Yes and no. Certainly I have been quiet about it, here, for a little while!
Interrupted by life
My cover designer / book designer (same person) is currently on a road trip around Australia with her family – which is exciting, as we hope to meet up in person for the first time when they get to these parts, and for her to meet the cover artist too (who happens to be a neighbour of mine).
This trip was already planned when she agreed to help me, so she is working around it. Before it began, she brought my memoir to a good place to be able to pause, and will be resuming when she arrives back home. We are still looking at a launch later this year.
Meanwhile, as you may recall, we have been making plans to launch, simultaneously, a new edition of Blood from Stone, the poetry anthology which resulted from the Pentridge Prison workshops in the eighties, which are the subject of the memoir. I’ve asked a noted criminologist with knowledge of that prison to write a new Foreword. He too is away travelling at present (overseas) but has expressed interest.
Most exciting of all, he tells me he knows of several of the contributors: that many are still alive ‘and some are quite established in their new lives’. What wonderful news! Although he has no contact details, I am hoping there may be some way he could help me locate them. I still need renewed copyright permission, if possible, from about half the poets in the collection. Apart from which, it would just be so good to know which ones are doing well. Although I only kept in touch with a couple (for reasons which the memoir explains) I regarded them as friends.
Revising the plans
I had thought of making the re-issue of Blood from Stone a facsimile edition, but the original is so old, as well as having been created before the digital era, that scans just didn’t work well enough. I ended up retyping the whole thing – but it was labour of love – and adding a new explanatory note about the way the poems are arranged.
As much as possible, though, it will resemble the appearance of the first edition, including that brilliant cover.
Is two good company, but three a crowd?
I’ve also created a small spin-off chapbook of my own poems, written during the time of the workshops and since. My cover artist is currently working on an image for this book.
It is definitely connected to the other two books, but is much more personal, much less social history. And even though it’s short, I wonder if launching THREE books at the same time would be a bit much – even if I kept all prices low – and not necessarily for monetary reasons anyhow.
Would this slim volume be overshadowed by the others? Or might it deflect some of the attention they deserve?
Would I do better to release it a bit later? Or should it be tied to the others officially, as it is in fact?
Perhaps they should come as a package, to be sold together? But no, that would limit potential customers' right of choice.
Decisions, decisions…. Your opinions and suggestions are welcome!
Photo, of one of the old Pentridge buildings, © David A Nissen 2022
'Blood from Stone' cover © Allan Williams 1982