Writer's Digest Annual Conference August 10 – 12

Posted 6/20/2018

Kim will give a talk titled “Enriching the Past in Historical Fiction” at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference in New York.

The talk will explore how fiction enables writers to reimagine the past in rich ways that bring to light forgotten characters, diverse perspectives, and unknown stories. Kim will focus on how to develop characters and settings and stories that ring true historically while resisting stereotyped notions of the past. This interactive session will give participants specific examples and suggestions for using archives, exhibits, and primary sources that bring fresh perspectives on the past while pulling readers into realistic—yet surprisingly fresh—historical worlds.

The conference takes place August 10 – 12 at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel.

Interview on Canada's The Morning Show

Posted 4/30/2018

Kim discussed the inspiration behind Bachelor Girl on The Morning Show, part of Canada's Global News.

Bachelor Girl at Shippensburg University

Posted 4/16/2018

On Thursday, April 12, Kim van Alkemade shared her latest novel with her colleauges and students at Shippensburg University. The event was highlighted in an article in The Slate, Shippensburg University's student-run newspaper.

Reviews of Bachelor Girl

Posted 4/15/2018

In a book review for Jewish Exponent titled Bachelor Girl Delves into the Meaning of Love,” Rachel Kurland writes:

Bachelor Girl explores a different side of sexuality during a time when it was clearly not accepted — even by the people claiming themselves to be anything other than straight. Intertwined with the real history, the novel is a great read that goes beyond the typical premise of romantic relationships between a man and a woman.”

In a review for Lambda Literary, Christina Tesoro remarks:

Bachelor Girl unfolds slowly but satisfyingly, rich in detail, with Van Alkemade taking her time to illustrate the depth and complexity of her characters in their entirety.”

Bachelor Girl is also included on amNewYork's list of “Female-driven Novels to pick up during Women's History Month.”

Kim van Alkemade on Good Day PA

Posted 3/20/2018

Kim discusses Bachelor Girl with ABC27's Good Day PA.

Booklist Review of Bachelor Girl

Posted 2/5/2018

Kim's forthcoming novel, Bachelor Girl (Touchstone, March 2018) has recived high praise in the American Library Association's review publication, Booklist.

“From the first paragraphs, Bachelor Girl plunges the reader deep into life during the Jazz Age, delving into topics not often associated with the time period, including abortion and homosexuality. Details do not slow down the pace, though, and the mystery of Ruppert’s largesse and the slow revealing of other secrets and confessions will keep readers up all night looking for answers alongside Winthrope and Kramer.”
—Rebecca Gerber

Read the full review here.

Historical Fiction Panel at Writers Digest Conference

Posted 7/5/2016

Kim will join a historical fiction panel at the upcoming Writers Digets Annual Conference in August. The panel, titled Writing about Yesterday, Today: The Art and Business of Historical Fiction, will focus on the particular challenges and opportunities of writing and selling historical fiction.

Other featured authors on the panel include Donna Russo Morin, Heather Webb, Kristin Harnisch, and Bernice McFadden,

The Reporter Calls Orphan #8 “Gripping and Moving”

Posted 4/15/2016

Reviewing Orphan #8 for The Reporter Rabbi Rachel Esserman has great things to say: “The themes and questions raised in Van Alkemade’s exciting debut novel will remain with readers long after the last page is turned.”

Click here to read the full Review

Kim Discusses Orphan #8 at Her Local Independent Bookstore

Posted 11/30/2015

Kim sat down with Jeff Wood, owner of Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They discuss the research, hard work, and happenstance that led to Kim writing and publishing her first novel, and the "good combination of ignorance and courage" it took to do so. Kim also answers some great questions from the audience.

Watch the full interview below. Keep an eye out for a cameo appearance by Mulan, Whistlestop's resident bookstore cat.

Video by Greg Bear.

Kim van Alkemade in Conversation with Lauren Fox for She Reads

Posted 11/19/2015

She Reads invited Kim van Alkemade to join author Lauren Fox in conversation about Orphan #8 and Fox's latest novel, Days of Awe. Both novels feature complex timelines and share some themes.

style="text-decoration:underline;" >Read their full conversation here.


{Lauren Fox} Our novels are so different, but some of our themes—Jewish history and the legacy of trauma—overlap. Having read your descriptions of the research process and your own family’s history, I’m wondering how you felt learning about the setting and the events that hit so close to home, and how that intimate knowledge informed your writing. Did researching things you’d heard about your whole life, in the form of stories from your grandmother, give you any new insights into your family or your own psyche or the idea (one that I personally think about a lot) that trauma can be inherited?

{Kim van Alkemade} My grandfather wasn’t subjected to any medical experiments, so there wasn’t that level of trauma, but yes, learning more about the orphanage and how it was run really helped my whole family better understand Victor’s personality. He was impatient and obsessive about time; he wanted meals to be at exactly the same time every day and everyone ate quickly without much talking. He could be abrasive, even scary. Yet, he’d do anything to help you—I remember him sewing a rip in my nightgown, combing a tangle out of my hair, tying on an apron to help my grandma clean up in the kitchen. I think part of the way he dealt with it was to not speak much about his childhood. He never spoke his father’s name—wouldn’t even let the rabbi say his father’s name at his wedding. My mom and her brothers didn’t even know their grandfather Harry’s name until I did this research.

Full conversation here.

ALA's GLBTRT Calls Orphan #8 “Remarkable”

Posted 10/6/2015

Cathy Ritchie, an acquisitions librarian and book blogger at the Dallas Public Library, reviewed Orphan #8 for ALA's GLBTRT, the official source of media reviews for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association. She said, “Even non-aficionados of historical fiction will find much to savor in this remarkable novel. Its themes and artistry will linger in reader memory.” Ritchie also praised the “broad landscape of issues, superbly covered” in van Alkemade's debut novel. Read the full review here {warning, some spoilers}.

Great Group Read for National Reading Group Month

Posted 9/24/2015

October is National Reading Group Month, and Orphan #8 has been selected by the Women's National Book Association as a Great Group Read of 2015! Kim will be appearing on the National Reading Group Month Authors Panel on October 13 at the Towne Book Center & Cafe in Collegeville, PA.

If you read Orphan #8 with your book club and want to include Kim in your discussion, you can arrange a Skype visit. Here's how:

Interview with Live, Love, Write

Posted 9/10/2015

Leslie Lindsay, author and blogger at Live, Love, Write: The Art & Craft of Writing, spoke with Kim van Alkemade about her writing and researching processes for Orphan #8, what happens to her characters after the novel ends, and what she's working on now.


{Leslie Lindsay} Now it’s 1954, and Rachel is a nurse in the hospice wing of the Old Hebrews Home when elderly Dr. Solomon becomes her patient. Realizing the power she holds over the helpless doctor, Rachel embarks on a dangerous experiment of her own design. Was this your goal as a writer all along, to have Rachel make an ethical decision based on her years of unjust, or did it just kind of unfold that way?

{Kim van Alkemade} No, I was writing towards this ending the entire time, but the first four drafts just didn’t quite get me where I needed to be. I wanted Rachel to have to make this choice, and to seriously consider both courses of action. I wanted her to know how it felt when the tables were turned. I’m really interested in that emotional state when a person feels so righteously angry and justified but they are not getting the recognition they feel they deserve, how debilitating that emotional state can be.

Click here to read the full interview.

Guest Post on New York Academy of Medicine Blog

Posted 9/1/2015

Much of the research behind Orphan #8 was done at the New York Academy of Medicine Library. In a guest post for their blog, Kim discusses what she learned about X-ray treatments on Jewish orphans in the early 20th century, the ethics involved with medical experimentation, and how she tried to deal with this subject mater in fiction. Here is an excerpt:

“It's easy for contemporary readers to conflate all medical experimentation on children with the atrocities of the Holocaust, but even after ‘the world was outraged at the murders carried out in the name of science by Nazi physicians during World War II,’ some American doctors continued to use orphans, prisoners, and other disenfranchised populations in medical reserach without their consent. In my novel Orphan #8, I bring this aspect of medical history to general readers through the use of narrative and story.”

Read the full post on the NYAM blog.

Interview with Books on the Table

Posted 8/7/2015

Bookseller and Books on the Table blogger Ann Walters spoke with Kim van Alkemade about reserach, the difference between writing fiction and nonfiction, teaching, and her bookshelf.


{Ann Walters} I read with interest the information on your website about how your family history inspired you to write Orphan #8. What made you decide to write the story as fiction, rather than narrative nonfiction?

{Kim van Alkemade} There is a lot of my family history in Orphan #8 and I had considered narrative nonfiction for that story, but once I read about the X-ray treatments on the eight children I knew I wanted to imagine what life would have been like for one of these children. By weaving together bits of family history and research, I was able to create an imaginary story that had a compelling narrative arc.

Click here to read the full interview.

Orphan #8 Officially On Sale

Posted 8/4/2015

Buy it now at

Shop #IndiesFirst at your local independent bookstore
or buy Orphan #8 from any online bookseller.

LGBTQ and Diversity Panels at AWP 2016

Posted 8/1/2015

The list of accepted events for the Association for Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) 2016 Conference is up. Kim will be on two panels.

Diversifying Historical Fiction
Kim is joined by authors Laird Hunt, Bernice McFadden, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Nina Revoyr. The accepted panel description is as follows:

Too often, American historical fiction has cast diverse characters as one-dimensional side-kicks or minor characters—if it has included them at all. Characters of color have filled the roles of helpful maid or clever servant while LGBT characters seemed not to exist. The authors on this panel discuss how situating diverse protagonists in iconic historical settings not only foregrounds their characters’ complexities, but also reminds us that American history has always been rich with diversity.

The Queer Writer’s Dilemma: LGBTQ Writers on Identity and Representation
Kim joins #AWPLGBTQ Caucus members Tiffany Ferentini, Garth Greenwell, and Lauren Espinoza. The accepted panel description is as follows:

Is there a difference between being a queer writer, and a writer who “happens to be” queer? Is there a social obligation for LGBTQ writers to write exclusively queer pieces, or is their identity alone enough to establish themselves in the queer writing community? In this panel, LGBTQ writers who have established themselves as editors, translators, and academics debate what it means to identify as a queer writer, and how their writing identity transcends the written page.

The #AWP16 conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA from March 30–April 2, 2016. Register here.

Good Day PA Author Spotlight

Posted 7/30/2015

Good Day PA interviewed Kim van Alkemade for their Author Spotlight on July 28th. Kim talks about the plot Orphan #8 and real-life events that inspired it. She also discusses her upcoming book tour and the unusual way she preapred for it.

Target™ Club Pick: Orphan #8

Posted 7/9/2015

Orphan #8 has been selected as the Target™ Club Pick for August! The Club Pick edition of the novel will be sold at special price and features an exclusive letter to readers from Kim van Alkemade. You can only pre-order this special edition through It will be available at Target stores in August.

Orphan #8 Goes International

Posted 7/7/2015

Orphan #8 is now available in Canada and has been selected as the Chapters !ndigo Spotlight for July!

In translation news, Norwegian and Turkish join the list of languages in which Orphan #8 will be produced. Previously announced international versions of the book include Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.

Early Reviews of Orphan #8

Posted 6/29/2015 | Edited 7/7/2015

Orphan #8 is included on GreatThoughts's List of Fabulous Summer Fiction. Literary Councellor ranked the novel number 5 among her Top 10 Books I've Read So Far in 2015. Bloggers BermudaOnion and BookingMama listed Orphan #8 among their must-read books from BEA 2015.

RedLady's Reading Room calls it “a beautifully crafted and compelling debut novel.” 100 Pages A Day said, “Orphan #8 is an intense emotional journey that blends historical fiction, coming of age and suspense.”

Keep an eye out for reader reviews on BookReporter's sneak peek. Read more reviews on Goodreads and pre-order Orphan #8 from your local independent bookstore or any online bookseller.

New Release Date for Orphan #8: August 4, 2015

Posted 4/30/2015

The publication date for Orphan #8 has been changed (from July 9) to August 4. The novel is available for pre-order at your local bookstore and any online bookseller. Kim urges you to shop #indiesFirst!

Read a preview chapter of Orphan #8 here.

Preview Orphan #8

Posted 4/15/2015 | Edited 4/30/2015

The opening chapter of Orphan #8 is now available online for free. Read it here:

“From her bed of bundled newspapers under the kitchen table, Rachel Rabinowitz watched her mother’s bare feet shuffle to the sink....”

Goodreads Giveaway for Orphan #8

Posted 2/22/2015 | Edited 4/30/2015

A book giveaway of the advance edition of Orphan #8 is going on now at Goodreads. Enter by March 6, 2015 for a chance to win your free copy of the novel!

This giveaway is now closed.

Orphan #8 on Goodreads

Posted 12/17/2014 | Edited 4/30/2015

Orphan #8 is now listed on Goodreads. Add it to your "want to read" list!

Kim van Alkemade has an author page on Goodreads as well. Become a fan!

Orphan #8 Available for Pre-order

Posted 10/1/2014 | Edited 11/12/2014, 4/30/2015

Orphan #8 will go on sale July, 7 August, 4 2015. The novel is already available for pre-order at many online retailers, and will be available from more soon!

Shop #IndiesFirst! ask your favorite independent bookstore to carry Orphan #8. Don't have a favorite bookstore? Use IndieBound to find an independent bookseller near you.

Historical Fiction Panel at AWP 2015

Posted 8/1/2014 | Edited 10/28/2014

The official list of accepted events for the Association for Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) 2015 Conference is up, and registration is open. Kim will be discussing the process of publishing historical fiction on a panel with Susan Breen and Paula Munier, moderated by Marie Hathaway. The conference will be held in Minneapolis, MN from April 8–11.

Panel description:

Writers are often presented with disjointed information about researching, writing, pitching, publishing and promoting historical fiction. This panel holistically addresses these processes. An author describes creative approaches to conducting historical research; a Talcott Notch Literary Services agent discusses the market; an Algonkian Writers Conference workshop leader tells what makes a pitch effective; a web content consultant explains how archives and libraries inspired the promotional plan for launching the author’s novel.

Planning to attend AWP? Add “The Process of Publishing Historical Fiction” to your schedule.