My 21st Century Pen Pal

I visited London twice. The first time my husband and I did not venture beyond the boundaries of the city, while the second time we explored Southampton and Gillingham. Both times we left longing to return because of our new-found love for the country and the people we met—two in particular both named Sarah.

The first Sarah was a librarian in Gillingham, who graciously hosted a group of six travelers from Ireland and two Americans, who were invited to visit the display of an Irish inventor named Louis Brennan. (An 82 Year Old Wrong Finally Corrected)


The second Sarah was a traveler from New Zealand whose blog I had been following as she traveled across Russia and places beyond and then coincidentally met on that second trip. (The Stars Were Aligned in London.)

Now I have written my book, and I have a new friend from the UK named Ellie, who I never met but is my new cyber friend. She found me and recommended this blog for an award several months ago. We have been corresponding ever since.

Ellie’s blog, And Then What, has wonderful tips for the aspiring writer. She blogs twice a week, once “about a broad range of subjects and once on Thursdays on a writing related topic.” I highly recommend her blog.

Ellie read my book and I read hers—a delightful romance set in the English countryside. Although not a reader of romance novels of late, The Flower Seller was different because it had the element of mystery that kept someone like me reading to the end. Also, I admit to being attracted to books and movies set in areas I have visited, so this book was a win-win for me. Try it, you will not be disappointed!


She and I have been communicating via email and Twitter, and Ellie has given me wonderful suggestions regarding how to promote my book. She has blogged and tweeted about Do Svidanya Dad and has honored me by her lovely reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Ellie has boosted my confidence in my book because there is nothing in it for her. She did not read it out of obligation because she is a close friend or relative. This has been such a wonderful act of kindness from a stranger from across the pond. I have even seen several purchases in the UK of my book, all of which I attribute to Ellie.

As she points out to me “Cyber friends are 21st century version of the pen friends of old.” Thank you Ellie Holmes!

About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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3 Responses to My 21st Century Pen Pal

  1. Thank you for your lovely blog mention *blushes*. Your book was a pleasure to read – gripping, emotional and so well written I simply had to recommend it to people in the hope it would touch and move them as it did me. If I can help your discoverability even in the smallest way, I shall be pleased. Your diligence, persistence and attention to detail in your family history research is exemplary and a wonderful example to anyone researching their own family trees. Others can learn a lot from your approach. May you receive lots more recognition. Ellie x

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