Writing books is a little like giving birth. You start with an idea, let it mull around in your head for a while, finally get a plan together and start researching, photographing and writing. Then comes the big wait, while the lay-up is done and someone edits your writing. We are blessed with an amazing publishing team. Bill Honeybone, our publisher is enthusiastic, full of ideas and absolutely knows his way around the publishing industry. It’s easy to be motivated when you’re around him. Cheryl Smith has done the layouts for five of our books and her creativity and ability to create beautiful page spreads is amazing. We are also really grateful to Antoinette Sturny, Kate Stone and Nicola McCloy who have had the unenviable task of editing our books and making sense of our sometimes, convoluted writing. Finally, it is sent off to Asia for printing and about three weeks later we get an advanced copy. Opening this is like the best Christmas present ever. The magic of holding the real copy and realising that you can breathe out – there are no horrendous mistakes, and actually it looks pretty good. We’re at that stage now with Vintage and Retro Caravans Downunder. The next excitement will come when we see them in the shops for the first time.
Co-writing this book was not without its challenges. Marilyn has an eye for the visuals, with her photography background, and Don knows exactly what he wants to say. Most of the time we are in accord, but just occasionally we come from those two planets Mars and Venus and have to compromise somewhere in the middle of the solar system! This is especially true when it comes to writing about our own caravans. In the latest book, we wrote about the Restoration of Daisy Mae, a 1958 Liteweight Kiwi we picked up from Cheltenham Beach. The plan was for it to be fully restored by the time we had finished writing the book, but, and there is always a but when it comes to timetabling a restoration project like this, the back end with its complicated shower and toilet unit was still being designed in Don’s imagination and hadn’t yet come to fruition. Being reluctant to photograph an incomplete caravan, because of its lack of visual appeal, and knowing it wasn’t going to be finished by deadline date, Marilyn decided that with a little wide angle maneuvering she could snap a forward-facing shot, which miraculously didn’t show the not yet completed rear end. As it turns out the shower unit has only now, some three months later, become the focus of our attention again. You’ll be able to read about our progress with it, or lack thereof, on the caravan blog.
So, while we are waiting for the books to arrive by boat, we are busy thinking up ideas for our next adventure in writing.