Writing may be a solitary occupation, but the launch of a new book is anything but – especially for a lesser known author promoting her first paperback.
Danielle Graham has published a number of youth novels online, but All We Left Behind was the Steveston author’s first historical novel published by the renowned publishing house HarperCollins.
As part of the launch, in-person book signings, school visits and library readings were lined up to take place around the Lower Mainland and on the Island to coincide with Tuesday’s release.
And then came COVID-19.
“The timing of the release landing during a pandemic is both unfortunate and serendipitous at the same time,” said Graham, whose day job is that of a family therapist.
The book will still go on sale as scheduled and she’s happy to know it will still be sold at Costco for the months of May and June, but all the promotional gigs, which account for a large part of an author’s income, have been axed.
But artists are nothing if not creative and Aldcorn has been inspired by the ways in which artists and authors are finding ways to share their content through live streams, one-person concerts from their homes, drive-by window-art galleries or online story times.
For her part, Graham is hoping readers will think about contributing their own book reviews on book retailer sites, and she’s looking for opportunities to visit a virtual classroom. Meanwhile, Graham found it “fascinating” to draw the link between the pandemic, and some of the emotions people are going through, and what earlier generations would have gone through during times of war.
All We Left Behind came from two personal inspirations. One was of her grandfather, William Aldcorn, who was a Canadian spitfire pilot who was shot down during the Second World War.
The other was her nephews’ 98-year-old great-grandfather, Ted Tadayuki Kadohama, who was interned during the same war.
“Maybe another war like WWII would never happen again, but tragedies that strike and impact the entire world can and do happen – we are living through an example of that right now with the pandemic,” said Graham.
“Maybe the experience of self-isolating is a reminder to return to a greater appreciation of what is truly important, to reconnect with our compassion, to re-harmonize through the rhythm of quiet creativity, to heal ourselves and the planet, and to ultimately make the world a better place.”