Hey, Mom. A book contract just arrived in the mail!

Cicerone-delNorte001Wow, this fall has seen a lot of changes in my life. My marital status changed to “separated,” I moved in with someone I’ve loved for the last 26 years (my 26 year old son), I sold my car. and I’ve signed a contract to write a book. The first item includes more complexities, sadnesses and ambivalence than I could possibly explain in a blog post. The second item is a great joy. Who’d have thought that I’d live in a great apartment with one of my favorite people in the world who just happened to be looking for a roommate at the same time as me? The third item is a challenge. I’ve had a car since I was 16 and even bike-friendlyish slash transit-equipped Seattle isn’t the easiest place to get around in without a car. The final item is a delight — researching and writing a book will give a little structure and meaning to my private life in 2014.

Here’s how it all happened. Last July I wrote a review of a Cicerone Press guidebook for my blog and for the Internet Camino Forum I help moderate. I made contact with the editor so I could run the review past the book’s author. Then on a whim I asked her if the press she works for ever works with new authors. The answer was “yes,” and soon I was in contact with the publisher himself. He asked for my qualifications and a synopsis, was interested, and then asked for a writing sample, a detailed outline, and sample photographs. While I was at my sister’s house in Hawaii in September (taking a break from  my marriage breakup) I researched my potential itinerary, drafted the writing sample and chose the photos I’d use. When I returned from Hawaii I sent in my submission — and earlier this month it was approved. I had a conversation with the publisher over the phone, and then a couple of weeks later a contract arrived in the mail.

My book will be a walking guide to “The Saint Francis Way,” a 550 kilometer walk from Florence, to Assisi to Rome. As I discovered last year, there’s no guidebook in English for this route and it’s a truly spectacular walk — every bit as amazing as the Camino de Santiago — and it ends with a genuine apostolic tomb (or two, or three) at the finish!

Early next year I’ll begin researching the walk by reading books on St. Francis and doing Internet surfing about important sites along the route. Next summer I’ll walk the full route, carefully taking notes, GPS readings, and photographs. When I return I’ll gather these together and, by the terms of the contract, will have them in publishable form to Cicerone Press by December 31, 2014. The result will be a book very much like the one in the photo above, only with the name “Sandy Brown” as author and the title “The St. Francis Way.”

San Damiano window with St. Francis preaching to all creatures.

San Damiano window with St. Francis preaching to all creatures

I love how this project will combine some of my favorite things — helping people discover the joys of pilgrimage, learning and explaining history, sharing stories of spirit and faith, and of course walking in Europe. As I look ahead it sends my mind back to the mid-1990’s as I was researching and writing my doctoral project. Lots of work, a tight, self-imposed deadline, and the reward of learning and growing. It also sends my mind back to last summer as I walked from Assisi to Rome with my dear friends, Sebi, Jacqueline and Andreas.Jacqueline has already been a big help as she sends me notes about the strategies revealed in the German language guide for this walk.

Over the next weeks I’ll make more detailed plans about schedules and flights. There’ll also be a lot of research to do about GPS mapping hardware and software. The next step will be convincing friends to join me and walk some of this amazing pilgrimage. After that, some language study, and then….next year, in Rome!

9 thoughts on “Hey, Mom. A book contract just arrived in the mail!

  1. …i am proud of you for your forthcoming “book,” and your “new” life with your son…

    …i hope you, and gail have not lost respect for each other through your “separation” though–if you know what i mean. not respecting someone else’s human dignity is not the way to go forward–in my humble opinion…

    …life is not easy my dear friend. we all need each other’s respect–i am affraid…

    …but, you walked the st francis way without a gps before; then why would you need one for your book, i wonder?

    …from early march next year–ie, 2014–i intend to walk from lisboa to santiago, and finisterre…

    …please, have a look at this http://www.daler-rowney.com/sitefiles/daler-rowney/images/00359_Interactive_map.pdf link to read a little about yours truly. I have changed my name to protect my identity! so, please, try not to be too critical–if you know what I mean…

    …now, what do i have to do if i wanted to walk with you next year on the “st francis way?” i could do some sketches, or carry your stuff for you, so you could gather your thoughts, etc! what do you say?

  2. Good job Sandy! You mentioned that you were working on uncovering “The Man God intended you to be”. This is part of your journey. You are one of the greatest orators I know with the exception of President Regan! You will be great, and you will be blessed!

  3. How exciting, I can hardly wait to read your book. I followed you on your last two pilgrimages and you inspired me to walk part of the way from Sarria to Santiago De Compostela. God Bless

  4. Muy bien hermano! Que felicidad saber que mi hermano va a escribir una guia por un camino! Me avises si hay algo en que te puedo ayudar!! besos y abrazos etc. etc. etc…..

  5. I did the Camino Frances last year and was actually looking at doing the Francis Way this year, but had the same issue with a lack of guides. I decided to do the Camino del Norte this summer and it looks like by next year we may have a guidebook for the Francis Way. I look forward to being one of your guinea pigs!

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