What a whirlwind week this has been! I can’t remember when I’ve been more enthusiastic about writing done and writing planned!
In the first six days post release, the copies have flown off my shelf and out of Amazon and B&N faster than I’ve experienced with previous books! And I already have 3 reviews on Amazon – ALL FIVE-STARS! It’s so exciting to watch and get feedback from readers. The giveaway contest on-line certainly didn’t hurt, but that was only 10 books. Thanks to all of you for showing interest (and those of you who went ahead and bought a book when your name wasn’t drawn for the giveaway)!
Please remember to post a review on Amazon &/or Goodreads. And a favorable note on Facebook certainly can’t hurt!
So, while The Eyes Have It has monopolized most of my attention for a couple of weeks, my Armenian historical fiction has never been far from my mind. I found my mind wandering to why I started it in the first place.
It started with an ancestry search that led me here, to the church where I was raised. Sadly, it no longer serves a congregation, but the building has not yet been sold, which is what made my visit possible.
As I wandered around and through the church and my memories, I came across the cornerstone that dated the completion of the church in 1916. The church congregation first came together in 1906, but underwent a series of changes before this church was built.
And then there were the windows, the catalyst that drew me into the world of my ancestors and their early experiences in America following their flight from the massacres by the Ottoman Turks.
As a child, upon entering the church, I felt a sense of awe and warmth. As I walked toward the altar during this visit, I felt that same sense of peace and comfort. I knew right then that I would write about it. I simply didn’t know exactly what. Since that day, nearly a year ago, I’ve immersed myself in Armenian culture, in stories of the few early church members who are still alive, and those of the generations that followed the early arrivals. I’ve reconnected with people I’ve not talked with in years, and brought together family members that were scattered for decades. This coming weekend I will spend in the Boston area with members of the Essegian/Mahakian extended family, visiting the Genocide Memorial in Boston, returning to the Armenian Museum in Watertown, having dinner at Ani’s in Watertown, and wrapping up the festivities with a family feast at the home of one of my cousins. And yes, the feast will be Armenian food.
I don’t know where this story is taking me yet. But I know it’s a journey that was meant to be.
Congratulations on the book release! Having recently been through the whirlwind myself, I completely get you.
I hope the stained glass windows are preserved in the conversion to apartments, or that some may have been removed before the sale?
The arches of the stained glass windows are indeed being kept in the design, as well as some of the smaller windows. The large windows (the rectangles below the arches) were in rough shape, with cracks and gaps, and would not have met building codes. I took the memorial windows in the balcony (dedicated to the memory of the victims of the genocide) and hope to have them restored with as close to the same glass colors as possible – although I haven’t found anyone to do that yet. I have several photos of the windows to guide someone with the necessary talent and skill.
By the way, if you would like some photos of the church, I have those – both before and during the transition to the apartment building.
Thank you! It will be so special if you can find the right artisan to replicate/restore the memorial windows. I have always loved the larger window in the middle with the “crown” the most. I last visited the church with my “aunt” Rose Giragossian in the 90’s when Rev Joanne Hartunian was the minister, and recall taking numerous pictures inside and out, including of the cornerstone and of us in front of the church next to the sign . I am going to have to find them in the basement one of these days!
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You’ll see your “aunt” Rose in some of the photos in the booklet, as well as Rev. Joanne Hartunian!