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‘Birthing’ another book

December 4, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , The Leader Herald

I just gave "birth" to another book; it is the sixth book I have created for the Arcadia Publishing Company's Images of America series. Each book consists of more than 200 vintage photographs with the descriptive captions. In my estimation, Arcadia has become the greatest savior of local history in America, and local history is the real history of our nation. Although it is much like the birth of a child, the birth of a book takes more than nine months.

Image Adirondack book, number five, "Adirondack Hotels and Inns," authored by myself, came out in 2008; I worked on the latest one, "Adirondack People and Places," since that time. My original plan was to have it out for this holiday season, but the publisher had a different marketing plan; they like to release my Adirondack books for the summer to take advantage of the big seasonal market. Plans were made to have it released by the press in April, but they soon changed.

I received a call from the editor to see if I could have it done by Dec. 20. I agreed, only to get a second call, asking for it by the end of November. Another call then came offering a 2 percent increase in royalties if I could get it in before Thanksgiving-which I did. I still do not know when they plan to release it.

I would have been unable to do six books if I had not been a collector and scholar of the Adirondacks for more than 50 years. On the one hand, that is good, but - on the other hand - it gets me in trouble. When I wrote "Along the Adirondack Trail", I got a call teling me I went over 20,000 words. I told them no one told me that I could not go over 20,000 and they responded, "No one else ever did!" I did it again; I got the manuscript back indicating I had 22,000 words, and the limit is now 18,000. Apparently, the computer counts the words and it counts every little a, is, it, etc. So, though it broke my literary heart, I had to take out some of those great bits of vivid Adirondack information that make it more interesting.

"Adirondack People and Places," the sixth in the series, will probably be my last; I like to think of it as "The Compleat Adirondacks," somewhat "compleating" the Adirondack story. Combined with the other five books, it tells that story of a place called "Adirondack." The story of New York's Adirondack Mountains is best told through the historic past - showing a diverse people, unique places, unlimited pursuits and the opportunities for interesting pastimes? - using vintage photographs and detailed captions. One editor exclaimed that each of my books was two books - the photographs told the story, and the detailed captions told the story. And to know this rich history of the Adirondack Region in New York state is to know "the compleat Adirondacks!"

The Adirondacks have fulfilled many purposes for the residents and the recreationists who have been attracted to her depths over the years. The forested hillsides and waterways of the region have provided inspiration and rejuvenation for some and livelihood for others. Settlers, sportsmen, loggers, artists, writers, campers, hikers, camp builders and those who love outdoor activities have beaten a path to the Adirondacks. They have found their places, pursued their dreams and enjoyed happy pastimes among the trees and around the lakes in the shadows of the high peaks. Have you found your Adirondack place?



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