MY SECOND BOOK – On Sacred Ground – is coming along well. In fact, it’s almost done. The manuscript is fully written, and, aside from a few extra passages, it has been professionally edited.
Alex Roddie, my editor, returned the manuscript to me shortly before Christmas. Since then, I’ve been working through his edits obsessively. His response to the book has been greatly encouraging. Here’s what he posted on Instagram while he was working on the text:
‘Currently working on the absolutely captivating ‘On Sacred Ground’, the second book by @terrillonfoot, which describes the second half of a massive walk from the southern tip of Italy to the northernmost point of Norway. Working on this has been an incredible adventure. The writing is exquisite and right now I’m being carried away with Andrew on his journey through the Norwegian fjells. I wrote of his first book, ‘The Earth Beneath My Feet’, that it was one of the best books about long-distance hiking I’d ever read. Its sequel might just be the best. I’ve never read anything that so perfectly captures the beauty and pathos of what it is to be young and on a life-changing journey. It’s had me in tears more than once.’ (@alex_roddie)
Thank you, Alex!
I love the process of working with a great editor. Most of all, I find it creatively satisfying to be pushed to ‘be more’. No one knows the story better than myself, but Alex has an expert’s understanding of the subject and genre, a professional’s grasp of what a book needs to say and how it should say it, and enough distance from my journey to see where the story can be improved. Aside from correcting my inevitable grammatical errors and applying tricks to keep the story in the moment, Alex identified several areas that needed further development, including a brilliantly insightful suggestion that I write a new opening chapter to better set the scene. The result is a book that seamlessly picks up the story from where The Earth Beneath My Feet left off but will also work well for readers who might not have read the first book.
From the years I’ve spent thinking about it, writing it, rewriting it, redeveloping it (after receiving incredible beta reader feedback), and then professional editing, I’m thrilled by how the manuscript has come together! Every step in the journey has been worth taking.
The next stage of the process is to draw the maps and typeset the book, then create advance copies to send to media reviewers. I’m also aiming to approach a few mainstream publishers, just to see if there is any interest. The Earth Beneath My Feet has been well received by readers and professional reviewers. I am curious to see if its success means anything within the mainstream publishing world!
In addition to the very kind post above, Alex has also publicly called the book ‘a masterpiece’ – a truly thrilling accolade! And in an email to me, he wrote: ‘Well, I am done! What an incredible adventure. The Norway section was just as good as you hinted it would be, and I don’t mind telling you that the last chapter, as you approached the North Cape, had me in tears. I have never read another book about long-distance walking that so perfectly captures the intensity of emotion to be experienced on an adventure like this – and I think that it will come across just as powerfully to non-hikers as well. I’m confident in saying that this is better than ‘The Earth Beneath My Feet’. It’s certainly the best book about long-distance walking I’ve ever worked on, and by a big margin. It’s beyond most published books in the genre I’ve read. You should be extremely proud with what you’ve created here.’
Of course, whether it IS a worthwhile read (or not) will ultimately be down to you and other readers to decide. But I can’t wait to find out, either way!
Away from my computer and writing, I’ve managed to spend a reasonable amount of time wandering and sleeping in the hills over the last week or so. I’ve stepped foot upon wild terrain every day of the year, and have also managed five night’s out so far – a great start to this year’s second attempt at the ‘Fifty-two Night Quest’.
The photos below chronicle the last ten days. They show winter coming and going – the fascinating ebb and flow of snow, ice and warm sunshine in Colorado’s Front Range. Wearing thermals one day, then shorts the next, means that life on foot here is never boring!