Meet Norma Quintana and Lisa Mattson

Dear Reader,

As many of you know, I organized last year’s book festival to fill a long-time dream of gathering readers and writers in Napa for an afternoon.
That Saturday was a warmish, autumn day that felt perfect in every way. I smiled so much that day that my face hurt the next morning, when I sat down for a cup of coffee with Jack. He commended me on the success of the book festival and encouraged me to take the day off and then start planning the next one the following day. It seemed like a perfect plan.
Exhausted, I went to bed early that night, expecting to sleep long and deeply. Instead the heavy wind caused me to toss and turn and doze off and on. At 11:04, I woke up to the strong smell of something burning.
I walked out to my desk and checked my phone for a Nixel alert. There wasn’t one. I opened the shades and looked out the window. The moon was a dark, scary red and when I looked to the left, it looked like the entire world was on fire.
For so many of my Napa and Sonoma friends and neighbors, their entire world was lost to that fire.

Norma Quintana was one of those Napa neighbors. Norma and her family lost their home and her photography studio. Within days, Norma was searching the site for remnants of their lives and began to photograph each item she found. The results are the stunning collection, Forage from Fire.

Norma will tell us about her journey of loss to redemption through her art in a conversation with Lisa Mattson.
Lisa Mattson was one of the lucky/unlucky ones in Sonoma. One of only a few residents whose home was still standing in the Fountain Grove section of Santa Rosa, Lisa lost only her garage and its contents. But the damage to her home and neighborhood was so severe that one year later, Lisa is still not back home.
Lisa will not only interview Norma, she’ll also participate in the book fair from 12-1. And proceeds from the sales of her book, "The Exes in My Glass," will be donated to Sonoma Family Meal. She explains why:
“The one-year anniversary of the wine country wildfires is a week away, and thousands of people are still struggling to recover.
Sonoma Family Meal, the charity created by food writer Heather Irwin last October to feed first responders and victims, is still feeding 80 families every week who are still struggling to recover from the disaster. Some people are living in trailers or in their cars on the streets of Santa Rosa. Others live out of campers on their burned lots and cook meals on a portable cooktop.

I’ve decided to channel a big chunk of my frustrations with rebuilding my life into giving back to my fellow #SonomaStrong residents. I’ve released a new edition of my dating/drinking/waitressing memoir with a bonus chapter and more career scenes, and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of "The Exes in My Glass" will benefit victims who are still struggling to get back on their feet.

The recovery and rebuild process has been long, frustrating and depressing. Any little bit I can do to help those who are less fortunate gives me hope that Santa Rosa will be the home again that we all remember before we went to bed on October 8, 2017.”
Please join me in welcoming Norma and Lisa to the Napa Valley Book Fest on Saturday.
Saturday, October 6, 2018. Book Fair is free. Authors in conversation is $7.50. Tickets are

More about Lisa here and Sonoma Family Meal here

More about Norma here. She also has an exhibit that will open tonight. Check it out.