In just a few days, my third book will be released. Much of the pre-release flash of activity—marketing, publicity, the rush for blurbs—is all-consuming but somehow familiar. The rush for reviews and mentions is a necessary part of the process. I do, after all, selfishly want you to buy my book, review it, recommend it to your friends and family, for that is how books are read and remembered. But my latest book—Footprints in the Dust—is a memoir instead of a novel putting a whole new and unfamiliar level of angst in my thoughts. Footprints in the Dust is not the story of a fictional character. This is my story and the story of the refugees around the world whom I’ve come to know and love. Every thought, every tear, every encounter that you’ll read on the pages, is presented as it happened. I scribbled and wrote the stories of the people I met every single night and those words have kept my memories alive and fresh, and reading them even now, can alternately move me to tears or make me smile and laugh at the memory. Sharing them with you, with the world, seems a little like sending a firstborn into the world. I want you to see these refugees as I do; I want you to see them clearly, to feel their angst, their hunger, their worry and sometimes—their triumph. And, once you’ve turned that last page, I want you to feel connected to these special people. It is my hope that in sharing their stories, you will see a little bit of yourselves and see that we are all more alike than we know.
And to those wonderful writers who’ve provided my first reviews – thank you! I’ve posted a few here:
“Roberta Gately writes well and from the heart. She has given us a story of compassion, tenderness, and toughness in places that seem far, far away, but where mercy and kindness are timeless.”—Evan Thomas is the author of Ike’s Bluff and Being Nixon
“Gately nimbly uses tools of a novelist to tell this story, and as a result, the people she writes about spring fully to life in our imaginations. Here is a book filled with compassion, wisdom and yes, grace. Read it and weep. —Yona Zeldis McDonough, Author of The House on Primrose Pond
“Footprints in the Dust, Roberta Gately’s poignant, gripping memoir is a timely and inspiring tale of a big heart in a broken world. Chronicling her years as a humanitarian aid worker in the most desperate corners of the globe, this book is an absolute must-read… Her experiences tending to and befriending the world’s forgotten call us to compassion and significance, and her perspective on the plight of refugees is both exceptional and inspiring…”
—Nicole Baart, author of Little Broken Things
“It’s a rare person who leaps out of her comfort zone to help those who need it most. Roberta Gately is one of the few. In her exquisite memoir, Gately recalls her many years of providing aid to refugees in Sudan, Afghanistan, and other conflict-ridden areas of the world. Footprints in the Dust is a life-affirming book that opened my eyes to new truths and filled me with hope and joy.” Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties.
“From Afghanistan to Africa, the global plight of refugees springs to life from the pages of Roberta Gately’s latest memoir, Footprints in the Dust. Year after year, the author risks her health, even her life, to administer humanitarian aid to citizens of the most remote, war-torn areas of the world. With captivating detail, grace and humility, Gately reminds us all what it means to selflessly love and care for our fellow man. Kristen Harnisch, International bestselling author of The Vintner’s Daughter and The California Wife
“Gately tells a great story, so we taste the dust and instant coffee, smell the latrines, and miss the wine and pizza right along with her. And even at the worst of times, we’re reminded of both beauty and humanity; our narrator’s positive warmth and belief in basic goodness always shine through.” Carol Cronin, author of Oliver’s Surprise