Brandeis book and author lunch returns to Rancho Bernardo on September 20

Three members of the Brandeis National Writers and Author Committee are attending a lunch for the first time at Rancho Bernardo.

On September 20, Alana Quintana Albertson, author of “Ramon and Julieta,” co-authors. Kaitlin Rother, author of Death on Ocean Boulevard and Rose Schindler, whose book Two Survivors details her experiences during the Holocaust. Returning as session moderator is Zoe Ghahrmani, a La Jolla resident and author of “Sky of Red Poppies.”

“They were all on the bestseller lists,” said Linda Simon, president of the Rancho Bernardo branch of the Brandeis National Commission. “Zoe has been a moderator for years and was a member of the committee.”

Simon said the event has been popular for many years because attendees “love hearing the authors talk about their books, and how they get their ideas. … They’re usually very good speakers and have fun talking.”

Alana Quintana Albertson.

Alana Quintana Albertson.

(Meg Marie)

Poway resident Albertson is a best-selling Latin romance and mystery writer with over a million views on her mystery romance series Se7en Deadly SEALs on Radish, according to her online bio. Her Latine Rom Com “Love and Tacos” series has been selected for television.

The series includes “Ramón and Julieta” – the book you will be discussing at lunch – and “Kiss Me, Mi Amor”. The Heroes Ever After series contains four novels, the Blue Devils series contains two novels and the fourth Deadly SEALs series. Other series include The Trident Code and Rescue Me. Details can be found on her website,

Rother is best known for her books on true crimes, including “Lost Girls” about the rape and murder of a Poway Chelsea King teen in 2010 and Escondido teen Amber Dubois in 2009.

Caitlin Rother

Caitlin Rother

(Jeza Keeler)

Rother is scheduled to discuss “Death on Ocean Boulevard: Inside the Coronado Palace Affair” about the death of Rebecca Zhao. The authorities ruled her death in 2011 a suicide, but to this day members of her family question this determination and say she was murdered. Zhao died two days after her boyfriend’s young son was mortally injured in an accident in the same home while she was being cared for.

Rother, who lives in Kensington, has written or co-authored 14 books. She is a Pulitzer-nominated investigative journalist and former reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune and other newspapers who has been writing books full time since 2006, according to her online biography at

“Two Survivors: Keeping Hope Alive While Surviving the Holocaust” is the story of Rose and Max Schindler by M. Lee Connolly. It tells the story of a city boy and a country girl who are taken from their homes in the late 1930s and placed in concentration camps during World War II.

Rose Schindler, a resident of Del Cerro, was born and raised in Czechoslovakia. She was 14 when she was deported to Auschwitz with her parents, seven brothers and an aunt. Her late husband, who is originally from Germany, was deported with his family to Poland, ending up over three years in six concentration camps.

As adults, both were involved in a number of activities, including The Butterfly Project, which worked to educate students about the Holocaust, according to their online bios. Rose was president of the New Life Club, an organization for Holocaust survivors in San Diego. The pair have received numerous awards over the years, and Rose regularly shares her experiences with students and others in the community. More information at

Simon said the Writers and Author Luncheon is a fundraising drive held by all 42 Brandeis National Committee chapters across the United States. Luncheons are usually in the spring, but have been postponed until the fall due to pandemic restrictions on public gatherings.

“It’s the biggest fundraiser of the season,” Simon said. “We haven’t had one in nearly three years, so we’re looking forward to it and working hard (in the planning).”

Proceeds from this year’s event will go to support the library at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

“In the pre-pandemic period, we will raise between $1,500 and $2,000 after our expenses,” Simon said, adding that the Fed branch is very conservative in its forecast for this year’s lunch. “Hopefully it will be success.”

This is the first time the luncheon, which has been held annually for more than two decades, has resumed since the pandemic. It was last held in March 2020, just days before all COVID-19 lockdowns began.

In past years, Simon said it usually attracted more than 60 participants, but this year organizers hope to have at least 35 people in attendance.

The class requests proof of coronavirus vaccination and booster, and requires attendees to wear masks.

The lunch will begin at 10:30 AM and end after 2:30 PM at The Heights Golf Club, 16066 Bernardo Heights Parkway in Rancho Bernardo.

The cost is $60. Reservations required by 14 September. Call Simon at 858-487-8041 for RSVP and select Enter. Payments should be sent to Roberta Pessah, 17632 Fonticello Way, San Diego, CA 92128.

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