Hello Baby! Welcoming a book into the world

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Hmmm... great idea
Hmmm… great idea

Regular moms make cute little photo albums when their babies arrive. I’m about to bring a new book into the world — “The Other Mother: a rememoir” so why not create an album for my baby too?

kickoffinvite2So here goes. It takes more than the author to make a book. It takes a great story — burlesque dancer choreographs a life with unrequited novelist and teaches a young TV reporter the dance of truth, becoming her “Other Mother.” It also takes a partner — and for almost five years my husband Gary has been cheering me on.

He knows this story, inside and out
He knows this story, inside and out

But “The Other Mother: a rememoir” wouldn’t have happened without — okay here comes the baby  analogy — without midwifery of my publisher and editor: Susan Kammeraad-Campbell of Joggling Board Press. She took the manuscript of a former journalist and helped me deconstruct it. The story started fifty years before I was even born and I was trying to tell it chronologically, through stories Byrne told me over glasses of wine on her screened porch. It felt distant and restrained — nothing like the story that emerged after she showed me how to polish and string together the pearls.

Susan didn't care that Byrne wasn't famous. She saw the deeper story.
Susan didn’t care that Byrne wasn’t famous. She saw the deeper story.

And so began four years of research, writing and rewriting — interrupted by documentaries and video work to pay the bills. The former journalist in me loved the deep dive into Byrne and Duncan’s past. Even things I hadn’t thought important, turned out to be pivotal.

Duncan's unpublished manuscripts, after I finally figured out where I had buried them. In my own yard.
Duncan’s unpublished manuscripts, after I finally figured out where I had buried them. In my own yard.
I couldn't have verified the "pearls" of Byrne's story without the Special Collections at the Beaufort County Library
I couldn’t have verified the “pearls” of Byrne’s story without the Special Collections at the Beaufort County Library
I interviewed every sister-and-brother-by-Byrne I could, to corroborate the story. This is my Navajo brother Ben - one of Byrne's first collected children.
I interviewed every sister-and-brother-by-Byrne I could, to corroborate the story. This is my Navajo brother Ben – one of Byrne’s first collected children.
Me, outside the apartment in Greenwich Village where Byrne first lived with Duncan, fresh off her stint as a burlesque dancer on Vaudeville
Me, outside the apartment in Greenwich Village where Byrne first lived with Duncan, fresh off her stint as a burlesque dancer on Vaudeville
At the Lincoln Center, I watched films of Byrne's most celebrated teacher: the modern dance pioneer Harald Kreutzberg
At  Lincoln Center, I watched films of Byrne’s most celebrated teacher: the modern dance pioneer Harald Kreutzberg
I tracked down the exact spot where Byrne's first work of choreography was born - St. John's College in Santa Fe
I tracked down the exact spot where Byrne’s first work of choreography was born – St. John’s College in Santa Fe
Here she is, leading Ben Barney and other young dancers in "The Walls Between" -- fifty years ago.
Here she is, leading Ben Barney and other young dancers in “The Walls Between” — fifty years ago.
I knew I had a story that connected with people when the crowd at TEDx in Charleston gave Byrne's "womenisms" thunderous applause.
I knew I had a story that connected with people when the crowd at TEDx in Charleston gave Byrne’s “womenisms” thunderous applause.

Eventually the research phase was finished and Susan and I began the process of editing each pearl — chapter by chapter. Coming up with

a title was the hardest part… we called it everything from “Dancing with Byrne” to “The Adagio” before settling on the phrase that defined

her. Once we had that, the marketing phase began. I gave a TED talk and created business cards featuring Byrne’s sassiest womenisms.

snob

Byrne would have loved the design process — Torborg Davern did the spectacular cover and Shanna McGarry made the interior just as beautiful. Will Green got the social media ball rolling, making me Tumble, Tweet, Pin and Blog while the advance review copies went out to media, literary competitions and bookstores.  So far the reviews are amazing — from Lowcountry Weekly and the Beaufort Gazette.

Will, Susan and interns Jess, Izzy, Lizzy and Maddy all weighing in on changes we wanted to make to the advance review copy.
Will, Susan and interns Jess, Izzy, Lizzy and Maddy all weighing in on changes we wanted to make to the advance review copy.
Proofs of the book jacket - I love the happy Byrne on the front and fierce Byrne on the back.
Proofs of the book jacket – I love the happy Byrne on the front and fierce Byrne on the back.
I wrote a whole blog about the fashion of book covers.
I wrote a whole blog about the fashion of book covers.

While the books were being printed — in Minnesota, USA thank you very much —  we got to work planning the launch. Byrne taught

me well. Everything can be a party — from combing through mailing lists to figure out who died, remarried or moved, to

addressing envelopes. Byrne’s “collection” of children is still growing — even in her absence — because of this book.  I’m sure

she’s leaping through the air somewhere at the thought of it.

My sisters-by-Byrne, original and new, getting the word out.
My sisters-by-Byrne, original and new, getting the word out.
Lisa, Lolita and Larry -- making sure I don't forget anyone
Lisa, Lolita and Larry — making sure I don’t forget anyone

Yesterday, the books finally arrived from the printer. Six pallets worth. All of which had to be muscled from the end of Susan’s driveway to her warehouse — good thing for girl power. But at the end of the day I got to hold, in my hands, my baby. I just wish its Other Mother could have been there too, directing the new arrival.

I have trouble imaging the publisher of a NY house doubling as manual labor. That's me with the hat, doing the author's part as well
I have trouble imaging the publisher of a NY house doubling as manual labor. That’s me with the hat, doing the author’s part as well
She's perfect! (of course, the baby's a she) All embossed letters intact and touchable :)
She’s perfect! (of course, the baby’s a she) All embossed letters intact and touchable 🙂

10 thoughts on “Hello Baby! Welcoming a book into the world

    Will said:
    September 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Awesome baby album!

    Like

    teresabrucebooks said:
    September 17, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    wanna see some photos of my old dog sometime?

    Like

    Jet Eliot said:
    September 17, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Congratulations! And thanks for sharing this special and hard-won process.

    Like

    Beth Ruoff said:
    September 18, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Teresa, this is awesome. I only wish I could be in Beaufort for the “launch”!

    Like

    Susan Kammeraad-Campbell said:
    September 19, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    T., I just saw this! A baby book for a book, baby! I just may change my business cards to Susan K-C, book midwife! And, yes, I’d love to see those pictures of your old dog.

    Like

    […] you’re excited, the book will first launch regionally on September 21 (also available on Amazon), and there will be a public […]

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    […] you’re excited, the book will first launch regionally on September 21 (also available on Amazon), and there will be a public […]

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    […] you’re excited, the book will first launch regionally on September 21 (also available on Amazon), and there will be a public […]

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    Teresa Bruce shares a ‘rememoir’ story in Beaufort said:
    September 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    […] you’re excited, the book will first launch regionally on September 21 (also available on Amazon), and there will be a public […]

    Like

    ink said:
    September 26, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    After much anticipation – the nest has been left behind but never forgotten !

    Like

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