Dave at Night

Dave at Night may be my favorite of my books because it’s connected to my father.

His name was Dave, and he was an orphan. I don’t know how old he was when he was sent to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, but he may have been as young as six, and he stayed until he was sixteen.

Dave at Night Orignal CoverI always knew my father had been an orphan, but he would never talk about it. Once, I showed him a photograph of the asylum in a book of historic photographs of New York City.  He said, “Yup, that’s it,” and walked away.  From that, I knew life there must have been bad.

His silence didn’t quiet my curiosity, though, so after he died in 1986 I decided to make up his childhood in a story, which started out as a picture book and grew into my first novel, even before I wrote Ella Enchanted.

Dave at Night is historical fiction, my only novel without a shred of fantasy.  The facts about New York City in 1926 are all true.  I did research and learned a lot, like that the dashboards of fancy cars sported altimeters. Airplanes were a recent invention that everybody was excited about, and drivers wanted to know how high in the air they were when their cars reached the top of a hill.  I also discovered that some rich people hired small chauffeurs because they wanted to look big in comparison.  Can you imagine?