I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
About a year ago, I began working with Maria Mullally on editing her memoir, "My Journey Through World War II." Those I've spoken to since then may have heard me say this, but today I certainly need to put it in writing: This is the best story I have worked on in more than 25 years as a writer and editor.
The book covers Maria's teenage years during World War II and is basically told in three parts. First, she escapes suburban Antwerp on foot with her family when the Nazis march in. Second, she spends the early years of the war in London doing war work, supporting the Allied cause, and having adventures in one of the world's great cities. And then she meets a young American from South Dakota on a street corner near Hyde Park one night, her future husband, Bill. As the war goes on, they fall in love, marry, meet up again in liberated Paris, and travel to their new post-war lives in America. As we worked, Maria said to me, "You like this part the best, don't you?" about their lovely romance. I most certainly did. A story like this comes along probably once in a lifetime, and Maria and Bill lived it.
We completed the book right around Labor Day, and Maria self-published, the paper copies coming available right around Christmas. In early February, we got it posted to the Kindle store. Now that the original press run is pretty much depleted, we had talked about other options, including a print-on-demand service and uploading it to an independent e-book distributor, but Bill's declining health put those conversations on hold.
Today, Bill's daughter reported that he has died. My heart is broken for my friend and the end of a love story that has lasted almost 75 years. Maria's dream is that a publisher will pick up this book and distribute it widely - and then it will get made into a movie. I hope that, too, but it takes contacts neither of us have, a whole lot of luck, and possibly years of waiting - hence the self-publishing.
I don't believe in using social media to sell myself and my work, but I would like to thank Maria for letting me help with this beautiful memoir. And, I want to encourage anyone who can to read it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime story. The best I've had the privilege to work on.