Welcome – as I trace my Estonian family history

Join me in my adventures in reading and writing

Join me in my adventures in reading and writing

Kaia Gallagher, Author

As a memoirist with an Estonian family story to tell, I am writing a wartime narrative of heroism that details how my family, like many Estonians, managed to survive when their country was occupied first by the Soviets, then by the Germans during World War II, only to be re-occupied by the Soviets after the war ended.

After a lifetime of collecting stories regarding how my mother and her family escaped from Estonia as World War II was coming to an end, I am close to completing a final version of my family’s wartime narrative. My goal for the next year will be to find an agent and potential publisher. STAY TUNED!

My grandfather, Jaan Vares, 1939

Before war broke out in Estonia in 1939, my grandfather, Jaan Vares, was a successful physician, a former Mayor of his hometown of Viljandi, and a prominent town leader. After watching many of his colleagues, neighbors, and friends deported to Siberia by the Soviets, he was forced in 1944 to leave everything behind, an exile that lasted for the rest of his life.

My Grandmother, Elise Vares, 1949

My grandmother, Elise Vares, was an organizer who liked to keep her household in order. For years, she managed my grandfather’s medical practice. Then, when war broke out, she watched as her life fell and those whom she loved most in the world died.

My aunt, Asta Vares, 1939

Idealistic and patriotic, my mother’s sister, Asta, fought with her fiancé, Bruno, to resist when the Soviets occupied Estonia at the beginning of World War II. Their struggle was doomed to fail.

My mother, Kaia Vares, 1939

My mother was only 18 when the war in Estonia began. Doggedly determined to survive, she found ways to help her family to escape, first from Estonia and then from the Eastern section of Germany before it was taken over by the Soviets.

Publishing News

Working with my terrific writer tribe to begin an all-out push to find an agent for my book entitled Candles for the Defiant and Forgotten.

Chances of finding a literary agent — some say one out of a 1,000 queries. Polishing my last (and hopefully) final draft and hoping to beat the odds.

Check out my recent blog post “History Repeats Itself,” published by the Kelp Journal that highlights the connections between the Ukrainian refugee crisis and what happened in Estonia at the end of World War II.


Sign up to receive a SHORT monthly update about what’s happening with my book.

Every month I will also offer a Book Club suggestion that highlights authors who write about their family history and explore themes of identity.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Kaia Gallagher, Author, 7934 S CLAYTON CIR, Centennial, CO, 80122, https://kaiagallagher.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact