Book club hosts novel author with local connection
Quincy’s Mary Kazda book club welcomed B.E. Beck, author of “Who Are You, Trudy Herman?” to its Aug. 7 meeting, held at the Quincy Public Library.
For about 20 minutes, Beck shared a slideshow detailing some of the behind-the-scenes work and research she did while writing the novel. Then she opened up the remainder of the time for questions from the audience. About a dozen women attended the presentation.
“I feel proud and honored when people want to talk about something I wrote,” Beck said.
The novel “Who Are You, Trudy Herman?” is set in the United States in 1943 and is about a girl, Trudy, and her family, who are sent to a German-American internment camp in Texas for two years. After release from the camp, the family moves to Mississippi where Trudy faces a life-changing decision later in the story.
The story was inspired by her mother’s German family, said Beck. She recalled when she was younger and her relatives would visit, they always spoke quietly about their experiences with internment camps. Before writing the story, for background research Beck contacted members of a German-American coalition who were placed in internment camps.
Bonnie Kniveton, of Quincy, attended the book club meeting.
“It was very impressive,” Bonnie Kniveton said of “Who Are You, Trudy Herman?”
Kniveton’s cousin has been married to Beck for the last 50 years. Kniveton said she bought five copies already and wants to buy another to donate to the Quincy Public Library.
The novel is listed in the historical fiction and young adult genres. It has received recognition from several online sites such as Bookstr, Popsugar, Buzzfeed, Culturalist, PureWow and 2 Paragraphs. The novel was also selected as a 2018 Reader’s Favorite Book Award finalist.
Before writing the novel, Beck taught math for 30 years at the University of Minnesota, South Seattle College and Yakima Valley College. She currently lives in Redmond, Washington.
According to Beck, she has spoken to about seven other book clubs that have selected her novel. She also has been to several high schools to discuss the book after donating a few copies to the schools’ libraries. Beck said she would really like to donate a few copies to a high school in Mississippi because of the state’s prominence in the story.
“People will say they learned something, [and] that’s what it’s all about,” said Beck.
By Miles King, firstname.lastname@example.org