Book Launch & Beyond

Snapshots from my book tour and the reviews, publicity, and media that have followed.

A New Life for We Were the Lucky Ones

So I’ve got some big news. I’ll get right to it, and promise to fill you in on summer book happenings soon–but this news, IMHO, takes the cake: Thomas Kail, dear friend and director extraordinaire, has optioned We Were the Lucky Ones for the screen!! His production company, Old 320 Sycamore, aims to adapt the story into a limited series for television. It’s been a day since the news went live, and yet here I am, still reeling as I write this.

In the last year and a half, people have often asked whether We Were the Lucky Ones has been optioned for TV or film. Until now, it’s been somewhat of a relief to say no, not yet. I love that my family’s story has found its way into the hearts of so many readers, but the idea of it landing in the wrong producer’s hands has felt terrifying. What if the story is exploited? What if it’s taken it in a direction I’m not comfortable with?

Then Tommy called.

I’ve known Tommy, a childhood friend of my husband Robert’s, for 20 years. From his hip-hop workshop in a church basement to the off-Broadway and then Broadway productions of In the Heights and Hamilton, Robert and I have seen everything Tommy has directed (both on stage and on screen). With each show, we’re bowled over by his ability to bring plot and characters to life in a way that feels utterly authentic and relatable–no matter the subject, or the era.

So when Tommy brought up the possibility of adapting my book, suddenly the idea of We Were the Lucky Ones coming to life on a screen, under his direction, felt right. Not just right, but goosebumps-head-to-toe-thrilling! And now it’s official. I know there’s a long road ahead (finding the perfect screenwriter is the first step, I’m told), but I have the dizzying sensation that this could be the start of something big. Something wonderful.

I couldn’t be more excited to share this news with you all–especially with those who have been along for the ride since the very beginning, when I set off for my first interview (in 2008!) with no real sense of what lay ahead, just the belief that unearthing and recording my family’s history was something I needed to do.

Thank you all for sticking with me, especially my family, for the outpouring of love and support over the many (many!) years. Thank you to my father, for telling me over and over again that We Were the Lucky Ones deserved a second life on the screen–he adored Tommy and I can’t stop thinking about how very proud this would make him! Thanks to my mother, my wing-woman since Day 1 on this project, and to Robert for the never-ending encouragement. Thank you to my editor Sarah Stein and my agent Brettne Bloom for the TLC that went into ushering We Were the Lucky Ones into the world, to Michelle Weiner at CAA, to Shannon Twomey and the team at Penguin, and to Kate Sullivan at Old 320 Sycamore for the help catalyzing this next endeavor.

And thank you, Tommy, for believing in this story as much as I do. What an honor it will be, to see your signature touch on something that means so very much to me.

9 Down, 1 to Go: Highlights from the Book Tour

It’s been six weeks since the launch of We Were the Lucky Ones—a milestone made all the more monumental by the photos that flooded my inbox in the days that followed—photos of friends with the book in their laps at the beach, on an airplane, at home cozied up on the couch; photos of the U.K. edition spotted at Waterstones in London and at the Edinburgh Airport, and of the U.S. edition perched on bookstore, train station, and airport kiosk shelves across the country.

In conversation with dear friend and uber talented theater director Tommy Kail @ Barnes & Noble, Upper West Side

Today, these images evoke the same surreal, spine-tingling sensation as the memory of sitting on a Barnes & Noble stage with my pal Tommy Kail, talking shop for the first time as a two-day-old published author to a standing-room only group of some 75 of my closest friends and family, among them 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Kurc survivors from as far away as Brazil, France, California, Miami, and Chicago.

I’ll never forget that Manhattan launch event, or the others that followed at libraries, bookstores, and auditoriums throughout Connecticut and as far north as Boston, MA, including a stop in Providence, RI, where I snuck in a visit with the 8th-graders at my alma mater, The Gordon School.

For those who live in the NY/CT area, I hope you can join me for a final reading, hosted by the Chappaqua Public Library, on Tuesday, April 4th at 7pm. And if you’re near a radio or a computer tomorrow (Thursday, the 30th), tune in to WGCH between 11am and 12pm for my interview with Kim Berns, broadcast live from Greenwich, CT!

This project began nine years ago, with the simple goal of researching my family history—a survival story that, once unearthed, felt too remarkable to be left untold. It was a story I knew I needed to record, but I had no idea what kind of response it would ignite. I wasn’t prepared for the praise and the media the book would attract, or for the reviews that would bring tears to my eyes on Amazon and goodreads, or for the heartfelt notes I continue to receive, more often than not from total strangers, who have reached out personally by email or facebook to tell me what reading We Were the Lucky Ones has meant to them.

To the family, friends, bloggers, reviewers, readers, and fellow survivors (and children and grandchildren of) who have taken the time to share your connection to my story, I am beyond grateful for the feedback—thank you.

A post-launch family reunion at my home in Connecticut with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Kurcs from Europe, South America & the States

An intimate reading at the one and only RJ Julia Independent Bookseller in Madison, CT

After a talk at the Darien Public Library, there was a waitlist for WWTLO—what an honor to see the book being promoted next to these two award-winning titles!

