Thoughts on Writing ‘Bold They Rise’


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Now that it’s here and I can hold the finished product in my hand and the work is all done, I can actually reflect a little on the journey to here. And by here I mean the point at which I hold in my hand a hard-bound volume of words — aka a book — that I co-authored.

Many people have asked me questions that are typical when someone publishes a book. How did you come up with the idea for the book? What was it like finding a publisher? Why did you write about that topic?

But of those experiences I can offer nothing of value because this project came to me, I didn’t go to it. I was asked to help with Bold They Rise when other authors were unable to stay on the project. So my book-authoring and publishing experience is quite a-typical. The idea, title, scope, publisher, method, everything was already decided.

When I signed on, though, the initial manuscript was due in six months; it took us 12. We spent the next year to a year and a half in the editing phase where reviewers read the manuscript and gave us feedback, and then we made changes, deletions, additions, etc. based on that feedback.

Finally, this past year the publisher approved it for publication and the task list has varied from reading grammar and punctuation edits, to proofing the final layout, to gathering photos and photo captions, to soliciting the foreword and promotional blurbs.

Bottom line? It’s a whole heckuva lot of work to publish a book.

It was a marathon not a sprint.

There were times I wanted to quit. In fact, there were times I tried to quit because some of the personal things that were going on in my life were making it extremely difficult to continue. So if there’s one lesson I’ve learned from this it’s endurance.

I have friends who thought this book was never going to come out — I thought that too sometimes — because every time they’d ask about it I’d say, “we’re still editing” or “we’re waiting to hear back” or “one more round of reviews.” One friend even commented that she had two babies in the time it took me to write one book. It was, at times, quite the stressful experience.

So now it’s all done, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I’m really hoping people like it. Truth be told: I’m kinda nervous for people to read it.

It’s a uniquely told story about the space shuttle program from the earliest ideas all the way through its first major failure, the loss of Challenger. The story tellers in “Bold They Rise” are the astronauts that flew on the shuttle. Who better to tell such a story? They are candid, sincere and often funny as they tell anecdote after anecdote about their experiences. It really has been a fun story to capture.

While Bold They Rise will certainly make you laugh, I hope it also opens readers’ eyes to a realization that what these guys and gals did was extraordinary. Risky. Bold. Awesome. It’s my hope that as people read it they will journey back in time and experience a little bit of real spaceflight adventure alongside the astronauts who where there.

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