I've dropped a few hints here about my new publishing venture but the website is now live and the first book is over in printing-land (with a pub date of Nov 1st) and I can finally, finally, finally tell you the whole story.
It has been killing me to keep this quiet.
A year ago I was complaining to my old and dear friend Katrina (who did a great job publicizing my book in Alaska) about all the ways in which the publishing world drives me crazy. (Every author I know will understand this conversation.) In particular we discussed great Alaskan books that were relatively unknown or had fallen out of print and The Flying North, the classic title of Alaska's golden age of aviation, came up.
We both love that book and I especially adore it. The Flying North had a huge impact on my graduate thesis and as anyone who read my book and saw it quoted there will know, it certainly affected my own writing. It's a well written, funny, interesting and important book about a time and group of men of who still affect how the world sees Alaska. (They were the ones who created the bush pilot myth.) Originally published in 1945, The Flying North has been out of print for the past couple of decades and we thought that was a crime so, crazy as it seems, we decided to bring it back.
I can't stress that crazy part enough.
Long story short, we tracked down the author's children, researched the old publishing agreements to make sure it was free and clear contractually, typed in the entire text (it nearly killed me), combed the state's digital archives to obtain some fabulous photographs, enticed a great Alaskan artist to do the cover, enlisted the assistance of a wonderful designer (folks familiar with the trade paperbacks from Tin House will recognize elements of our design with french flaps, etc.) and we copy edited. A LOT.
The epic amount of proofing and copy editing, especially of the index, deserves it's own entry. (There was a lot not because we changed the original edition but because I typed it and made some mistakes. Also, we had to include footnotes clarifying some things in the text and updating some information. Plus, the word de-icing now doesn't have a hyphen. And take off is now one word. And there were comma issues in the text - like crazy comma issues! I could go on and on.)
But now we have it in the printing process and soon we will have real hard copies and it will be out and about (and available to purchase online, promise!) and the whole wide world will have The Flying North again.
And we did it. We talked about something we thought was wrong, something we thought should be fixed and we did it. We brought a book back from the dead. My friend Katrina and I....well, it's a small thing and it won't bring peace to the world or cure dreadful diseases or stop climate change or convince Congress to grow up (please!) but still we did something. And I think that is a pretty big deal when you think about it. I think it's something to be proud of.
Next month the two of us will be in Haines and I will be speaking on The Flying North and how we came to "find" it again at the Alaska Historical Society conference. And in October we will be at PNBA letting all the wonderful Pacific NW booksellers know about it (and the other book we will have out by Xmas - more on that soon).
There will be much on Shorefast Editions in the future. Today, I just wanted to let you all know that's out there and we did it and I'm very very excited.