I first wrote about Ken Ascher by mentioning his and Paul Williams’ name in my Unruly Mix book last summer. In the story, I wrote about “You and Me Against the World,” the compelling song they co-wrote, made famous by Helen Reddy.
The story about this song and the events that followed made writing more fun and opened opportunities.
Starting with the story, I chose to ask Ken and Paul for permission to publish it. It wasn’t easy to get contact info, and I didn’t expect a reply, but if they ever complained about it, they couldn’t say that I didn’t ask for their permission.
Not long after, Paul responded. I sent him the story. He read it and sent me a friendly, artistically funny response, using lyrics from one of his songs. It gave me a huge boost to hear directly from one of my musical idols. It also gave me the energy and confidence to write a couple more stories of a similar nature for the book.
The book is almost complete at that point, and I feel better about it. It gives me the confidence to ask permission from an artist friend to use one of his works for the cover. Surprisingly, he agrees, and now the project is on its way.
I decide to go for the “wide” (all book retailers) release instead of just Amazon. Many authors I’ve discovered stick with Amazon because they don’t want to pay to market it, and it’s easy to do the whole process with Amazon. You just can’t sell it anywhere else.
As a result, my world was opened to many more editors, proofreaders, etc., and I received valuable feedback before my release. A few suggested a website for the book with a weekly blog was imperative. I just went ahead and did it. I also did a site for the cover artist and have a standing offer for the illustrator.
This got me writing even more, which opened a new line of friends who read the blog posts even if they didn’t read the book. It also got me back into research, which I used to be good at, but abandoned when I ended my career as a reporter.
I spent a long stretch of last summer in Connecticut, particularly Bridgewater, on which the fictional setting in my book is loosely based. Not the town as much as the characters in it.
The research taught me a lot and led me back to some of the characters that originally inspired me, giving me more material. I never knew much about Bridgewater other than the people who lived there.
Stay tuned for Part II ...