How The Book Came To Be…
It was a typically Marchiagani winter day of thick fog when an e-mail untypically announced its presence in my inbox. (At the time our daily rate of e-mail arrival was about two, squeezed through in pitifully few short belches of connectivity). It was from a lady called Clare Christian, whose name we recognised from our so-short-it-was-first-name-based list of customers who had adopted olive trees. She ran a publishing company, she said, the Friday Project it was called, and it specialised in publishing books that had some connection with the online world. We might have heard of a recent book of theirs, she said, called ‘Blood Sweat and Tea’ which was based on the blog of a London ambulance driver? We hadn’t. She liked our website and she liked the Nudo style of writing and she wondered whether we might perhaps be interested in writing ‘our story’?
Our story. Until now we had just been people who lived lives, but now we had a story. A tangible thing that other people could see. And ask us about. This was a strange thought. A thought which evoked memories of our previous TV lives and the humming and hawing we’d done about keeping a video record of our move; when we’d left on our adventure, TV friends had suggested we make a documentary about it and of course it was tempting . But in the end we decided against it on the basis that we knew too much. We knew the pain and tears that make that sort of documentary sing and we didn’t want to be in that choir. And during the first few months of uncertainty and fog and melancholy and using all our bodily resources to fight off real tears, the last thing we felt like doing was outing them on camera.
But a book?
Maybe that would be different. We would be more in control (was this naivety about the publishing process?) We would be able to write about the bits we wanted to and leave out the rest. We love to try new things and add strings to bows. And, bluntly, in today’s ego-thick age, who doesn’t want to have a book published? We seemed to be being given it on a plate.
The next time we were in London we had a meeting with Clare, and lots of other very nice ladies all of whom seemed to be called Heather. They all seemed to be very enthusiastic, an observation we found rather surprising. There are so many bloomin books in the world, do we really need another one? Written by rank amateurs? The answer, once the discussion reached a conclusion with the virtual creation of a ‘travelogue illustrated with beautiful colour photos and recipes’, seemed to be yes.
Soon after, Jason bought a camera.
And so it was that we had a new distraction in our life full of new distractions. The book took about nine months of writing, of taking photographs, of grilling our friends about their recipes and of testing them out in our kitchen. We almost preferred the process of creating a book to our previous favourite task of liberating olive trees from brambles. But we wouldn’t want that to get out, would we?
We handed in the book and all the other bits and pieces and then about a year went by. Yes a real earth year, not a short amount of time that felt like a long one. The Friday Project were in a period of profound change. After much speculation, mostly gleaned from friends who brushed legs with the publishing world, about bankruptcy / takeovers / collapse, it was announced that they were being bought by Harper Collins. Luckily for us, we were one of the books that Harper Collins wanted to keep.
And now it’s out.