Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

Blog Hop

This week, I've had the honor to be invited to a blog hop! The purpose of the blog hop is to introduce readers to books and authors, the may otherwise haven't heard about. Honestly, before last week, I never heard of Blog Hops, but my mom, who happens to be a social media wiz, invited me to join. My mom, Dr. Barbara Lavi, is the author of a self help book called The Wake Up and Dream Challenge. As a clinical psychologists, she developed a goal setting technique to help her clients transform their lives. Her book, applies this technique to help people achieve their dreams. It's a unique book since it not only changes people's life, but it helps support 21 non-profit organizations, all of whom share the common goal of transforming lives. The fun thing about this blog hop, is that I get to introduce my readers to books from different genreas, not just genealogy which is my focus. As you will see, at the bottom of this post, I will invite you to visit authors whom have inspired me.  First, I will answer ten questions about my book, and then recommend other authors, who will be writing about their books next week!

My book, Stored Treasures, A Memoir, was published last year and is the story of my great-grandmother Minnie Crane's life. It is a compilation of her journal writings, my grandmother's writings (her daughter) and genealogical research work I did.

What was the working title of your book?
The working title of the book was Stored Treasures of My life. It came from a sentence Minnie wrote about her ambitious undertaking of writing a memoir. I had been digging up clues about my family history for years, and when I came across her extensive writings, I truly felt they were a treasure. I was stuck by the insight she had, that the act of telling her story was equivalent to sharing a hidden treasure. Eventually, I decided to shorted the title to Stored Treasures, which added a touch of mystery. The shorter title also expands the definition of this work from the story of one life to something much bigger. Personal histories, shed light on society and culture as a whole. While standard history focuses on war and heros, there is much to learn from ordinary people's lives. Minnie lived through an incredible period in history, two world wars, pandemics, great migration and the great depression. Her story is personal as well as universal. The details preserved in her tale are true gems and the inspiration for the title of the book. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I never set out to write a book. As an avid genealogist, I was doing research for my family tree. As often happens, I ran into a brick wall. I had a lot of unanswered questions, and it seemed that my great-grandmother's journals might have some answers. Minnie, who passed away in 1981, had written journals for the last twenty or so years of her life. These handwritten books, were a family heirloom, tucked away in attics and long forgotten. I requested my own copy, with the hope of finding some clues into the past. When I finally got a hold of the manuscript, it was, as rumored, difficult to read, confusing and repetitive. To make heads or tales of the material, I decided to "clean it up." I transcribed it, organized it into a sensible chronology and omitted irrelevant details. Once I was done, I was shocked. Staring at me form my computer screen was an amazing story! I saw right away, that this was the beginning of a book.

What genre does your book fall under?  
The book falls under non-fiction, memoir. In addition, it's a wonderful tool for genealogy. Anyone who has spend time doing genealogical research and wondered what to do with piles of information they collected, should read Stored Treasures. Minnie's story, could not have become a book, without the photos, supplemental research and documents I unearthed over the years. It's an excellent example of how to bring a family story to life and make it relevant to a larger audience. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a great question. I've long thought that Stored Treasures would make a great film, and could easily be adapted into a screenplay. Casting would be difficult as it would require at least two or three actresses to play Minnie, one as a very young girl, one as a younger woman and the third, the narrator and older woman. I chose three actresses who stand out to me for their beauty, softness and kindness on screen. I think Jennifer Connelly would make a great young Minnie, Amy Irving from Crossing Delancey could play the middle aged Minnie, and Tova Feldush who played Golda Meir could play the narrator and older Minnie. I would cast Russel Crow as Minnie's husband, William Bloomfield. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young woman's brave journey from girlhood to womanhood, from old Russia to America at the turn of the twentieth century.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Stored Treasures is self-published. Never having written a book before, I decided to self-publish. I  did not want my book to sit on an agency's desks for years, while I struggled to get recognition. It was more important to get it out there, especially now that the publishing industry is in such  a flux. I loved learning about publishing a book. Self publishing has become very user friendly. I received a lot of support from, and apart from paying a professional editor, I did the everything myself, including the cover design, the layout etc. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The very first draft took only a month, but it was only the very first part of the book, which was Minnie's actual writing. The complete first draft, which included all the sections took about nine months. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are two books in particular that come to mind. The first is ELSIE: ADVENTURES OF AN ARIZONA SCHOOLTEACHER 1913-1916 by Barbara Ann Waite. This is one of the books I'm highlighting in my blog hop. Like me, Barbara Ann Waite turned her grandmother's diary into a book. Both Elsie and Minnie provide an incredible glimpse into the life of young women in America during the turn of the century. One, a Jewish immigrant in the East Coast, and the other a pioneer in Arizona. The second book is Missing Lucile by Suzanne Berne. Missing Lucile is about a grandmother Suzanne Berne never met. What impressed me the most about this book, was Berne's ability to piece together her grandmother's story with so little to go by. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Minnie was my inspiration to write and publish the book. My great-grandmother died when I was thirteen years old and more than thirty years before I published her story. I was her oldest great-granddaughter and knew her well. Yet getting to know her again, as an adult through her writing, transformed my image of who she was. Her strength and determination continue to inspire me everyday.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Stored Treasures is an unusual book since it is a collaboration of four generation of women. It's full of pearls of wisdom, hidden treasures and surprises!

Now for blog hopping! I invite you to visit the following talented, diverse and inspiring group of women authors:


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