Kim van Alkemade is a New York Times bestselling author of “Orphan #8.” She talked about her newest book, “Counting Lost Stars,” which was released on July 18, at Stewart Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The event began at 7 p.m. and people were glued to their seats until the very end.
“Counting Lost Stars” takes place in 1960s New York City. A college student, Rita Klein has given up her baby for adoption when she meets Jacob Nassy, a Dutch holocaust survivor who is looking for his mother. Rita is learning computer programming in school and learns she might be of help to Jacob in search for his mother.
Alkemade used to be an English professor here at Shippensburg, but now is a full-time historical fiction author. Alkemade shared to the audience that this story is special to her because she used to read her drafted work to her classes.
The story is heavily inspired by her parents. Alkemade’s father was an immigrant from the Netherlands and met her mother in the Empire State Building. In the book, Rita and Jacob meet at the same location and Jacob is from the Netherlands. The characters are also described to have the same appearances.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Alkemade used that time to research all she could about the Holocaust, World War II and more history from that era. She came up with the idea for “Counting Lost Stars” by putting herself into her parents’ history. She wanted to dramatize and add what she wanted to it.
Alkemade said, “I love historical fiction because you can trust what is happening, but at the same time I can take you to a place that only exists in my imagination.”
Refreshments were offered to everyone who attended. The event went on for the duration of an hour. Copies of “Counting Lost Stars” were made available but sold out before Alkemade even began speaking.