But Will They Like It?

We’ve put in our years crafting the story–more than three since the day when Roger Guay sent that first e-mail asking if we could talk. That talk led to more talks. To long days driving around in Roger’s green truck, talking about the stories that every twist and turn in the road seemed to make him recall. Roger drove. Roger told stories. Kate tried to hold a small tape recorder so that Roger’s voice could be heard over the roar of the engine and the crunch of tires on dirt roads around Greenville.

On our first day out, Roger’s wife Jolene rode with us, editing, amplifying, and correcting. We drove to Jackman, where Roger grew up. Out to Holeb. Past family camps and the scenes of Roger’s happily misspent youth. I was introduced to a form of maple sap collection I’d never seen before–thin pipes to carry the sap winding their way through the forest to the sugar house.

We passed a strange-looking man at the side of the road, and after a brief conversation, Roger climbed back into the truck and remarked: Stoned out of his mind. At a second stop, Jolene got out with her gun and shot a grouse.

There were more rides in the truck. And a meeting in the Hartland Library. And the Curtis Library in Brunswick. Meetings in the lobby of a hotel in North Andover, Massachusetts. And in a seaside cottage in Harpswell. Meetings as we made our way through the story: Talking, translating, writing, clarifying, amplifying, rewriting. A long time later, dozens of hours of interviews had been turned into a book.

Then came the next hard part: It is not enough to write a book. We had to convince a publisher that it was worthy of publication. For that, because Kate will always admit that she HATES writing book proposals and would rather have a root canal without anesthesia, we called on a wonderful woman located through Elance who lives in Atlanta. She took our rough material, gave it a marketing spin, and voila…we had something to show to an editor.

Then the editor at Skyhorse put us all through it again. Check. Clarify. Rearrange. Explain.

Then there are those final moments. Are the names spelled right? How is the geography? Are there some stories where the suspects shouldn’t be identified? But at long last, so long the writers have become old friends, not new friends, the book appears.

As the process of getting the word out slowly evolves, one thing that authors always hold their breaths about is the matter of reviews.

This week, we got our first one–from John Holyoke at the Bangor Daily News. And after a few anxious moments, we began to breathe again. He liked it. He thinks YOU should read it. http://outthere.bangordailynews.com/2016/04/21/books/not-your-average-retired-warden-book-a-good-man-with-a-dog-worth-a-read/