The inside scoop!! In April – April 28 2020 to be exact – my non-fiction book COPPER IRON AND CLAY: A SMITH’S JOURNEY will be released (you can pre-order it from your local store or online – links HERE) by William Morrow / Harper Collins. This is so huge, and I’m so thankful to my wonderful agent Bonnie Nadell and my editor Cassie Jones.
What did it take to get this book out there? Well, first, it was a random idea. Next, I talked to another copper cookware maker to see if we could co-write it, which we attempted, but our styles are different – hey, all ideas should be tried, right?
The book was considered by my fiction book publisher at the time, and while we lined up photo shoots and I finished writing, I also began to gather interviews from owners of cookware companies all over the world. It was mostly to have their voices added to mine – in what was originally a very dry education in the science and history of basic cookware through the ages, plus the use and care of it. I had recipes, but they weren’t really organized.
As time went on, I added chef friends to the mix and their recipes and cookware experience. We shot more photos all over the country. I completely stripped the book apart and re-wrote it from a much more personal point of view—partially because by then I was a full-fledged coppersmith myself (which I hadn’t really been when I first started writing the book), so that gave it all a completely different point of entry and story flavor.
Finally, I met Bonnie out in LA, who would become my agent. She and I talked for hours that first meeting – and she was mostly interested in the non-fiction book than representing my fiction novels (since fiction is not really her area). And then she said…yes! She’d represent me!! We spent several months re-writing the book here and there, editing, revising, choosing photos, and typing up the non-fiction submission – which is basically like a book proposal – even though I had the whole thing done already.
Enter several editors who were interested, and trips to New York. In the end, we went with Cassie at William Morrow – it was extra exciting she was from Wisconsin, too! And then the work began – a year and a half more of work, to be frank! This book was taking YEARS! I have been an author for far longer than I’ve been a metalsmith, but I can never get used to the time it takes a creative project (film or book) to be produced. We even re-did the cover sort of last minute, thanks to the eye of Nicole Styles Photography.
So far, this early on, it’s getting some happy nods, like making the list of Publisher’s Weekly’s anticipated books for 2020, and a beautiful blurb from chef and fellow author David Lebovitz.
It’s going to be worth it, all this time and editing and careful checking. It’s a lovely hard-cover, full-color book. It will be read by a well-establish audio book reader. It will be available all over – and hopefully serve as both as a coffee table book, a cookbook, and a cookware guide, as well as offer lots of fun trivia for your next dinner party.
PS be sure to snap up a copy of David’s new book, too, DRINKING FRENCH.