This is a big month for Jessica and me and for our book. The Man Behind the Curtain: A Memoir is officially 1 year old!
And what a year it’s been:
My favorite local bookstore, Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport, New York, hosted our launch party. As I spoke to that room filled with loved ones, including several of my grad school professors who helped me form the earliest drafts of this book, I was overwhelmed with emotion and the surreal realization that We made it. This is really happening!
I wrote about takeaways from that first author event in a guest blog post for New Shelves, gurus of the publishing industry.
We also held author events with three libraries, a book club, and Writers & Books, a fabulous literary arts center in Rochester, New York.
We’ve been grateful to get on the shelves at so many wonderful shops and libraries. I’ve started a #shopsmall list here! If you don’t find us at your local library or book shop, please put us in contact or ask them to order the book through Ingram.
We’ve consistently remained among Amazon’s best sellers in the Teen & Young Adult Nonfiction on Sexual Abuse category, alongside names like Laurie Halse Anderson, Aly Raisman, and Chessy Prout, whom I revere and learned so much from in my research.
I was a guest on the Normal Lies podcast, which “challenges beliefs you thought were true about you and your world.” Host Linda Heeler was so compassionate with her questions and feedback.
I hosted a Zoom conversation called Trauma, Reclamation, & Healing with my friend Katie Baptist, a brilliant social worker, sex therapist, feminist, and fellow writer. We talked about what we’ve learned through our work and took questions from the audience. It was an inspiring conversation about silencing, speaking up, shame, and self-discovery.
Jessica and I were on air with WGNS Radio in Tennessee to talk about the book, the long-term effects of abuse (especially from childhood), tips for healing and for helping, the importance of delving into difficult conversations, and so much more. We’re grateful to host Scott Walker for his thoughtful discussion.
I launched my email newsletter, “Letting the Words Out,” sharing news about author events and other ways to get involved, plus highlights from the blog, my social media, life on the farm, and more. I’m looking forward to sharing some new writing-life updates there soon. You can subscribe here.
I’ve savored the growth of this blog, enjoying the creative outlet and opportunities for connection it provides. I appreciated the full-circle moment of blogging about the book’s publication and readers’ reactions, after having earlier introduced you to Jessica and posting a Q&A with her as we neared publication. This blog has been a part of the journey each step of the way.
Inspired by a friend’s generous suggestion, we launched a book donation campaign, asking you to consider purchasing a copy of The Man Behind the Curtain to donate to a place in your community where a new reader can discover it — a library, little free library, school, community center, nonprofit organization, etc. If you get in touch to let me know you’re interested, I’ll mail you a bookplate sticker to include in your donated copy!
We’ve appreciated powerful reviews from readers. If you’ve read the book (thank you!), please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads as to how it impacted you. We love to hear from our readers, and that word of mouth is immensely helpful in connecting us with more readers!
Throughout all of this, the most amazing part has been the countless inspiring conversations we’ve had with fellow victims and allies. To know that this book is sparking conversation and helping others to feel understood, inspired, and hopeful — that’s exactly what we aimed to do in writing it.
As incredible as this journey has already been, there is so much more to come. It’s exciting to think of this book continuing to find its way into the world and into new readers’ hands.
We’re just getting started.
Many of these opportunities have required continuing to find new ways to challenge myself and step farther outside of my comfort zone. As a debut author and a self-published one to boot, I have to be willing to put myself out there.
But public speaking — the events in person, on Zoom, on the radio, on the podcast — made me nervous beforehand (and a little bit during).
And they left me buzzing with adrenaline and gratitude afterward.
While I’m not typically one to seek out the spotlight, I am one to seek out opportunities to generate discussion around the important (and admittedly difficult) themes our book addresses: abuse, victim shaming, the long-term effects of trauma — and how Jessica’s story is a shining example of the possibilities of rising above it all.
It’s no coincidence that our book’s birthday month is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. While we wish there wasn’t still such a pressing need for these kinds of conversations, we’re honored to be a part of them and help further the cause however we can.
As we work to continue these discussions, Jessica and I humbly ask that you consider your contacts and help us make some new connections.
Who do you know who…
- works with a school, library, bookstore, or nonprofit?
- is part of a book club?
- has a podcast or blog?
- reviews books on Instagram, TikTok, or elsewhere?
- writes for a magazine, journal, newspaper, or website?
- has celebrity connections?
- also speaks about triumph over trauma?
- has some other literary or newsy interest?
We want to chat with them! Please comment here, send me their contact info, or send them mine, and I’ll be grateful to have a conversation about possibilities.
Sincere thanks to all of you who have helped make this year amazing and have helped this book spread its little wings and fly.
Thank you for continuing to help us pull back the curtain.