Ready to meet the world: My Dear Boy – 400 WWII letters. 78 writers. 1 Remarkable Secret.
To all who have tagged along on my seven-year writing journey—this is a big day! I proclaim the My Dear Boy 81,000-word Memoir complete. Now all I need is a good literary agent to open the locked door to a great publishing house. I also need some old fashioned patience. Here’s my pitch:
Imagine happening upon a beautiful box that was off-limits during your childhood. Its contents could radically change your understanding of your parents and life. I opened such a box. Inside were four hundred tissue-thin letters bound by rusted paperclips and stamped with censors’ marks. These missives written between 1939 and 1945 meticulously documented my larger-than-life father Oswald “Valdik” Holzer’s extraordinary journey from his Nazi-occupied Czech homeland through Africa and China to the Americas; they revealed a truth both enduring and profound.
Based on my father’s letters, My Dear Boy is a humanized account of World War II, yet timely in how it casts light and compassion on the current global refugee crisis. The book begins with Valdik’s ingenious escape from the Nazis. His adventures led to Japanese-controlled Shanghai and China’s interior where he worked as a doctor amid bloody battles and raging typhus. In Peking, he met and married the daughter of missionaries. The newlyweds sailed to America. Valdik clung to the hope of reuniting with his Jewish parents left behind in Prague. When a letter beginning “My dear boy” reached him in 1945, his hope and homeland were lost forever.
When I found that letter, hidden in plain sight and preserved for decades, I understood the purpose and promise of my father’s life…and my own.
“In the dynamic world of publishing today, the value of a good story told by a passionate, well-suited author is more important than ever. I believe My Dear Boy has all the elements for success—adventure, mystery, tragedy, love, discovery and truth.
—Ann Sonntag, former publisher, Orlando Business Journal, a publication of American City
Business Journals, the largest publisher of business journals in the U.S.