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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Production of a Book, Part One

Those who follow this blog (and say good things about it) deserve an explanation for the long silence since the post about the Well Travelled Bow and the sudden rush of new ones.

I have been Writing.  An intensive two-year slog has resulted in the manuscript of a biography, of a remarkable Tahitian who sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavour.  It is called Tupaia, Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator.  While I once edited the journals of Mary Brewster, who sailed on the whaleship Tiger in 1845, and included a potted biography in the commentary, I have never written a biography before.  I have developed a profound respect for biographers.  It is not easy.  Bringing a dead person to life on the page is a challenge.  Goodness knows how they manage with people who are still alive.

Meantime, we have travelled a lot, and communicated with many interesting and helpful people.  The British Library and I have negotiated for images and permissions to use the same -- vastly important, because Tupaia was a remarkable artist.  (Not that they were known as "artists" back then -- artists were skilled craftsmen on shore, and skilled navigators at sea -- and men and women who produced paintings were painters.) 

Anyway, Tupaia has been born, had a remarkably adventurous life, and died, and the manuscript is now on the desks of editors in both the USA (Praeger) and New Zealand (Random House).  What happens next? 


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