My book is in production now, and it’s exciting to see it taking shape. It will be published on October 8, 2013 in hardcover, and also available on Kindle etc, but I think you will want it in print! The book is 304 pages, including craft and recipe sections at the back and a photo section. (You’ll want the real book in print by your side in the kitchen!) The title will be Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor.
I originally wanted them to call it Back to the Land: An Adventure, with Cookies. Or Cows, Cookies, High Water, and Love. But, well, you know. Publishers like to market, and I understand. “Chickens in the Road” is my brand and nobody wants you to NOT find it easily at the store!
I posted this photo the other day of a possible cover image.
I don’t think they would be using the whole photo, if they do use this one for the cover. It will probably be cropped out to just the rooster and the wine. Some suggested in the comments it should be a photo of actual chickens in the road. That is a very literal interpretation, and that’s not what they’re going for here. This really isn’t a book about chickens. It’s a book about an adventure, a woman on a farm who is a fish out of water in many ways, and the juxtaposition of a rooster and a glass of wine gives that impression better than literal chickens in a road. Of course, this is still not set in stone, so the final cover is still a mystery, even to me! When I get a final cover image, I’ll let you know.
By the way, this photo by Jerry Waters was second in the running, last I heard, for the cover.
This is the photo I actually wanted on the cover (also by Jerry Waters), but I understand why it’s not. I didn’t even have horses when I lived at Stringtown Rising.
Meanwhile, here is back cover copy, which is also not final, but gives you an idea of what the book is about.
It was a cold late autumn day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse–as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die.”
Thus begins former romance writer Suzanne McMinn’s wild ride into self-sustainable living halfway up a hill on one of the most remote dirt roads in West Virginia, with a cast including her children, an enigmatic partner, the “rural neighborhood” of quirky characters, and a whole slew of ridiculous and uncooperative farm animals. An unlikely adventurer, the suburban born-and-bred author tackles one daunting challenge after another on her new 40-acre farm, from hatching chickens and milking a cow to herding sheep and making her own cheese. Whether she’s trying to convince a goat to accept its baby or just get her ornery neighbor to move over and let her pass on the road, every page of her adventure is fraught with laughter, passion, drama, and the risk of losing it all before she figures out why she’s doing it in the first place. And when she does lose it all, she discovers a triumph she never expected–along with the truth for which she’d been searching all along.
Based on her long-running, wildly popular blog, Chickens in the Road, Suzanne McMinn brings country life to vivid color with all the candor, comedy, and danger of a rollicking good adventure.
Put on your chore boots and jump in.
Right now, I’m working on copy edits. Copy edits are what the author receives after the book has been typeset and gone over by a copy editor. It’s a chance to see any small changes the publisher has made to house style, and the copy editor also asks questions in the margins, looking for consistency or anything that might require more elaboration because she, as the first reader of the final book, didn’t understand, etc.
It’s my job to go over it thoroughly and respond to any questions.
“I want to live where I can have chickens in the road.” I made this pronouncement one day while driving down a dusty back road bordered by weedy woods and intermittent dilapidated farms. A big red rooster led a line of hens across the lane, lending a charming, storybookish air to the run-down scenery.
I was so smitten.
52, by my side, said, “You can have all the chickens you want.”
Maybe I loved him. Maybe I just wanted the chickens. I thought I wanted both, but it was hard to tell. They were deeply intertwined.
And the story is off and running, and there are so many stories in here behind the scenes, tying together stories I’ve told before with the personal stories behind the scenes. I think those of you who have been reading all along will be just as intrigued as people who have never read me before as those stories behind the scenes bring a new perspective that you never knew to the real adventure I was living.
The photo sections will look like this:
I’m SO excited, and can’t wait for October! I hope so much that you will love this book. I’m proud of it, more proud than I’ve ever been of any book I’ve ever written. Writing it made me realize what a huge adventure it truly was, and I like to think I’m living another one now. There are certainly plenty of stories behind the scenes! (Which, seriously, would explain why sometimes I’m not here.)
One day….. If I write another book, I just might tell!