Being on the road doing research for and selling my books has brought me many wonderful friendships. Happily, it has also brought me some paying work in helping other aspiring authors.
Dwight Hayes runs a photography studio in Rocky Mount. I met him while doing research on my upcoming book, Harmonic Highways. He admitted that for some time, he’d been interested in writing a book to document his transition from Jehovah’s Witnesses to a more mainstream denomination of Christianity. When I encouraged him to get started, he asked if I would be willing to coach him along the way. We came to terms and for the past several months, he has been sending me chapter drafts which I have edited and hopefully improved. If all goes well, his book will be ready for publication soon.
I met Jeremiah Heaton in Abingdon, also while I was working on Harmonic Highways. He was in the midst of a quixotic campaign for Congress, having the backing of neither political party. He said he was interested in documenting his quest, once the campaign was over. When we traded email last week, he said he’d been able to catch up on all the things undone during the campaign and was ready to begin a conversation about working together on this book. We’ll see where that goes.
Louise Belmont is an heiress to the founding family of Reynolds Metals. I met her while working on my first book, The Spine of the Virginias. She mentioned that the tiny village of Critz, Virginia, was the hometown of her grandfather, who founded the company. His brother, J.R. Reynolds was also an entrepreneur, founding the eponymous tobacco company. She said there were several other successful entrepreneurs from the same village. She suggested that a book might be written about the community and its masters of industry. In our short conversation, it was unclear whether she wanted to write it herself perhaps with my help or whether it was a suggestion that I write it. Further conversations are in order.
Hopefully these and more opportunities will arise and come to fruition as I continue to roam the hills and valleys of the central Appalachians. How about you? Got any ideas?