Book Club Questions for the Author of Ravenscraig

Book Club questionsOne of the greatest pleasures of being a writer is the chance to meet with readers who want to talk about the story you invented.

I am fortunate to be  invited both in person and on Skype to talk with book clubs, service organizations, synagogues and history buffs about the story and to give presentations on the research I did to create Ravenscraig.

It is just a lot of fun to talk with readers who become deeply involved in the story.

The following questions came to me from a book club in Florida.  I couldn’t attend this event due to an ill-timed appendectomy and wrote out the answers to these questions while I was recovering.

Here then, is a little background on the writing of Ravenscraig.  Please do write to me if you have any other questions!

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Why did you decide to title your novel Ravenscraig? What other options did you consider? 

Finding the title was challenging. My first working title was the incredibly bland Willows on the Crescent.  After that there were a number of titles that related to the Titanic.  Finally I settled on Ravenscraig because it was the name of Rupert’s home (Rupert Willows is the lead character) and because it just seemed to work better than any of the other titles I had on my list.

Ravenscraig Hall (a fictional home) is located in the real neighbourhood of Armstrong’s Point which has a charming history and truly remains a sought-after residential neighbourhood to this day.  On the location that I placed Ravenscraig Hall there originally sat a mammoth home known as Bannatyne’s Castle.  How unfortunate that only the gates of that home are still in existence today.  I took the name Ravenscraig from Ravenscraig Castle in Scotland, which is big, ugly and was among the first built to withstand cannon fire.  Once I tripped across that, I knew it was perfect for the mansion.  Coming to the conclusion that it was the right name for the book took much longer.

Naming characters was a similar problem.  I learned all of the baby name sites on the net in my search for names that I felt would be most appropriate. I also did extensive searching through archival materials from Ellis Island, the Canadian Census reports of 1901 and 1911, the Jewish Genealogy website and City of Winnipeg archives.

What is your greatest pleasure – researching the historical underpinnings of the plot or creating the characters and dialog to communicate the historical elements?

I love the research.  The idea of writing a novel first came from stumbling across a great story about the scandals involved in building the Manitoba Legislative building a century ago.  Great story.  The more I learned the further back I needed to go.  What I learned about the conflicts between rich and poor, and English and everyone foreign during the height of the immigration boom (1896-1914) became so interesting that the focus of my story naturally shifted to the stories of that time.

There was such extreme poverty and so little political will to do anything about it that it just seemed unbelievable.  I read stories of 40 or more people living in boarding houses of 800 sq ft or less and thought it impossible that this had happened. Moreover it made me wonder that if it indeed had happened, how had I never heard of that before?  The 1911 census is an amazing document that lays out the truth.  Then, knowing the extent the overcrowding existed set a different colour to the many essays and memoires that I had read and new materials that I sought out.  What I had seen as perhaps exaggerated through a nostalgic memory suddenly came into focus as an undertold story of suffering. I wanted to bring that story to life.

This led to learning about the Typhoid epidemic in 1904-1905 when Winnipeg had the highest rate of typhoid per capita in the western world.  I first learned of it in a book by Dr. Alan Artibise, titled: A Social History of Winnipeg, 1874-1914.  There truly was a Dr. Jordan called in from Chicago to investigate the health crisis. I ordered a full copy of his report from the Manitoba Archives and was shocked to learn that he did not condemn the use of dirty river water being brought into the water mains for use in fire control.  He did say the water should be used “as little as possible”.  Equally interesting was that the Winnipeg newspapers produced no screaming headlines demanding to know the source of the typhoid.  It appears the city leaders just didn’t want the shame on a national scale.

Did Rupert Willows ever get on your nerves?  

Yes. But as awful as his behavior is at times, I admit to a deep affection for him. I enjoy his complexity.

Which is easier for you, description or dialog?  

Dialogue is much easier for me.  There comes a point where you spend enough time with your characters that you understand their morals, failings, strengths and misery.  I don’t mean to sound nutty, but I got to like a lot of them, especially the ones I spent a lot of time with.  So then, with the kind of research I did in Ravenscraig, you have a real story that you need them to react to.  You create a circumstance, place the people in it and then listen…and type.   There was one night I remember where I had had a particularly productive day.  I work outside on the patio most of the time when the weather allows.  I was working away and was quite overcome by what unfolded.  It was dark. The pool light was on, as was a lamp on the patio table. Katiana, my daughter, came out to ask a question and caught me as I wiped the tears from my eyes.  “ARE YOU OKAY, MUM?”

