After she retired from construction and hung up her tool bags a few years ago, Marianne Aleck embarked on a new journey digging through her family's past that led her to write "The Liberty Club."
"It's an immigrant story, a war story, a love story and a true story," Aleck said. "It's about two families, Greek and French, during an era of the greatest generation. It's about liberty, freedom, what these people went through — what life was like, the good and the bad."
"The Liberty Club" was published Dec. 15, 2015. Since then, Aleck has been traveling around Northern California promoting her work and hosting book signings.
She will be at Caffeinated in Colusa on Saturday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
"I like interacting with people," Aleck said. "A bunch of people who have read my book tell me they started searching their own family's roots. I enjoy when people come up and tell me right away about their roots. It's family, and family is everything."
Taking place during World War II, the book switches locations between Oroville and France to tell the stories of the two families.
It took the author three years of research to gather what she needed to write the nonfiction family memoir.
"It was a full-time job," Aleck said.
Aleck said she had grown up with the stories her parents used to tell during the holidays.
"My mother used to say, 'I should write a book about my life,' and she never did, but it got me thinking," Aleck said. "I always had a real interest in my heritage, and I loved writing. So when I retired, I had the time and started doing the research."
She said the day she realized the book needed to be written was when she stumbled upon her mother's journal, written during the war.
The journal was written in French, so she had her aunt translate it, which took three years.
Along with the journal, Aleck found love letters her father had sent her mother during the war. She also used recordings that her brother had done in the 1980s of their parents' stories, which filled up four cassette tapes.
"I went to a lot of different places and did a lot of research," she said. "The book also has a bunch of personal accounts from people who know my family who were there at the time."
As she dug deeper into the story, Aleck said, the book transformed from something she was writing for family members to something she thought everyone would enjoy.
"The fact that it's in a small town, I think it's very relatable to people around here," Aleck said. "We all came from somewhere else. It's a relatable subject anywhere because we all have that connection with some member of our family passing through Ellis Island or being an immigrant."
She said "The Liberty Club" is sold at the Chico Barnes and Noble and can also be purchased online. The book is over 500 pages and has 185 pictures — the majority being family photos — from cover to cover.
"I like to tell people, I like bringing a big book to a small town," Aleck said.