Last weekend, I attended my 20th college reunion. I brought promotional postcards with me (although I hadn’t had the foresight–or chutzpah–of a fellow classmate-author who’d somehow managed to get postcards of her book inserted into every attendee’s registration packet).
And friends old and new expressed genuine interest in my short-story collection, Quiet Americans. One friend whipped out his iPhone on the spot and immediately purchased a copy from Amazon.com. Another ordered a signed copy via my website almost as soon as she got home. Classmates who’d already read the book praised it to others. All of this meant so much to me.
I was also quite moved to learn from two other classmates, in separate exchanges, that they, too, are grandchildren of refugees from Nazi Europe. I wonder how many other such grandchildren may be among the 1600 of us in the Class of ’91. I may have to pose this question on the class Facebook page….
In other news: While I was away, my friend Anne Fernald posted thoughts about Quiet Americans on her blog (which has been part of my blogroll as long as I’ve had a blogroll). And she had lots of complimentary things to say. But she also shared some reservations, specifically about the way she perceived two of the stories dealing with “political” issues. I value honesty, so I appreciate all of Anne’s analysis–even the criticisms (not that I necessarily agree with them, of course…;-)).
And right after I returned from the reunion, Fiction Writers Review published a wonderfully generous (and, as always, gorgeously designed) feature. The teaser: “In conversation with Anne Stameshkin, debut author Erika Dreifus shares true stories that inspired her collection, Quiet Americans; wonders when it’s kosher for authors to write characters from backgrounds they don’t share; explores how reviewing books makes us better fiction writers; and recommends favorite novels and collections by 21st-century Jewish authors.” The interview: here.
Finally, this week brought us the beginning of June, and with it, the latest issue of Shelf Unbound. Click here to peruse the issue, which features a Q&A about Quiet Americans and an excerpt–a full story–from the book. (I’m not going to reveal which story. I’ll let you be surprised!)