Storm before the Calm

A little after 2 months of waiting, I got an email from TouchWood Editions in Victoria expressing interest in publishing my book.

(Happy Dance Interlude)

I immediately phoned the publisher to talk about what that means.

  1. I had to get permissions from all the ladies biographied in the book for the use of their material (to the best of their memories) and any photos they were allowing me to use in the book.
  2. I had to sign a publishing contract.
  3. I had to be willing to doing some heavy lifting to edit the project by half (HALF!).
  4. And then I had to tell her that I was just about to leave the country for 2 months.

My husband and I had long desired to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, an ancient pilgrimage trail of approximately 800 kilometres across northern Spain. In January we had decided this would be the year and September and October would be the best time to go. So here I now was, so excited about getting my first book published, feeling daunted with the work ahead of me to get it print-ready, and having to tell this new important person in my life that the entire project would have to be put on hold for 2 months!

Thankfully, that did not put her off, and I spent the next 15 days learning what each clause of a publishing contract means, and getting permission forms off to all the women in the book. Some I could email, and received their signed return an hour later. Check, check! Others I had to mail, and include a self-addressed stamped envelope, hoping to get it returned before I left. Half check.

I also decided to send each woman a draft copy of their respective chapter. For one thing I wanted to be sure that I had all my facts right, or as right as their memories served. For another thing, I wanted to know now if there were any issues of concern. Even though everything included in the text was backed up by their own words on my interview tapes and notes, by more than one other person’s memories, or by actual facts, I knew that having an open conversation at the kitchen table is not the same thing as seeing the words staring back at them in black and white on a proverbial page, that everyone would see.

This was not something the publisher would have advised I am sure, but I wanted the women to feel their trust in me was merited, and that they were to be included in the editing process. I made sure to let them know that what they were receiving was only the very first draft of what would be an extensive editing process, and that they had the two months of my absence to respond with any corrections or changes they wanted made.

Full to the mental brim from this whirl of excitement, I then packed up my walking shoes and day pack, and left on what would be the antithesis, a rural walk that would calm my mind and reduce my focus to the next step in front of me, the smell of the air, and the sense of following in the footsteps of millions and millions of people who have walked this path over the last 1,000 years, as we set forth on a memorable journey of ultimately more than 1,000 km.

And, of course, there was a blog: