Another way to get publicity is to realize you are an expert at what you do. This is never more true than when you write a book because people who have not written a book are envious of those who have. You’re an expert on that subject. Sometimes publicity falls in your lap as happened to me, though because of a tragic event. I wrote a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, which shows how, I, though not of Norwegian descent, developed an affinity for the country, culture and people, beginning when I lived in Norway for a year with my family at age 11, and my return trips as an adult.
On Friday, July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik set off a bomb in the center of Oslo, then went to the island of Utøya, where the Labour Party was having a youth retreat. He slaughtered almost 70 young people, including a friend of my friend’s 18-year old daughter. This occurred at the confluence of another event. In Summer 1992, I attended the International Summer School at the University of Oslo with 500 students from 70 countries. In 1996, I planned a trip around the 50th anniversary of the ISS. Before I left, I was contacted by the student organizer asking me to speak as an alum at the event.
That tragic Friday was the week before the 65th anniversary event and I had planned to e-mail good wishes that day. While I worried about the safety of my Norwegian friends, I worried that ISS could be a target. I issued a statement that Mt. Airy Patch used. The following Sunday, I found messages on my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, voice mail, and e-mail from Pat Loeb of KYW Radio. Notice the different media channels she tried. She was looking for someone to interview with a Norwegian connection. She Googled and found me. I didn’t think it was proper to mention the book under the circumstances, but I was introduced as a Norway expert and she mentioned the ISS’ upcoming 65thanniversary. She used the quote (about 10 seconds) when I talked about what made the ISS successful, but the point was, “This (Anders Breivik) is not the Norway I know.” She also interviewed a college professor. I am a member of the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia, which didn’t exist then. She could have had a choice of actual Norwegians to offer reactions. But, she found me.