The space shuttle book is in its final, final stages, and a few months ago it was time to solicit cover blurbs and promotional quotes.
I really, really wanted to get a cover blurb/quote from astronaut Charlie Walker because he is featured extensively in the book as the first commercial payload specialist to fly into space AND because he hails from Lawrence County and Bedford, Indiana. My first real newspaper job was at the Times-Mail in Bedford, and the people there are super-proud of the three astronauts to come from their county. In addition to Walker, Lawrence County, Indiana, is birthplace to astronauts Gus Grissom and Ken Bowersox.
Having a quote from Walker on the cover of a book that I co-wrote will be significant to me in a very personal way. It’s paying a tad bit of homage to Lawrence County, Indiana, and The Times-Mail, without whom my career wouldn’t have taken the path it did and my participation in the book might not have happened. Too, it’s a little like an Easter egg or an inside joke because to most it will just be a quote by an astronaut on the cover of a book about astronauts. But to me, and a few close to me, it will mean more.
So, to go about getting a quote from Walker I contacted friends up there and was able to find a contact willing to contact Walker for me and ask him to contact me if he was interested.
Well, it wasn’t long til I got the following email from Walker himself.
I was floored.
I had hoped for something like “Yes, I’ll write a blurb,” so I was blown. a. way. that he was aware of the book and my Times-Mail history and that anyone ever, much a less a three-time flown astronaut, would use THE in all caps before my name.
Probably needless to say at this point, but I was all kinds of giddy.
And just for good measure, here’s a photo of Walker with my good friend Marla.
I’m dreaming here, but maybe someday I can have a picture of me, Walker, Marla and my book!