I think that when we think that these are not just stories, but that each of us has someone in our own ancestry who suffered, who fled, who persevered so that future generations would have a good life, it becomes something worth learning.  Each of us has a history worth knowing. Sacrifice is a big word and it counts for a lot.  It enriches your life when you contemplate the suffering that was done on your behalf.

Who do you imagine as your ideal readers?

Wow.  To be totally honest, this was a selfish endeavor. I wrote something I had searched out to read and couldn’t find. I thought if my mum read the book I wrote I would be happy. It pleases me to no end that the story has touched others and that it has sparked interest among some readers to learn more about their own histories. Historical fiction is not one of those BIG genres publishers are clamouring to publish.

As an author are you more interested in portraying the history of a period/place or in drawing “life lessons” from historical events and suggesting parallels to present issues?

I think there are life lessons in every circumstance and I wanted to tell a story that was historically correct.  I was very concerned about reflecting the attitudes of the day, particularly in the impact on women and the underclass. I like the idea that readers might learn something new that makes them think about the immigrant experience, whether it be a hundred years ago or in modern times.

Even in the most seemingly objective narrations of history, the historian has a point of view, a bias, a cautionary message.  As an author working in the genre of historical fiction, how would you characterize your moral slant or philosophical position.

I think it is very humbling to look at all of the difficulties that were borne by our ancestors.  I have little interest in anyone who might whine about not having the latest cell phone or tablet. Freedoms are too easily characterized as entitlements. I look back at that time a century ago, and imagine who or what I might have done or been. My heart goes out to the unfed children, the women who gave birth with their hair frozen to a wall in an unheated shack, and to all of the men that drove themselves to find any way possible to provide for their families. All of those who faced the tremendous challenge of putting down roots in a country where so many people were against them, simple because of a  name, a religion, or an ethnic background.  I think if I were to have lived in that time I would have thrown all my might behind Nellie McLung and the group of women who saw to it that Manitoba would be the first province in Canada to gain the right for women to vote in 1916.  Can you imagine we haven’t had the right to vote for a hundred years yet?

Why did you choose to conclude the book the way you did? Did you consider other options?

The ending came at the very end.  I had an earlier version that I was just not satisfying so I had to take some time away and just think about it. I have a deep affection for certain characters and it was very troublesome to learn what happened.  I was quite shocked, I must say, when I finally learned.

How does the ending reflect on or influence the themes of your novel. Family, Loyalty, Education, Integrity, Politics, Gender Issues (changing role of women, suffrage, etc.), Responsibility, Community, Work Ethic, Luck, Chance, Identity… personal versus social, ethnic, religious, economic, gender, family connections and expectations.-

Because the ending was the last of the book to be written, I cannot say it influenced the themes. It does influence thoughts of a sequel.  I am interested in the Great War and its impact on the city.  I am greatly interested in the work and strength of the women particularly through the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, and the suffrage movement.  Sam Bronfman became Canada’s best known Jewish leader after he became known for Seagram.  He and his family started out in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in a variety of jobs which ultimately led to the the hotel business. He became the owner of the Bell Hotel in Winnipeg when he was in his early twenties and ultimately became Canada’s most famous bootlegger. Lots to research in this area.  And then there is the matter of the 1915 scandal of the building of the Legislative Building.

Who are your favorite authors, particularly in the historical fiction genre?

Most of what I read is non-fiction, but I very much admire and enjoy: Chaim Potok, Ken Follett, James Michener, Allan Levine, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Carol Shields, Irwin Shaw, Alice Munro among others I have forgotten to mention.

Roulette History at Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco

photo by Monaco Hebdo
photo by Monaco Hebdo

For the last couple of weeks I have been researching gambling in the famous Monte Carlo Casino in the early part of the 20th century. It’s fascinating reading and I am learning about the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and titled who flocked to Monaco to play, be treated royally, and hob nob with others of their high social standing.

Monte Carlo Casino 1900-1910, Library of Congress
Monte Carlo Casino 1900-1910, Library of Congress

The Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo Casino was a most impressive gambling venue, where spectators and social climbers would come to be in the company of these illustrious members of the upper class, some pushing forward to rub elbows with them, perhaps even to take their money at the gaming tables.

The Monte Carlo continues to be one of the grandest venues for gambling complete with updated and unbridled displays of wealth, but naturally, slot machines, electronic games and a relaxing of the dress code has made today’s casino visit a much different experience than it would have been in the days prior to the start of the first World War.

Ravenscraig Sequel

My new novel, a sequel to Ravenscraig takes RJ Wilkesbury to Monaco to enter a new phase of his life. (No spoilers!) He is hoping to find his way to a poker game, but alas, roulette is all the rage and he can’t help but succumb to the seductive charms of the spinning wheel rattling a tiny marble home to make–or ruin–a fortune in a single landing.

History of Roulette

You may be interested to learn, as I was, that the history of roulette goes back several centuries.  Here’s a very entertaining short video produced by supercasino.com  I found to share that will give you the background.

Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo Casino 1900-1910 from the collection of the Library of Congress

Writing the Sequel to Ravenscraig

Summer reading
Summer reading

I am happy to share the news that at long last I am seriously at work writing the sequel to Ravenscraig.  This story is settling into the world of art forgery and starts in 1914. 

For me, fiction writing starts with serious research and for this novel, I have been learning about the exclusive world of art collectors, dealers and auctioneers.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get to such a  a fascinating field of study. Rife with scandal, and steeped in tradition, the art world makes for delicious reading.  Please feel free to share your reccomendations.

There is nothing quick about my approach to writing a novel, so I am not ready to say when this book might be available.  I can tell you that I am at my happiest on days like this when I can wander through history, and in this case luxury to see where the story goes.

800px-Real_Monte_Carlo_Casino

So as not to spoil the fun for the readers who have not yet finished Ravenscraig, I will tell you only that the new novel opens in Monte Carlo just before the Great War.  Gambling, luxurious living, and the particular challenges of the world of the fine art market set the path for the new adventures of some familiar characters and some new friends who join the fun.

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Hotel de Paris, Monaco

Like Ravenscraig, the new book will be based on historical truths and will be driven by the appalling yet frequently charming behavior of my favorite imaginary friends.

From time to time I will share some of the images I find inspiring, like these of the Monte Carlo Casino and the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, from a fantastic website on all things fashionable called Zsazsabellagio.

I have a small favor to ask:  If you have finished Ravenscraig, please don’t spoil the fun and tell anyone about the ending!  I recently gave a talk for a large group and one dear lady couldn’t help but stand up and blurt out some information that should not have been revealed.  Ugh.  No spoilers please!

Monte-Carlo-(Monaco)
Monaco
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Hotel de Paris, Monaco
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Hotel de Paris, Monaco

Author Event: Fiddler in the Golden Land

Sandi AltnerDoes your family have roots on the Lower East Side in New York?  The immigration stories of the turn of the century have long been a passion of mine and I am very pleased to be doing a special talk on this subject next week in Boca Raton, Florida.

Today, I am busy editing the finishing touches on one of the videos I will be including in the presentation which will be on April 3rd at the Sandler Center of the Adolph and Rose Levis Jewish Community Center.

JCC University Series

This is part of the Levis JCC Sandler Center Adult University Lecture series and I am very honored to have been invited to speak about Jewish immigration, with a particular emphasis on New York City.

My interest in Jewish migration grew out of the research I began many years ago for my historical fiction novel Ravenscraig. Since then I have become fascinated with the Lower East Side of New York and I look forward to sharing the stories that I have learned and the marvelous old photographs I have found in the archives of the Library of Congress on line.

Photos and Music

Fiddler Sandi Altner 8x10M

I am particularly drawn to the photos of families at work and will be including a discussion about the sweatshops and what that meant for the littliest workers. The presentation features a video montage of archival photos.

I find these kinds of talks are particularly appealing to people who have a passion for learning their family histories.  For me, learning about the past, and the hardships that had to be overcome is very inspiring.

A Celebration of Family Roots

Whether your family landed in New York, or Chicago or on a farm in Manitoba, as mine did, there is a common experience and a great value in learning the stories of our families.

I am grateful that my ancestors had the determination and grit to make a go of it in the “New World” and indeed, that they were courageous enough to take the plunge.  It was this interest in my family history that inspired me to write Ravenscraig.

Levis JCC Sandler Center:  April 3 at 1:00 p.m.

Please do join me at the Sandler Center on April 3, 2013, if you happen to be in South Florida next week.   For reservations and information, call 561-558-2520.

