I grew up in a Clairton, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, 12 miles south on the Monongahela River. Clairton and surrounding communities were the settings of much of the book, Three Lives of Peter Novak. So it seemed logical to return to my roots for a book tour. My first of four planned presentations took place in the nearby Jefferson Hills Library. The Clairton and Jefferson libraries partnered to sponsor my book signing. I was overwhelmed at the turnout and response. It was a full house, with lines for book signing trailing out the door. I had been worried that I might have to pack the many cartons of books back to Las Vegas, but at the end of the evening they were nearly all gone and I had more venues to get to.
Richard Lattanzi, matey of Clairton, presented me with a proclamation. I believe it was Robert Burns who once said, “There is no greater honor than to be recognized for success in your hometown.”
The other talks and signings went well although by the last one we had to take orders, for all the books that had been sent and carried had been sold and signed.
Three Lives of Peter Novak is historical fiction, but the main character is loosely based on family lore told to me by my mother and grandmother about my maternal grandfather. A family member forwarded me a photo of my grandfather holding me. The photo was taken at home in Clairton during the midst of World War II.
Many changes have taken place in my hometown over the past century. It went from farmland to a hub of the steel industry to an economically struggling community. The mayor, his staff, and the wonderful people who remain in Clairton struggle to keep the town on an even keel. The tide is turning. Clairton is facing a rebirth. Best wishes.