Postcards From The Pandemic: Shaker Heights Author's Book Tour That Wasn't

Patricia Averbach and her writing companion [Patricia Averbach]
Patricia Averbach and her writing companion, Lily [Patricia Averbach]
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Patricia Averbach’s second novel dropped at the same time as the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, in-person launch parties and readings subsequently were canceled, and the task of sharing “Resurrecting Rain” with others became much more difficult for the Shaker Heights author.

Virtual events have been a “godsend,” said Averbach, who joins other authors with local ties online at the Cleveland Jewish Book Festival Sunday, Feb. 7.

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Family Central To ‘Resurrecting Rain’

It's the story of a woman who was born on a hippie commune outside of Santa Fe in the early 70s, and she was not a hippie like her mother. She wanted to be normal and to have a very conventional life. And she wanted this so much that when she was 14 and her Orthodox Jewish grandmother sent her a coat with $200 in the pocket and a plane ticket to Cleveland, she hopped a plane and ran away from home.

The deal was that she had to sit Shiva for her mother in order to stay with her grandmother, and she agreed to do that. And the fact that her mother is actually still alive is a shameful secret that casts a shadow over the rest of her life.

Familiar Surroundings

The book really travels across three parts of the country, but the early part of the book takes place on the East Side of Cleveland, primarily between Shaker Heights and University Circle. That's where Deena… found herself when she ran away from the hippie commune, and she makes a life in this area until fate intervenes and she loses her house.

Resurrecting Rain cover

Missing Connections

I don't think that the pandemic has altered the way I see the story. It certainly has affected the way I've been able to bring it to the world since I've had to cancel all of the in-person events that I have scheduled and instead participate in various Zoom events and online events, which is a godsend that that's available. But it's not as satisfying as being able to see your readers, you know, eyeball to eyeball and to meet with them in person. I'm not doing that the way I did with my previous book.

Silver Lining

Now the good thing about the pandemic is that since there's nowhere to go and no one to see, I've had very few distractions and I'm almost done with my third novel. So there's the silver lining. I think I've actually become more disciplined. I've had fewer distractions, and I've been much better about keeping my butt in the chair and churning out pages.

The author's cat sits nearby while she works.

Patricia Averbach says her cat, Lily, has been a good pandemic companion while she writes at home. [Patricia Averbach]

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