Book signing to follow the presentation.  See you there. 🙂

Celebrating the Early History of Winnipeg’s North End

Click for more information about Tarbut and to order tickets

I am delighted that Jewish Book Month will bring me back to Winnipeg for a special evening of stories, music and nostalgia.  Join me and the fabulously talented singer, Jane Enkin, on Nov. 22nd at the Rady Centre for the 3rd annual  Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture.

For me it will be a chance to celebrate the early history of the immigrants in Winnipeg who first settled in what was to become Winnipeg’s famous North End with music, stories, pictures of the early days, and of course, a reading from Ravenscraig.

Click here for more information on programming and tickets.  See you on November 22nd!

Fiddler in the Golden Land

with Sandi Krawchenko Altner, author of Ravenscraig

Join as at Tarbut on Nov. 22nd for a lively evening of musical entertainment and nostalgic memories of the early days in Winnipeg’s North End.

Sandi Krawchenko Altner will present a reading from Ravenscraig, her award-winning historical novel about Winnipeg, and lead a discussion about the dreamers and strivers who first settled the North End.

Sandi will share stories she learned from her many years of research on Winnipeg’s boomtown years a century ago, when it was among the fastest growing cities on the continent.   The research inspired the fictional Zigman family of Ravenscraig, Russian Jewish immigrants who struggled to put down roots in Canada.  Sandi will also describe the living conditions suffered by the North End’s mix of Jews, Ukrainians and other “foreign born” residents, and the passion that developed in “the foreign quarter”  that ultimately led to Winnipeg’s North End becoming known as one of Canada’s greatest neighbourhoods for “rags to riches” success stories.

It is Tarbut’s pleasure to invite all who have a connection to, or affection for Winnipeg’s North End to join us for this special evening of nostalgia and celebration.

Ravenscraig, by Sandi Krawchenko Altner, Winner of the 2012 Carol Shields Book Award

Romance, scandal, and tragedy grip the lives of two families and threaten to destroy them both in Ravenscraig, by Sandi Krawchenko Altner.  Winner of the 2012 Carol Shields Book Award, Ravenscraig, pitches rich against poor in the height of the immigration boom a century ago.

Rupert Willows buries his cruel past and schemes his way to wealth and power when he buys his opulent home, Ravenscraig Hall. Zev Zigman, a devout Jew, mounts a desperate struggle to bring his family out of czarist Russia. At the center is the feisty Maisie, who hides her Jewish roots to enter the world of “The English” as a well paid maid at Ravenscraig. Love, anger and determination fuel the treacherous journey ahead.

Readers Review Ravenscraig

Perhaps the greatest enjoyment in writing a book is getting notes from readers who are touched by the book.  This weekend I received two special notes that I would like to share.

The first is from Heidi, a friend from my early days in radio in Winnipeg.

“I lent my book to my 82-year old father who just returned it today. He’s a German immigrant who was a Wpg transit bus driver his entire working life in Canada and spent many a year driving in the north end. He LOVED your book, and that’s high praise from someone who doesn’t have English as his first language.”

The second note is from someone I only know by reputation for her fantastic Deli on Corydon in Winnipeg, Marla Bernstein of Bernstein’s Deli. (I’ve edited the note to be sure there are no spoilers.)

Hello Sandi,

I finished your wonderful book this evening on the way home from the lake . As  a Jewish Winnipegger I knew that I would love RAVENSCRAIG from the first time I heard about it…(I actually do not remember if it was a review in the Jewish Post, or Free Press, or CBC Radio).

Having Grandparents who immigrated here from Eastern Europe about  20 years after your Ravenscraig  characters came to the Golden Land I can appreciate the Jews who were the first and how horrible it was for them at the beginning. By the time my Family arrived here I would think  that a lot of groundwork must have been done and although poverty stricken they must have had more of a support system in place than your immigrants did.

I love the story of the allotment of acreage for those willing to farm. I love the story of the Zigman Family.

Ravenscraig is a wonderful saga. It even prompted me to take a slow joy ride through Armstrong’s Point, which I have never paid much attention to in the past.

Thank you Sandi for providing me with such a good story.

Thanks for hearing me out ! Enjoy life ! When you are back in Winnipeg and you get hungry during the day I would love to invite you to my Deli for a sandwich and a bowl of soup,(another reason I love the Zigman family)>

Sincerely,

Marla Bernstein

Armstrong’s Point: Home to Ravenscraig Hall

Armstrong’s Point c. 1915 courtesy Manitoba Archives. Filed under Winnipeg Streets.

