I graduated from University back in 1993, and was a couple of months out when one of my former high school teachers called me up. She’d been doing some research on a book she wanted to write, only she wasn’t entirely sure how to start it, or how to develop it. We spent a couple of days together going over ideas, then she went off to write. Two weeks later, she called and asked if I wanted to co-author the book. I’d never completed a book yet, so I agreed.
The genre wasn’t my first choice. I’ve never been a history buff. It just didn’t interest me, but I had the chance to tell a story, and to tell it well. It took four years to write, often with just a couple of hours spent each evening after I’d get out of work at the factory, and then even longer to find a publisher. We did eventually find one, but only after I’d gone solo and published “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation.”
We were still learning back then. My first publisher printed books out of their garage, so the first version of “A Funny Thing…” was a bit of a disaster. The publisher of the historical book (the title we chose is “Honor Unbound,” and it’s published under a different name than Kage Alan) didn’t tell us until after the contract was signed that they were slapping a $40 price tag on a 180-page soft cover book. Per our contract, we wouldn’t receive any royalties until a thousand copies had been sold. We never even came close.
My co-author and I had a bit of a falling out a couple of years after the book came out. It seemed like a big deal at the time, and maybe it was. Or maybe it wasn’t. It felt like one to me. In retrospect, I can understand why I was upset, and that it shouldn’t have happened. On the other hand, I can see why she did what she did. Does it matter so much now? No. And whatever bad blood I’ve felt has long since washed away.
I was talking to her last night, and she’s having some health issues. Serious issues. Her dream had been this book, and then maybe another after. Sadly, because of the cost of the book, there weren’t many people who were going to take a chance on it.
After a conversation with her last year, and with her blessing, I contacted the publisher, and got the rights back for us. We now own the book again, and I am in the process of going through and editing my first baby. Once I’m finished, I’ll have another editor look it over, make sure I didn’t miss anything, then it’s getting a new cover, and going up on Amazon.
We’ll have better copies, more affordable copies, and, provided her health improves, she’ll be able to do some local lectures and sell/sign copies. I know she really, really wants to, and it’s worth making that happen for her.
“Honor Unbound” is a hybrid book. It’s not a non-fiction biography, but rather a non-fiction novel. The people are real, the situations are real, but it’s told in story form. I may not have been a fan of history, only I loved the idea of doing something I felt was unique. And, for those of you wondering, it’s about a woman, Sarah Emma Edmonds, who disguised herself as a male, and fought in the United States Civil War.
It’s not a happy story, but it is a good story. I’m proud to have written it 20 years ago, and all too happy to revise it a bit for its upcoming second release.
My baby has grown up.