Here we go...blogging the book tour! (A warning: this part of the blog will divert from book talk frequently into food and travel territory.)
After an incredible release party at 8th & Union Kitchen in Wilmington, I stayed in Delaware for a week (with a quick sojourn to Richmond, VA for two nights) to meet with three book clubs and speak at a Rotary Club meeting.
The first book club I visited was at a private home, in the beautiful Highlands neighborhood in Wilmington. Quite fittingly, we were only a few blocks from Highlands Elementary School, where I spent grades one to three. Fraulein M. had only been officially released that very day, but everyone there had read it and came with her own enthusiasm and interpretation of the characters' actions and motives. There was one character in particular who sparked a serious debate about civilians' culpability in wartime. I won't reveal who it was for those of you who haven't read the book yet, but it was thrilling to witness my characters not only become real in other people's minds, but also to realize how they will live different lives inside different imaginations.
I did not get a photo of the group, but I did get one of this scrumptious black forest brownie. Our hostess served a traditional German meal: bratwurst, sauerkraut, gherkins, radishes. for dessert we had strudel and these babies:
Here's a similar recipe if you'd like to replicate that gooey goodness.
My next stop was The Summit, a brand-new retirement community in my hometown of Hockessin. I spoke a little and answered questions from a large group of wonderful people, many of whom had memories of their own from WWII to share.
My final stop before heading down to Virginia was my friend and former swim captain (and my brother's former swim coach) rotary club meeting at Harry's Savoy Grill. The group meets for breakfast once a week before work and consists mostly of leaders from the business community. Speaking with them was really interesting, as they had different questions than I'd answered at book club meetings, mostly about the business side of publishing and the process of finding an agent and publisher.
That same day, I took an Amtrak down to Richmond, Virginia. I chose Richmond as a stop on my book tour because I received my bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia, a fact which Cheryl Miller mentioned straight away when she interviewed me on CBS6's Virginia This Morning:
I had expected live TV to be really difficult, but I surprisingly found it much easier than speaking to a group in person. Cheryl Miller was sweet and relaxed--and asked fantastic leading questions that made it really easy for me to speak about the book. Everyone on the set seemed so calm, you'd never have known we were live on the air. It was an awesome experience.
That night I gave a reading and signed books at Chop Suey Books, a hip independent bookstore in Carytown that sells both new and used books. The management and staff there were wonderful and even kept the store open a little late for me when my event ran over. Thank you, Chop Suey!
Far and away, the highlight of my trip to Richmond was getting to see so many friends. My soon-to-be stepbrother lives in Richmond, and he, a friend of my husband's from college, and TEN lovely women from my sorority at UVA (Delta Gamma) came out to support me.
Just look at these smiling faces!
Afterward almost all of us went to The Daily for scrumptious cocktails and organic, local, healthy food. It was one of the best nights I've had in a long time. Thank you so much, girls.
Before I move on to my final stop in Delaware, here are a few more things I did in Virginia. I had a latte and pastry at Can Can Brasserie in Carytown:
And for lunch on the day of the signing, a grilled cheese and tomato soup (which would be my death row meal), at a magical restaurant and bar that specializes in such, Home Sweet Home:
Next to Home Sweet Home, I even found a gift shop specializing in German figurines, so that I could bring a German gift home to my mother as a thank-you for watching my daughter.
I stayed in an Airbnb in Carytown, and I should add that everything I've mentioned except for the CBS station was within walking distance of my room. I highly recommend Carytown in Richmond if you're looking for a walkable, vibrant place to visit.
Finally it was time to head home and meet with my mother's book club in Hockessin. Here's her cozy setup, complete with champagne. Doesn't this just make you want to dive right in and start discussing literature?
For dinner, we made sauerbraten using this recipe, which we served with spaetzle, sauerkraut, pickles, and various German sides brought by members of the book club (such as green beans and beet salad). My soon-to-be stepfather's sister brought an exceptionally fudgy German chocolate cake. On the book club page of my website, I offer a menu centered around schnitzel--which is based on a meal Sonje and Berni share on Unter den Linden--but sauerbraten also makes an appearance in the book. I may add it to the book club page, as it turned out really good and wasn't terribly hard to make.
That about wraps it up for the mid-Atlantic leg of my little book tour. Up next: Cincinnati...