I’m totally fan-girling over here! Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet one of my all time favorite authors, Ruta Sepetys. Immediately after reading her first novel, Between Shades of Gray, in March of 2015 I became a big fan and started looking for more of her work. I read her second novel, Out of the Easy, shortly after and it was added to my list of favorite reads in 2015. At some point last fall, I found out that she was to have her third novel released and immediately put my preorder in through Amazon. Like I said… BIG fan!
Ruta Sepetys’ Goodreads profile states: “Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. As an author of historical fiction, Ruta is drawn to stories of strength through struggle. Her award-winning debut novel, “Between Shades of Gray” was inspired by her family’s history in Lithuania and is published in 45 countries. Her second novel, “Out of the Easy” is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950, and her third novel “Salt to the Sea” exposes one of the greatest hidden disasters of World War II. Ruta lives in a treehouse in the hills of Tennessee.”
This was my very first author meet/book signing and I was slightly nervous to attend. For this particular signing, the location was set at the Lithuanian World Center in Lemont, IL. If I had to guess, I would say there were approximately 100 people who attended. The afternoon started with a 45 minute talk/presentation by Ruta and it was amazing. She is such a wonderful speaker, totally engaging and you can tell she is very passionate about her work.
Ruta spoke mostly about the research, travels, and interviews she completed in order to write Salt to the Sea. Her presentation included quite a few photographs of the people she has met & interviewed. These were projected while she relayed their first or second hand experiences with the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Many people were moved to tears during the presentation. At the end, she opened the floor for questions and I was quite moved by some of the people who stood up to speak. Two older gentlemen, in particular, stood up to share their personal experiences during the Lithuanian refugee crisis. It was a very moving experience and I am beyond glad that I decided to attend.
After the presentation, Ruta Sepetys sat down for a book signing. Luckily, since I sat towards the back of the room for the presentation, I was probably the 20th or so person in line for the signing…so I didn’t have to wait too long. She was wonderful…taking time to chat with each person as well as stop for pictures.
She happily signed multiple copies of books for people and she gladly signed all three of my copies of her novels. It was such a cool experience to meet the person who wrote three books that all have touched me in such an emotional way. So, if you ever have the opportunity to meet an author you love reading, I definitely recommend it!