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The Life of a Book

As I pondered how to publish my first fiction novel, I found that Amazon offered the easiest path forward. I could publish my book, list it on Amazon, and have customers in the millions… however, when I thought about it some more, I realized that the most interesting books I’ve ever read and the best authors that I’ve followed through the years, came from recommendations by real people.

Instead of 5 star ratings and short write-ups, someone would ask, “have you read that new book by X”. Or they’d suggest, “you might like this book X”. When I replied that I hadn’t, they would get a light in their eyes and tell me about the wonderful book they had read. More often than not, I’d file it away to buy when I had a chance or if I was lucky they’d give me the copy they had just read.

In 2006 I discovered one of my favorite authors, Dervla Murphy, by chance. On a solo cycling trip in New Zealand, I met an Irish woman who was also cycling around the South Island. We spent a few days cycling together, during which, she told me about an Irish woman, Dervla, who had bicycled from Ireland to India in 1963. She wrote “Full Tilt”, about her adventure. That one suggestion has led to a lifelong love of Dervla’s books.

Herding sheep by bicycle on New Zealand's South Island

What was also remarkable about that trip is during that time I read more books about adventures written by women. As I read my way through New Zealand, I’d leave a book by women adventurers in a hostel or give it to another woman who was also traveling. I wanted to share stories written about women by women authors. I’d spent a lifetime developing a taste for adventure by reading books written by men. Now it was time to read adventure books written by women.

One of the first female jungle guides in Peru

When I visited Peru in 2008, I took a novel called “Adventure Divas”, By Holly Morris, with me. Holly was not only an adventure writer but she produced her own adventure Diva T.V. series on NatGeo. After reading her book, I gave it away to one of the first female jungle guides in the Amazon Rainforest of Peru. She was breaking norms in her own country and I wanted to share a story that would inspire her and let her know other women were also forging new paths around the globe. I wonder and hope she gave it to the next woman to read.

For my birthday, one year, I received a package in the mail from my aunt. In it contained a fiction book by a female author, Nevada Barr. It was the first novel written by her. It was a murder mystery located in a National Park and the main character was a female park ranger. I was hooked. I’ve since read every novel Nevada Bar has ever written.

So sometimes that’s how books get shared. By giving someone a book, or suggesting a good read they can discover a new story that might even change their life.

So if you like my book, please share it with others. You never know where it might end up. Maybe even a vintage used bookstore in Kingston Ontario, but that is a story for another blog post.

Photo of my novel from Veryl, my Canadian friend

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