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2020 – A review of my first year as a published author

In the future, when I think back to 2020, will I remember it more as the year of the pandemic, or the year I became a published author?


The thing about the pandemic is, because absolutely everyone is living through the same thing, there’s no-one to tell about it. I feel like I should be ringing up my friends to say, “On my god, you will never believe what’s happening to me,” but there’s no point because they’re going through it too.


Much better then to remember 2020 as the year I achieved my lifetime ambition of becoming a published author, with a little bit of pandemic thrown in.

I celebrated the start of a new year and, indeed a new decade, by sending final edits for The Young Survivors to my editor. Publication was set for 28 May (as the promotional bookmarks and ARCs clearly stated), which meant a tight schedule.


Then the madness started. In March the UK went into lockdown. Bookshops closed, book fairs were cancelled, literary events moved online. My publisher suggested delaying the launch of my book until late July, by which time things would have improved.


It was a wise decision. By 23 July we were able to hold outdoor socially distanced gatherings; the weather was great and my book launch went ahead in the garden with family and friends, personalised facemasks and blue Prosecco. I was even able to visit Books on the Hill in St Albans and sign copies of The Young Survivors.











Zoom became our portal to the outside world and I was delighted to be hosted by The Wiener Holocaust Library, the AJR, Books on the Hill, the Second Generation Network, Barnet Libraries and more, for promotional book talks. I experienced my first podcasts and Instagram Live. I had a photoshoot for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine (Feb 2021 issue), and features in the Jewish press.


Then the messages started coming from readers who loved The Young Survivors. Some had known my mother, some knew me years ago although most didn’t know me at all but felt compelled to write to me after reading my book. That was, and always will be, amazing.


Having a book published during 2020 has been a godsend. It’s kept me busy and given me positives to focus on. A mention too for the 2020 debut authors group, an incredibly supportive online community where successes can be celebrated, frustrations can be vented and lots of fabulous books can be read.


And so, 2020 draws to a close, but not before my last speaking event of the year at Limmud. My diary for 2021 is already filling up with some exciting events including the Oxford Holocaust Memorial Lecture series in January.


I wish everyone a safe festive season and a happy start to 2021.


Debra


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