Loved being surrounded by good friends for a special evening at the Rowayton Public Library

My talk at the Fairfield University Bookstore, where I received an incredibly warm welcome by staff and attendees

A sold out event hosted by the Miriam Hospital Women’s Association in Providence, RI—lots of familiar faces, including that of my high school English teacher, whose “I-Search” assignment was a catalyst behind the book

It was a treat to reunite with some of my oldest friends in Boston’s cherished Brookline Booksmith

I felt pretty cool signing the “Wall of Fame” at the Avon Free Public Library

One of the highlights of my tour was speaking with an engaged and curious group of 8th graders at my alma mater, The Gordon School

My CT girlfriends threw me a book launch party at a favorite local bar—it felt like the whole town came out to celebrate!

The Sweetest Valentine

WWTLO in Waterstones (UK) – thank you, Kate, for the photo!

It’s official. “Pub Day” as they call it here in the States, has arrived. We Were the Lucky Ones has landed in bookstores (and on Kindle & Audible) across the U.S. and in the U.K., and might have even landed on your doorstep (as it did mine just a few minutes ago!), if you pre-ordered a copy. While I thought I was ready for this moment—it’s only been nine years in the making—nothing, truly, could have prepared me for the tremendous outpouring of love and support I’ve received today.

This morning, I told myself to find ways to pass the day slowly, mindfully. I stopped by an art supply store to pick out the perfect pen for book signings (talk about surreal!). I met my mother for a celebratory lunch. I visited my local independent bookstore to see with my own eyes my novel, perched on a shelf. In a few hours, I’ll head to dinner with my family and we’ll raise a glass to the Kurcs, and to all that’s gone into unearthing and recording their story. It’s been a day, as my grandfather would have mused, for the books.

WWTLO sharing the shelf with some spectacular company at Barrett Bookstore

To the friends whose calls and texts and emails I can barely keep up with…to the brilliant teams at Viking, The Book Group, Allison & Busby, and The Jenny Meyer Literary Agency who have worked tirelessly to shepherd this book into the world…to the authors, bloggers, and media who have put out mind-blowing reviews, interviews, and Q&A’s (most recently, Tara Leigh, Sarah’s Book Shelves, Reading with Robin, and Newsweek magazine)…and to my family: my parents, Tom and Isabelle, my husband Robert, and my son Wyatt…and to the relatives near and far who I’ve relied upon in countless ways throughout the life of this project—thank you for all that you’ve done to help bring this labor of love to fruition.

On Thursday night, I’ll kick off my book tour at Barnes & Noble in New York City, where I’ll share the stage with my good pal Tommy Kail (director of Hamilton)—and I’ll have the honor of doing so with the support of some 75 friends and relatives in the audience. With family flying in from Brazil, France, Oakland, Chicago, Miami, and Virginia (of my grandfather’s five siblings, four will be represented by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren), and with friends in from as far away as Vancouver, BC, it will certainly be a night to remember. To everyone who will be there—I couldn’t be more excited to share such a special evening with you.

I’ll be in touch with details on upcoming events and readings. In the meantime I’ll sign off by wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day. I personally can’t think of a sweeter, more meaningful gift this Valentine’s than to know that my family’s story—a story of courage, perseverance and love—is out, finally, for the world to read.

A Book Tour and a Brand New Author Website

Believe it or not, in less than two weeks, We Were the Lucky Ones will be out for the world to read. To the family and friends who have cheered wholeheartedly (and waited patiently) throughout this near-decade-long journey, and to the teams at The Book Group and at Viking that have offered immeasurable support and guidance along the road to publication – thank you — my story would never be what it is today if it weren’t for all of you!

I couldn’t be more excited to announce the dates of my book tour, which will kick off at Barnes & Noble in Manhattan on February 16th with a discussion between me and my good friend Tommy Kail, director of the Tony Award-winning musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. More details to come about that, and in the meantime, feel free to visit my events page or scroll down for a detailed schedule of readings. As you can see, February and March are going to be jam-packed with book-related happenings! All are free and open to the public. I hope you can join me somewhere along the way.

I’m also thrilled to share my brand new site,, which will take the place of my old one. Thank you to Adrian Kinloch for the creative design!

Please feel free to follow me as well on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and on Goodreads to stay up to date on everything from my latest events and reviews to sneak peeks into the book and the research it’s entailed.

It’s official. The countdown is on. T minus 11 days!


P.S. If you’d like to order a copy of the book, you can do so here – it should arrive on February 14th. (I’ve just ordered one, too, for the simple, surreal joy of finding it on my doorstep on Valentine’s Day.) To those who have already pre-ordered, thank you, thank you, thank you – I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

Readings, Conversations & Signings:

New York, NY
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway (at 82nd Street)
With Tony-award winning film and theater director Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”)

Madison, CT
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 2:00 pm
RJ Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road

Darien, CT
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 7:00 pm
Darien Library, 1441 Post Road

Rowayton, CT
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Time TBD
Rowayton Public Library, 33 Highland Avenue

Fairfield, CT
Monday, February 27, 2017, 7:00 pm
Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road

Boston, MA
Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 7:00 pm
Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline

Avon, CT
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 2:00 pm
Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road

Providence, RI
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 6:30 pm
Sopkin Auditorium, The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Avenue

Chappaqua, NY
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 7:00 pm
Chappaqua Public Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue


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We Were the Lucky Ones