Armstrong’s Point is among my favourite neighbourhoods in Winnipeg and was the ideal choice for the location of the fictional home Ravenscraig Hall in my novel Ravenscraig.

Tucked into a bend in the Assiniboine River, the lush landscape and expansive lawns of “The Gates” as it is often called, have continued to inspire new generations of homeowners for more than a century.  There is no other place quite like this, and it fascinates me.

You will get a sense of the luxurious homes that were built in Armstrong’s Point at the turn of the 20th century if you read the opening chapter of Ravenscraig, which you will find here on line.

To this day, Armstrong’s Point remains a distinctly beautiful and peaceful residential area, hidden away from the busy streets of downtown, yet a short walk to the city centre, public transportation, fine restaurants, bakeries, walking paths, as well as churches and a synagogue.

No, you will not find a real Ravenscraig Hall, there, but I can tell you exactly where it would have been located had it existed.

I wanted to share this short video to show what Armstrong’s Point looks like today. It was produced by Compass Digital Media of Winnipeg and is narrated by Bill Richardson.   I hope it will help you understand why the residents association of Armstrong’s Point remains so fiercely protective of their historic neighbourhood.

The following notes were posted by Compass Digital Media to accompany the youtube video.

Historic Armstrong’s Point received its name in the mid-1800s, when the land was first granted by the Hudson’s Bay Company to Captain Joseph Hill.

When Captain Hill returned to England five years later, he left his boatman James Armstrong in charge and the area gradually came to be known as Armstrong’s Point. In the early 1880s when Hill heard that land values were escalating in the Canadian west, he returned to Winnipeg, reestablished his title to his property, and sold it to a syndicate headed by J. McDonald and E. Rothwell.

The Armstrong’s Point Association was formed 54 years ago to “preserve the residential nature” of one of Winnipeg’s most cherished neighbourhoods. Over the years, residents have come and gone, but still somehow, this peaceful, naturally beautiful setting remains, cherished by all who live here and visit here.

Of the 123 homes on the Point, 75 are on the city’s Inventory of Historically Noteworthy Buildings. The ornamental Tyndallstone gates were erected in 1902 and were designated by the City as historically significant in 1993.

The Cornish Library, a Carnegie library built in 1915, was named after Winnipeg*s first mayor, Francis Cornish. Ralph Connor House, home to the University Women*s Club at 54 West Gate, has been designated municipally and provincially and was recently named a National Historic Site. Beechmount at 134 West Gate is on the Canadian Registry of Historic Places.

Family Research Leads to Writing Ravenscraig

Mary Krawchenko and her mother Tillie Bachynsky with
Mary’s daughters, Sandi and Margaret, 1958

I have a real fascination with old black and white pictures.  I am especially interested in photos of people I know, but can spend days looking into any antique photo collection to learn about how people lived their lives generations ago.

I expect this is a familiar feeling for anyone who has looked through old family pictures and wished that there was someone still around to explain who was in the picture and what was happening on that day. Was it a birthday?  A visit to a relative?  Or just a walk in a park to share good news?  The black and white photos tucked away in shoe boxes so quickly become anonymous faces staring out at us from another century with stories that are rooted in imagination instead of fact.

If I had to settle on a single reason why I wrote Ravenscraig, it would have to be this interest in old pictures.

Ravenscraig is a novel that tells the story of some of the major events in Winnipeg during the height of the immigration boom that began in the 1890s.  Two families– one Jewish, poor and struggling to put down roots in the New World; the other rich and resistant to the foreigners among them–together provide a view of what life was like in a booming frontier city in Canada at the turn of the 20th century.

The research for the story was a most gratifying journey that included wide ranging resources from scholarly works and rare books to archived collections of rare documents, private letters and microfilmed court testimony.  Online sources included such favourite websites as the Manitoba Historical Society, the City of Winnipeg Department of Planning, Canada Census Records and the online newspaper archives like the Manitoba Free Press.

Nikola Strumbicky and Aksana Shmigelsky Strumbicky, 1958, Winnipeg

The inspiration for my desire to learn about the early days of Winnipeg grew out of a fascination with my own family roots.  My family came to Manitoba in 1896  from Zalischiky, Galicia, which is now part of the Ukraine.  They were “Stalwart Peasants in Sheepskin Coats” as Clifford Sifton the minister responsible for immigration had called them.   They came to Canada to farm, answering the invitation for free land in Canada’s determination to populate the prairies.

