Launch Celebration

This weekend has been very exciting.   Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy is now on sale, not only at Amazon but also at my local bookstore, Laguna Beach Books This is a wonderful, independent purveyor of books, run by a literate and enthusiastic staff.   They agreed to host my book launch on Sunday and it was an unbelievable afternoon.

My daughter and a dear friend of mine handled all the catering matters—platters of cheese and fruit, cookies and pretzels, and champagne. Another friend of mine stepped in to help serve and take photos.  The bookstore put notices on their web-site, two local newspapers announced the event during the preceding week and published articles about me and the background of Immigrant Soldier.  I extended the publicity through my Facebook page, this blog, and word of mouth.  All of these efforts paid off.   An amazing crowd of people showed up, people were sitting on the library stool and the kindergarten chairs from the children’s department.  Wow! Standing room only.  I even saw some faces that weren’t my friends and associates.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement.  As I mentioned last week, I am not by nature a public speaker.  But I practiced a short talk and prepared to read an excerpt from the book.  The wonderful introduction by Danielle, the bookstore events manager, covered much of what I had planned to say in my talk.  After a moment of panic, I simply began to ad-lib.  It was like speaking to a group of friends in my living room.

Because it was a local crowd, I   read the first part of Chapter 10, “Almost Paradise,” where Herman arrives in Laguna Beach, California, in late December 1939.  As I read about my father and mother, Herman and the town I remembered from my childhood, I felt deep emotion.  Some of the people in the audience had been friends of my parents.  Others were friends of mine since elementary school days.  They nodded and laughed at all the right places as I read about people and locations we all knew.

After the reading, there was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. And the questions poured in.   They asked about the change of format from YA non-fiction to adult historical fiction, about my family Jewish background, and about Camp Ritchie and what the Ritchie Boys did during the war.

It was a very spirited afternoon. The best part was the enthusiastic audience. The brisk sales of Immigrant Soldier were an added bonus.  The store sold 49 copies of the book in just 2 hours!  I hope you enjoy the photos my friend took of the celebration.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *