I was recently honored to be included in Drexel University Magazine's first ever "Top 40 Alumni Under 40" list thanks to my penning of Because We Are. Here are the blurbs I offered for their piece:
My Greatest Accomplishment: Publishing Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti. The book has been a labor of love, unlike anything I’ve attempted before. It’s a murder mystery with a social conscience, a searing portrait of life in Haiti set against the backdrop of the 2010 quake, humanitarian aid efforts, and the outbreak of cholera ravaging the Haitian poor to this very day. Rather than focus on a genius private investigator or cunning police inspector, this mystery features a pair of unlikely detectives: two remarkable children, inspired by real kids I met in the slum.
The story is a “nonprofit novel,” so the net proceeds from all its sales are donated back to development and human rights organizations in Haiti. It seemed like the natural way to give back to a community and country that gave me so much.
How Drexel Helped: Because We Are was born directly from my experience creating the Haiti Justice Project at Drexel Law and through a semester spent in Port-au-Prince, thanks to the co-op program. Without these opportunities, this story would never have been birthed.
Where I’ll Be in Five Years: Living abroad, using my legal training to work for peace and justice in the developing world—and seeing two sequels to Because We Are resting on fans’ bookshelves everywhere.
During the height of the Indiegogo campaign for the book, blogger Tim Høiland was kind enough to conduct an interview with me about Because We Are and the humanitarian impetus behind the book. You can click here to jump to the full interview on Tim's blog, tjhoiland.com.
Here the excerpted post:
I’m excited to help spread the word about Because We Are, a new murder-mystery novel based in Cité Soleil, an infamous Haitian slum in Port-au-Prince, near the epicenter of theearthquake in January 2010.
Ted Oswald, the book’s author, is a Philadelphia-based lawyer who lived in Haiti while working with a human rights organization. During that time the idea for the novel was born. It's a really compelling story, which is reason enough to read it, but Ted hopes it will have real-world impact as well.
. . .
Here’s my brief interview with Ted about the project.
TH: Everyone’s familiar with nonprofit organizations, but few have ever heard of a nonprofit novel. So, what is it?
TO: In my conception, a “nonprofit novel” is fiction with a social conscience that inspires the world to greater justice and peace. Because We Are presents a picture of struggle and hardship known in a particular place and time—in this case, a dangerous slum outside Port-au-Prince a few years ago—and desires to translate readers’ new or existing interest in Haiti from the page into the real world. That can be achieved through a number of means, whether it’s seeing funds donated from book purchases, fresh reflection and consideration of what our role is in correcting injustice, or even more direct action on behalf of Haitians.
Click here to read the rest of the interview on Tim Høiland's blog