BOSTON, MA—Child sexual abuse is happening to one in four girls and one in 6 boys every day. For over forty years, nationally known, award winning clinical social worker, Elda M. Dawber, LICSW, has been the voice for sexually abused and neglected children. Not only has she been helping victimized children and adults, but she has also been a respected mentor to fellow professionals on interpersonal violence, sexual harassment and bullying, personal safety and LGBTQ youth. With her debut novel, Wait Until I’m Dead! (EMD Press, 2014), she has succeeded in engaging the widest possible universe of readers—from social workers, teachers, health care workers, and anyone who encounters the plight of these exploited children to the society at large.  

Dawber’s treatment of sexual violence may be distressing, but she explains how illuminating the dark corners in the places of children’s hidden shame can be cathartic. Her approach to the subject accentuates the healing process, “I wanted to write a novel that could both educate as well as entertain, one that the average reader could respond to as a page-turner that left them feeling both compassion and hope … The voices of the children whose stories are represented in this novel were very particular about how they wished to be heard.”

The book is filled with humor—which works as comic relief in the classically tragic sense—mystery, unexpected plot twists, revealed secrets and intrigue. In the structure of the novel a successful romance writer named Donna Jean Brava, “DJ,” has written an autobiography, Peeling the Onion, which provides the backstory of how DJ dealt with her own childhood abuse by her father and her uncles while suffering the cold indifference of her mother. Her recovery shows how love and friendship bring about her healing even though evil acts still lurk behind the door. As DJ’s family reads the manuscript and begins to unravel buried family secrets, the title of Ms. Dawber’s novel becomes painfully appropriate.

This is an engaging page-turner for anyone who loves family drama full of secrets and intrigue as well as a cleverly structured mystery. Presented as a memoir within a novel, readers move through the main character's history of childhood trauma and healing. But it is her actions in the present that propel the story through a series of compelling revelations affecting numerous characters in unforeseen ways.

Wait Until I’m Dead! is an extraordinarily deft and sensitive treatment of a weighty subject. Hate and love vie for the upper hand as victims and perpetrators fear the same fate: “What if people find out?” Elda Dawber’s lifetime dedication to abused children is evident in the way she presents the complexity of such a problem and leaves the reader inspired, hopeful, and even optimistic that healing from this kind of abuse is possible. 

for immediate release

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Jocelyn Kelley
at 617-680-1976 or email

“Elda’s rich descriptions virtually pull the reader into a relationship with the main character. The unfolding of the character’s history is clever, seamlessly woven into the present. A must read!”--Geraldine Crisci, MSW, trauma specialist

“I’ve known Elda Dawber for years as a pioneer in child welfare and protection work yet I had no idea that she could write a fiction book that had me totally mesmerized from the moment I began until long after I put it down. I couldn’t stop talking about the richness of the characters, the deep sense of compassion and the intensity of the action.”--Cordelia Anderson, M.A., Founder/President, Sensibilities Prevention Services author of The Impact of Pornography on Children, Youth, and Culture.

In Wait Until I’m Dead! the author introduces the reader to child sexual abuse—something about which they may know little or nothing. She both entertains and teaches the reader throughout her story. Highlighting of the extensive and comprehensive work done by Children’s Advocacy Centers not only provides an interest for the characters, but also brings readers face-to-face with this clandestine, endemic problem faced by millions every day.”--
Pat Stanislaski, Director, Partnering for Prevention


A Novel by Elda M. Dawber, LICSW

Publisher: EMD Press (2015)

346 pages

Trade Paperback: ISBN 978-1499766349

Price: $14.50

Kindle e-Book: ASIN: B00K8D3M68

Price: $4.99  

Wait Until I'm Dead! Novel

About the Author:

Elda M. Dawber, LICSW, is a nationally known, award winning clinical social worker whose forty-plus-year professional career has been dedicated to working with children and adults victimized by childhood sexual abuse. She has educated fellow professionals at local, regional, and national conferences on topics related to interpersonal violence, sexual harassment and bullying, compassion fatigue, personal safety, and LGBTQ youth. In 2008, she was honored to receive the NASW-RI Chapter President’s Distinguished Service Award for her decades of contribution to the field. Elda lives in Rhode Island with her wife and extended family.

Visit Elda Dawber’s website: