Cape Gazette columnist Lisa Graff published her debut novel in April 2017. "Find Me Alone" is a coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. Graff will be reading a short excerpt and signing books from 1 to 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22, at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.
"I grew up in an alcoholic family," said Graff. "And like many writers, I felt compelled to tell my story. While the book is based upon my own experience, it is a work of fiction. I wanted to illustrate how various family members cope differently with the same disease. The main character, Cee, tries to rescue. That was me."
"In real life, my father's struggle with the disease led to his death in 1981 when I was 23. I published an article in Woman's World Magazine in 1990, titled 'Perhaps that is what heaven is...a place without alcohol.' I had written over a hundred articles for the Gaithersburg Gazette, but this was my first sale in a national magazine. Sad to receive recognition for such a painful event."
Graff retired from teaching in Montgomery Public Schools in Maryland in 2010, and moved to Lewes to enjoy retirement and to further pursue her writing career.
She joined the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild and began sharing her stories at monthly readings. Her essay titled Getting my Feet Wet won first place in a contest in Delaware Beach Life magazine. The essay, published in the April 2012 issue, was about her adjustment to retirement life, which Graff says was more challenging than she ever dreamed it would be.
"I was aghast in the realization that working gave me a sense of purpose and a structure I had depended upon for so long. I wasn't sure how to handle the freedom," she said.
She decided to write about retirement life and contacted Cape Gazette Editor Trish Vernon with the idea for a column called Retirement 101. "I figured this area might be a good place to explore the diversity among us struggling to find our new life." Her column, which appears twice monthly, began in September 2011.
Several of Graff's essays have appeared in the Washington Post. For her article Parents Who Fail the Schools, she won a Mass Communication Award in 1995 from the American Association of University Women. She has since joined AAUW, which has selected her novel for a book discussion in October.
"I hope my novel finds a place in a younger audience, especially in the classroom. I taught English in grades seven to 12 and kept this audience in mind while writing it. In the book, Cee gets help through Al-Anon, but it wasn't until I came to Delaware and began attending Al-Anon meetings on Monday evenings at Epworth Church that I got the help I desperately needed."
Light refreshments will be served. Graff’s novel is available for purchase from Browseabout Books and from Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Both Rehoboth and Lewes libraries carry the book.