May 28, 2009

My Guest Blog on Jungle Writers Red

Check out my guest blog on Jungle Red Writers:

Special thanks to Hank Phillippi Ryan for inviting me to blog!

May 22, 2009

A special person attended my reading--help me find her!

Last night I did a reading at Porter Square Books. An older woman arrived early and sat in the back row. I just had this feeling from seeing her that she had a personal connection to either the St. Louis or the Holocaust.

After the reading she came up and spoke to me. Yes, she and her husband, who just recently passed away, both survived the camps. She was understandably very emotional about my book and I was so grateful to meet her.

I only wish I had gotten her name so I could get back in touch with her. She said how painful it is for her to relive the memories of the Holocaust and she didn't get a copy of my book, I think for the very reason that it would be too hard for her to read the whole thing and relive that time period. That said, I would very much like to give her a copy of my book--I understand if she can't read it but I would just like her to have it. Perhaps she would share it with her daughter, who lives in West Newton.

So this is what I know about her: she lives in Cambridge and her daughter lives in West Newton (on Highland Ave.). If by any chance anyone who reads this knows who she might be or has her contact info, I would love to have it so I can get back in touch with her.

May 14, 2009

Upcoming Events!

I have a few events scheduled for the upcoming weeks...

--I'll be appearing on "The Jewish Perspective" on WHDH/Channel 7, the Boston NBC Affiliate on May 17 at 6 a.m. I'm the last segment on the half-hour show.

--I'm doing a reading/signing along with my friend and fellow YA author, Pat Lowery Collins, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. on Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m.

--I'm doing a reading/signing at Newtonville Books in Newton, Mass. on Saturday, June 6 at 2 p.m.

--I'm doing a reading/signing at the Wellesley Booksmith in Wellesley, Mass. on Saturday, June 13 at 2 p.m.

May 13, 2009

70th Anniversary of Departure of St. Louis

It's May 13, 2009. Exactly 70 years ago today over 900 people were readying to board the MS St. Louis. They were leaving their homes, their lives, often their families... all with the hope of gaining freedom. Sadly, many of those passengers' freedom was short-lived.

Today THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE is available in bookstores. I hope it encourages more people, especially younger generations, to learn about the St. Louis. Today I personally am thinking about how lucky I am to have always had a safe and free life. So many others today still are struggling against tyranny, racism, and violence.

I received a very nice phone message yesterday from the Karliners, saying they had received the copies of the book I sent them and how happy they were with the final product. Herbert Karliner was one of the passengers on the St. Louis who eventually did gain freedom and a new life. Much of his family did not.

I also received a very nice email from Anthony Blechner, son of Oskar Blechner, another passenger of the St. Louis, who sadly is no longer with us. Anthony has alerted me to another website that deals specifically with Oskar's story. Please check it out to learn more:

May 11, 2009

It takes a village!

It's two days before THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE officially comes out and I just wanted to take a moment to let people in on the little "secret" of how many people have helped me with this book along the way.  I recognize a lot of them in my acknowledgements page in the actual book, from my writing group (Lynne Heitman, Mike Wiecek, Samantha Cameron) to my writing partner, Cara Crandall, my babysitter, Maggie O'Brien, and the many experts I interviewed including my "chess angel" Luke Calhoun and Herbert Karliner, who so kindly shared his memories of being on the St. Louis.  Of course there's also my family--specifically my parents, my grandparents, and husband.  And everyone at Knopf, including my amazing editor, Nancy Hinkel.

All those people have helped along the way during the writing of the book and more recently I've also had amazing assistance from even more friends.  I feel so lucky that I have an army of friends who are willing to share their talents with me in order to help my career.  My good friend Caranine Smith designed my entire website and I think it's awesome!  My neighbor, Ken Bernstein, took the photographs of me that appear on the website.  And Lynne Heitman came with me recently to a talk I gave at the Maimonides School and videotaped it.  I have since edited the video and posted it on youtube so people can get a slice of the program I offer schools about the St. Louis and my book.

I couldn't have done all this without you all--thank you!!