Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Behind the Books: Fingers Crossed

Way back in 2007, my friend and fellow nonfiction author Mary Kay Carson and I developed a proposal for a group of disaster/weather books at the request of a major publisher. She would write boosk about about tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. I would write books about about volcanoes, earthquakes, and either wildfires (my idea) or tsunamis (the publisher’s idea).

The proposal included some great, innovative elements, such as stand-alone interviews with survivors and scientists working in related fields; storytelling through detailed diagrams and dramatic images with extended captioning; and profiles of major storms/eruptions/quakes in history. We were very excited. And so was the publisher.

Mary Kay and I signed contracts, received the first half of our advances, and then—Nope, we didn’t get down to work. Instead, the publisher asked us to put on the breaks. They wanted to re-think their future direction.

Uh-oh! I’ve heard talk like that before, and it’s usually bad news. Very bad--especially because a recession was looming.

So we waited and we waited and we waited. We wondered if the series would be cancelled. We wondered if we’d have to return our advances. We wondered if we’d ever get to write the cool books we had in mind

Then we found out our editor had left and gone to another publisher. Double uh-oh!

So what finally happened? You’ll find out next week.

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