Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Birth of a Book

Diane has been encouraging The Sisters to help her keep up with this blog. You'd think writers would never run out of things to say, but trying out a new gizmo--like blogging--can be a bit intimidating!

I thought I'd use my blog space to walk you through the process of creating our next book. Our first collaboration, Women of Granite: 25 New Hampshire Women You Should Know, is off to the printers. We should have our first copies in hand within the next few weeks. It's easy to forget all the steps that took us to this point.

Soon, we will begin a second book in the series: For the Commonwealth: 25 Massachusetts Women You Should Know. It'll be some weeks before we actually get down to work as a team. We are currently busy preparing some workshop and conference presentations. When those are over, the serious work of research and writing will begin, right?

Actually, it has already begun. As a small press publisher, it's my job to decide on what kinds of books I'd like to produce. Women of Granite (WOG, as The Sisters call it) was a result of a wish I'd verbalized at a Sisters meeting about a year ago. It will take about that long to get the Massachusetts title done.

I've been hard at work compiling a list of extraordinary Massachusetts women. I've read for hours: books, historic society lists, lists of famous women, etc. The Sisters have sent me suggestions whenever something suitable cropped up in their research. As of today, I have 45 names on the list. I need to cut it to 25 women.

I want a list that allows kids to read about 4 centuries, about 10 careers, minorities as well as white women. Because of the limitations women faced in regards to career choices in the early centuries, I've got a plethora of writers and, if they married rich, philanthropists. Professional athletes don't show up until the 20th century. Not too many scientists, either. Fortunately, religious martyrs seemed to have peaked in the 1600s.

I will attempt to have a basic list of 25 for The Sisters to start with. As we research & interview, we'll find reasons to drop some and add others. We want to present women who faced challenges. We want to present topics kids can read more about. And, The Sisters want to write profiles that fascinate them.

Stay tuned. The process is just beginning!


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