I began writing my book over two years ago. I have written most of my life, and have published a number of articles and other short pieces in academic journals and odd corners over the years. I always wanted to write books, but between finishing my degrees, having children and a family, and pursuing my calling as a teacher, writing was always secondary.
After my father passed away from a virulent and unexpected brain cancer, and my mother began to suffer a steep decline into dementia, I faced my own bout with parotid gland cancer, two surgeries, radiation therapy, and an unconnected thyroidectomy. In the midst of all that, I came to the realization that the time had come to start pursuing the dreams I had not yet attained. My father and I had spent many happy afternoons in movie theaters, and I began to watch some of his favorite movies to feel closer to him. One day, the idea of writing a book about those movies we had loved together struck me. I quickly began thinking of some new way of approaching movies, and WHO Won?!? was born.
As I cared for my mom in the last year of her life, and dealt with my own health issues, I began watching the thousands of movies which make up this project, often with my mother, which was enjoyable for her, because she remembered many of them at a time when her more recent memories were damaged and vanishing. As I struggled with her memory loss, I found myself using the words I wrote as a way of preserving memories of the movies we watched.
She was very pleased to see me writing, and she even managed to read the early chapters (although she would forget them within hours afterward). Her life and my own illnesses ended at about the same time — but whenever I wrote, from then until now, I feel closer to my parents.
I completed the first draft of Volume One in November 2011 (1927-1943), and immediately moved into Volume Two (which covers 1944-1958). Numerous revisions and editing sessions interlaced with the more recent viewings. As I began to consider the routes to publishing, I discovered that the traditional paths were breaking down under the pressures of ebooks (the brilliant and highly aware Kristine Kathryn Rusch published extensive advice in her blog “The Business Rusch” which simply cannot be bettered for understanding this new world). While I have always longed to have a traditional publisher select my book, the case is such that that pattern is crashing down around us.
Fortunately, one of the new breed of publishers, the ones who understand that an author’s work is his own and the lion’s share of the profits belong with the originator, took one look at my book and offered to publish it. While I could have self-published, I discovered that the value of a highly professional editor and publisher are still beyond price today, as they always have been. The difference is that today the writer is more in charge than ever before. I could not be happier with the expertise and hard work of the indefatigable Deb Houdek Rule and Variations on a Theme Press.
After many long days of indexing and editing and typesetting — and a month-long battle over the cover — we were finally ready to go to press on November 4, 2012.
As of right now, I have almost finished 1951, with a number of entries from the Fifties completed already. I’m enjoying the process as much as ever, as much as I’m enjoying hearing what people think about the book (and except for one unbelievably dense review which ignored several versions of reality and the English language, they have been remarkably perceptive and positive). I’m working on getting several interviews and book talks in place, as well as getting the books into the hands of reviewers.
I’m looking forward to hearing more from my readers, more than anything else!
If you’d like to buy my books, WHO Won?!? An Irreverent Look at the Oscars, V. 1: 1927-1943, v. 2, 1944-1952, and V. 3: 1953-1963 please follow the links below — and thanks for having such good taste!
Link for V. 1: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPEELH0