San Francisco and all points beyond
I came. I saw. I succeeded—in selling or donating 100 copies of Sister of Silence while I was in California. Using Oakland as home base, I traveled east to San Ramon, Livermore and then over the Altamont Pass to Tracy. Then I headed south to San Jose, where I slowly made my way to points north and west, stopping in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Stanford, Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, and San Francisco. Crossing the Bay Bridge at least six times in three days, I supplied books to hospital medical staffers who see domestic violence injuries, pregnant moms, single women, mothers with children in tow, and just about everyone in between.
By and large, the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. One woman even asked if it was nonfiction. (Yes.) Great, I need something to read. Is it about your life? (Yes.) Even better, she said as she loaded children and groceries into her trunk. (Not to worry—the children went into the backseat.)
Aside from seeing the looks of pure joy and appreciation on the faces of every person who walked away with a book, I would have to say that the highlight of the trip came at Elaine’s house Sunday evening. Well, to be honest, there were so many highlights that it’s hard to name them all, but I will try.
Elaine belongs to two Bay Area book clubs, and has her very own virtual book club besides. Suffice to say she reads. A lot. So do her friends. But sometimes, being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new and old titles available to them, these women have trouble figuring out which books to read.
That’s where the book club members (I think I’ll just cut to the chase and call them what they are: bookworms!) come in handy. They provide feedback about their latest reading projects, and that feedback ultimately helps other women decide what they want to read. (Or avoid.)
Lately, Sister of Silence has been at or near the top of their list. This is what I took away from these incredibly vocal, intellectually stimulating women. (I might need a hyphen in there, but I’m too tired to check and I gave my personal assistant the night off. )
They absolutely loved, loved, loved the book! One woman said she cried while reading the passage about my near miss, when I almost did a Susan Smith. (Substitute the name of any recent mother in the headlines for killing her children here. We’ve had a rash of them as of late.) I don’t think anyone was able to put it down for long, before returning to pick it back up again.
One woman is a high school librarian; she purchased two for the school’s library. We talked at length about adults who prey on children, and how society does not want to see it, a lot of times. We also talked about parents and other people who do see it—but who are too closed off emotionally that they can’t even bring it up in conversation. There was also discussion about how—thanks to both points, above—this problem repeats itself, generation after generation. I heard other women’s stories, which is an honor I really enjoy. When someone trusts you enough they will tell you their darkest secret, that’s incredible.
My favorite part of the evening came when we talked about helping other survivors (who are still masquerading as victims), especially when they are still trapped, and not yet ready to save themselves. It was amazing to see how passionate these women were, how devoted to their friends or other loved ones, and the lengths to which they will go, to try and help their loved one wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak.
Or, on the opposite side, the lengths to which they will remain quiet and just wait, saying nothing, because saying something would close the door to vital communication, and leave the victim without a lifeline at all.
I got lots of questions, about all of the topics in my book, and I was able to share what I think must be Ken Lanning’s favorite line: “Don’t trust anybody who wants to spend more time with your children than you do.” That has to be the key to stopping much of the child abuse that occurs.
Because they wanted to know about some things I had to cut from the book, I revealed the actual writing (and revision) process that occurred. It’s too long to mention now, but suffice to say that Sister of Silence would have been about 700 pages, had I not cut out about half of the content. Does anyone read a book that long these days? Don’t answer if you’re a Harry Potter fan. Better question: who can afford to print a book that long these days? (Well, other than J.K. Rowling.)
Oh my goodness, there was so much more. Too much to go into now, when it’s already past my self-imposed bedtime, when I have been running, running, running, the entire day. When tomorrow beckons with more of the same.
So gentle reader, if you don’t mind to wait for the next post, which will have more good news and contain details about the success of the California trip, I’d be most grateful. Thank you for tuning in!
Editor’s note: If you have a book club and need a good title to read, then Sister of Silence may just be the book for you!