It is a most gratifying journey to learn about one’s past.  What pictures are in your shoebox?

Celebrating Winnipeg’s Past

Ravenscraig,  The Blog

This blog celebrates the history of Winnipeg, my hometown, and occasionally allows me to indulge in some wider observations of the world that catch my interest.

Here you will find stories about Winnipeg at the turn of the 20th century when the Manitoba capital declared her glory as one of the fastest growing cities in North America.  The research behind the stories you will find on this site was done over many years and became the basis for the storyline for my novel, Ravenscraig.  I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.  Email me at:  sandi.altner@gmail.com

Boomtown Winnipeg:

The early years in Manitoba were very exciting, with Winnipeg recognized as the gateway city for people and goods traveling west to the new frontier. From these years of rapid growth in Winnipeg, 1874-1914, there developed a large group of millionaires and the crop of mansions they built to impress each other.

Historian, Dr. Alan Artibise, referred to these captains of industry as “the commercial elite” and truly Winnipeg was seen by those “down east” in Ontario, as the place to be for those seeking to make or increase their fortunes at the dawn of the 20th century.

Dufferin, corner of King c. 1904 N7962 Courtesy Manitoba Archives

But not everyone had a shot at the big money in Winnipeg.

On the other side of the tracks, newly arrived immigrants struggled to overcome the horrors of poverty, disease and anti-foreigner sentiments as they fought to put down roots in the New Country. It is from this determination of the newcomers to survive and prosper that the famed Winnipeg North End came to be.

To help understand the rich mosaic in this colourful history, I’ve included a selection of films, featuring such topics as Jews in Winnipeg, life in a Ted Baryluk’s store in the North End, and a terrific NFB film about a man whose job was to keep the tracks clean for the Winnipeg street cars.

You will also find that I indulge in some nostalgic remembrances of my childhood  on Gallagher Avenue and at Principal Sparling School, and share stories about my family history.  I am very proud to have descended from the first group of Ukrainian settlers in Manitoba.  The first 27 families  arrived in the summer of 1896 and settled in the southeastern corner of the province.  My family farmed near Vita.

Titanic, I must say, is my true love in research topics so you will find a number of postings about Winnipeg’s Titanic connection, and Titanic in general. In all there were more than thirty passengers on the ship who were on their way to Winnipeg to return home, stay for a visit, or like survivor Eva Hart’s family, to settle in Manitoba as immigrants.

I was a child when I first learned about the Titanic. My dad took us for a drive to point out Mark Fortune’s house on Wellington Crescent and told us about the six people from the Fortune family who were on their way home to Winnipeg when the great ship struck an iceberg and sank.  I was horrified, and instantly hooked.

Years later, the Fortune family and Winnipeg’s connection to the Titanic came to occupy a significant part of my imagination, and the Fortunes found their way into my novel, Ravenscraig, which has recently been published in Canada by Heartland Associates.

Thanks for visiting.

About the name Ravenscraig:

Ravenscraig, the blog, (and title of my novel) is taken from the name of a fictitious home, Ravenscraig Hall, in Winnipeg’s Armstrong’s Point and owned by Rupert Willows, the lead character in the book.

About the novel:

Ravenscraig is about two families: the Willows—wealthy, powerful and anti-Semitic, and the Zigmans—newly arrived Jews, struggling to put down roots in Winnipeg’s North End.

Click on the image below to see the book trailer for Ravenscraig.

Next up, New York!

I am very excited to announce that I will be participating in the Jewish Book Council Network.  What a fantastic organization.  The Network program supports authors who write books that are of appeal to a Jewish audience.

From the JBC website: For authors, this is an opportunity to go on an all-expenses-paid book tour around North America. For program directors, it is the source of a wide selection of interesting authors who will speak in your community without an honorarium.

In June they will bring together a couple of hundred people from all over Canada and the US who are looking to book authors for events and speaking engagements.  Authors, like me, will have a two minute opportunity to make an impression that will hopefully lead to invitations to speak.  It has been described by one participant as a combination of the Gong Show and Speed Dating. Can’t wait.  Here’s a little video about the event.

More to come.  I will update you on all of the details of my trip.  I am set to present on June 3rd.  It happens that my daughter, Katiana Krawchenko, will also be in New York, so I am looking forward to memories that will be made.  Katiana is a journalism senior at the University of Florida and has been granted a ten week internship at CBS News in New York. How proud are the parents?