people who were with their children and hand out bookmarks. I even met the aunt of a former colleague! Small world! This was also where I had my first face-to-face with a Holocaust denier. I was shocked and virtually blocked out everything he was saying. I stared him down until he slunk away. It was unnerving to say the least!
Once home in August I had a signing at Dalhousie Station Indigo on August 4. There were a good number of books sold and signed, and lots of great conversations. My former student and her adorable little boy came by to get their book signed. A fellow White Hatter stopped by. Once again I met nice people.
In October there was supposed to be a signing at Coles in Penticton but it didn’t materialize so my sister-in-law hosted her book club one afternoon and we discussed the book, the process and its effect on people. What a lovely intimate gathering. Thank you Laurie!
Squeezed into the launches, readings, and signings, I continued to market the book on Facebook and twitter and by word of mouth. Shameless is a word that comes to mind. I have found as many reviews as I can and posted them. I send them to my publisher who uses them on their timeline.
This month, October, the novel was short-listed as a finalist for the Red Maple non-fiction award for Forest of Reading in Ontario, sponsored by Ontario Library Association. What an honour! What a surprise! I am hoping to “visit” classrooms over the next months using Skype or Face Time because I can’t get to the actual schools if I live in Calgary. Looking forward to sharing with the readers and telling them about the process of writing and reading and the journey that got me here.
Coming up on Nov. 11 is a talk I am giving at the Signal Hill Library in Calgary for Remembrance Day. It will be about the novel and its telling of the story of one family and how the Resistance helped save lives in Holland.
From Nov. 11 – 18 the novel will be for sale at the Winnipeg Jewish Book Festival. I can’t be there to sit with the novel but will send the organizers bookmarks.
On November 25 I am speaking at the Calgary Jewish Book Festival in Calgary, and will be sitting and signing my book there as well as one night (November 18)at the Jewish Film Festival.
On February 10, I am part of a group of authors at the Vancouver Jewish Book Festival doing an activity called “quickies” where we promote our books within a 3 minute time limit. A couple of days I’ll sit and sign there as well. So drop by if you live in Winnipeg, Calgary or Vancouver!
The Festival of Reading will involve, hopefully, some virtual visits to schools in Ontario, and possibly a workshop done virtually as well. I have a steep learning curve ahead of me to get acquainted with Adobe Connect so I can connect with those students. Every day brings a new surprise and information about the involvement in the program. It will be my life for the next 7 months. Trying to void some days so I can get time to myself for a whole day, uninterrupted. But there are always bookmarks to give away, people who want advice about their writing, coffee conversations to be had and of course, letters to be written. So happy that I have my health and energy to buoy me on this sea of wonder.