If we were to title our main presentation when asked to speak, we would call it The 3 R’s: Reading, (w)Riting & Relationships. And that is not because Justin and I are both terrible at ‘Rithmatic!
It is the third R that has been the richest and most rewarding during our near 20-year literary sojourn.
Primary, of course, is the interaction Justin and I have had over the past 19 years working and playing together: developing characters, brainstorming story outlines, reading drafts out loud, acting out scenes and doing ‘live’ research (i.e. visiting the places we write about). There has been a lot of laughing and not a few editorial disagreements along the way!
And my wife, Carol, Justin’s mom, who does everything from the accounting books to the drawing the interior illustrations for the printed ones!
What we never could have anticipated, however, were the many other relationships that would develop over the years. Those who have been with us from the beginning, including our cover artist Susan Loeffler and those who have produced our files for the printer, Nancy and Yogi Best. Even from our print shop in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The sales gal who began working with us at Patterson Printing there, Pamela Thames, who now manages much of the plant. To us these are not business associates. These are our friends.
Then there are those experts in various fields we have interviewed, and volunteer models photographed for references to be used by our illustrators, and hosts at venues we have been writing about.
And oh, the wonderful authors and the illustrators and the educators and the children – children – children we had the privilege of meeting and to know!
Our second book, The Adirondack Kids® #2: Rescue on Bald Mountain, has been the source for making many new friends including Mrs. Aiello who invited us to join her classes to climb the mountain, and getting to meet the real Nancy Copeland mentioned in our book. She is now married with several of her own real Adirondack kids!
The most unusual and unlikely relationship to come from the book, however, occurred several short years ago when a rescue helicopter landed at an annual family Ready, Set, Fun event in Watertown, NY, hosted by WPBS-TV. The helicopter was there as an educational feature and was a big hit at the event and the pilot stopped by our booth where we signing our books. He noticed the second book in the series, picked it up and said, “I did a rescue on Bald Mountain a long time ago.”
When we got home we dug out our old newspaper articles and discovered the pilot we had met was, in fact, the same pilot who had performed the helicopter rescue on Bald Mountain which had given us the original idea for our story more than a decade earlier!
We contacted him, Roger Graham, and he arranged to bring the rescue helicopter to our annual Adirondack Kids Day® event. After landing the helicopter, kids were able to sit inside the aircraft at the controls.
Roger then autographed copies of our books with us (he signed the page with the helicopter!) all of which helped make it one of the most memorable Adirondack Kids Day™ to date.
The annual Adirondack Kids Day™ event is always held the first Saturday of October in the Adirondack hamlet of Inlet, New York! Its the home away from home for The Adirondack Kids®!
© 2018 Adirondack Kid Press, Ltd.