The Eagle County perspective in print
Vail, CO Colorado
Writing a book can be a daunting process. There are the endless hours of research, sleepless nights spent editing and then re-editing, convincing a publishing house to take on the project or making the decision to self publish. Seeing a book from start to finish – from the initial spark of an idea to a piece of printed work placed on a shelf in the bookstore – can take years. For all of the authors participating in The Bookworm’s Local Authors Showcase tonight, publishing a book has been a rewarding and perhaps harrowing experience, but also one filled with passion and determination.
“It is a lonely process. It’s just you, the plan in your head, and your computer… No doubt about it, writing a book is hard work,” said Kathy Heicher, author of “Early Eagle,” a historical look at the town of Eagle from the 1880’s to the 1940’s. “A love of local history and some ironic timing were key factors in my decision to become an author. I have long been a journalist in the valley, and have always particularly enjoyed writing feature stories about local history. I’ve been collecting historical information for my files for 38 years … I guess you could say it took me six months and 38 years to write the book.”
Many of the authors participating in the Local Author Showcase have written books that have strong local appeal. Dave Muller’s book, “Hikes in Colorado’s Holy Cross Wilderness,” details the trails and scenic landscape that could be referred to as the Vail Valley’s own backyard. Rick Spitzer’s “Colorado Mountain Passes” takes readers on a photographic journey over our state’s most accessible high country roadways. Sherwood Stockwell explores the historical architecture of Eagle County in his book, “Eagle County: a Graphic Guidebook.” These local authors all have one thing in common: they saw a niche to be filled, a lack of available information.
Dyana Furmansky, author of “Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy,” found herself on a similar path: working tirelessly to create a piece of history where there was none before. Her biography of Rosalie Edge has come to fill a gap in the history of environmentalism. “It seemed everybody had forgotten about Rosalie Edge, the conservation heroine who deserves to be seen as equal in stature to John Muir and Rachel Carson, and was the dominant conservationist in the decades between them,” said Furmansky. Now that Rosalie Edge has won both the Colorado Book Award and the Wormsloe Foundation’s Nature Book Award, it seems that this piece of history won’t soon be forgotten.
Beyond the quest to fill a gap in history or information, and the somewhat masochistic desire to write and re-write, and then edit and re-edit, many authors are simply fulfilling a lifelong dream to write. “My dream has always been to write – write books, write columns, just write. I have been writing books for years and have them put away but now it’s time to dig them out, renew them and turn them over to the public,” said Cathy Zeeb, author of “Begendings: A New Perspective,” a contemplative book on living in the moment.
Whether fiction or biography, history or travelogue, books open the readers’ eyes to a world they may not have seen before, even if that place is just out their back door. Local authors shrink the information gap even further, giving an artistic form to community ideas.
“I still think that there is nothing like holding a book in your hand,” said Rick Spitzer.