We're mixing things up this month. Calling this our "Spring" newsletter...
... which is a creative way of saying, "We missed April..."
Also, we're focusing entirely on our new book, "Safe Landing: A Family's Journey Following the Crash of American Airlines Flight 191," written by Melody Smith, Kim Jockl, and Jim Borchers. This book tells their incredible journey over the last 40+ years grieving their parents' sudden loss, coming together as a family, and working hard to honor the lives of all 273 lost on Flight 191. It's an inspirational Chicago story about love, family, and how tragedy gets a big word, but it never gets the final word.
There's so much to get into here. So, let's start with updates on the release date and how you can order a copy.
Release Date - Official release date is May 25th, 2022. This marks the 43rd anniversary of American Airlines Flight 191.
Depending on when you're reading this sentence, you can either pre-order or order the book right here in our online bookstore. Or by clicking on the image of the bookstore page below.
Launch Parties / Events
We're hosting two initial launch parties (May 22nd and May 26th). Guest lists for these events included people who had pre-ordered copies prior to May 9th. The May 22nd event is at capacity BUT there's still time/space for the event on the 26th hosted by Barrel in Lakeview East, Chicago.
Reach out to the authors or email us at email@example.com to RSVP.
We plan to hold more events this summer and fall at local bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops around the Chicagoland area. Stay tuned! We've created this page where you can keep up with the latest news about the book. Also includes relevant links and resources connected to Flight 191, like the Chicago Tribune virtual memorial site created by Kori Rumore Finley.
Can I Read a Sample Chapter?
You bet! We've included an excerpt from Chapter 1 right here. Or click on this photo of their parents, Bill and "Nudy" Borchers.
What Makes This a "Long Overdue" Book?
We were honored to work on this book, and it's about as "long overdue" as it gets. Here's why:
Melody, Kim, and Jim's incredible journey takes place over 43 years, and the authors have worked on their book, together, pretty much every Thursday for the last five years.
We won't reveal the authors' ages... but let's just say this is an example of three people publishing their first book after the age of 60.
Writing this story, honoring the lives of their mom and dad, along with the additional 271 individuals who lost their lives on Flight 191, was "long overdue"
What Can Other Authors or Soon-To-Be Authors Learn From This Book?
Three things come to mind.
Book Editing - The "Tell Me More, Tell Me More" Stage
Location as a character in your story
Why Chapter 1 comes last
One new blog post and then a couple thoughts on the other two:
Book Editing: The "Tell Me More, Tell Me More" Stage
What authors picture when they think of a book editor: Intimidating. Stern face. Red pen in hand.
What to picture instead: The friends from Grease singing, "Tell me more, tell me more!"
New Blog Post - Here are three of our favorite scenes from Safe Landing, each one came after the editor asked the authors to share more.
Location as a Character in your Story
Couple of passages come to mind where Chicago, or a local spot in Chicago, was featured almost like a supporting character in the story:
Passage 1 - He’d have the coffee going and, since it was a weekend, you could always count on a coffee cake with a hint of cardamom seasoning from Schroeder’s on Lincoln Avenue or the Swedish Bakery, Signe Carlson, over on Foster (what is now known as Andersonville).
Passage 2 - Or how about this one time after a Cubs game; if my memory serves me right, the game went into extra innings, and, back then, there was no cut-off for beers served at Wrigley Field. The raucous crowd was in full party mode. After the game, we all went across the street to the Sports Corner at Sheffield and Addison for additional cheers and fun. We were all singing and dancing and then, next thing you know Melody, Mom, and I were standing on our heads on top of the bar! The place went wild!
Passage 3 - And, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. That was always a big deal before we had kids. We’d meet Mom and Dad at Johnny Lattner’s on the Chicago River with our friends for brunch, and then Dad would lead us to where they were staging the parade. We’d join in carrying our big Shamrock Irish Flag. This was when St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated on the actual day, and things were very loose on who was allowed to march in the parade.
The authors even included a list of their parents' favorite restaurants and spots at the back of the book. I love this idea for non-fiction and fiction books alike.
Why Chapter 1 Comes Last
Chapter 1 is the first chapter written and the last to be finished.
Reason - by the time you've finished writing your book, now you have the full roadmap. You know what's most important. What themes dominate the story.
Without giving away too much about the book, this passage on the very first page of Chapter 1 ends up being a microcosm of the entire journey ahead in the book.
A DC-10 was broken apart, lives were lost, and all the lives of families and friends would be forever altered after the crash of American Airlines Flight 191. It is still the worst non-terrorist-related crash in American history.
Yet there we were, 25 years later, clicking our seat belts on an American Airlines flight. My sister and I, along with our families, were off to witness our brother Jim’s wedding in Hawaii, the same destination our parents (known as “Nudy” and Bill) left for on May 25th, 1979.
Go back and re-read the first chapters of your favorite books, or the first episode of a favorite show. It's amazing how many little Easter eggs you'll find where the author(s) foreshadow what's ahead.
Family Copy vs. Public Copy
We actually worked with the authors on two versions of their book. One that was just for family (printed 10-15 copies). And then one we called the "public book."
Family version was hardcover, color photos, more scanned documents included. The goal was to have all of the information in one place so future generations would have almost like an encyclopedia they could reference.
Public book is about telling a story to people who may not know the authors, or their parents, and/or Flight 191. Different audience. Different goal for how to tell the story.
This is something to think about if you have a goal of writing a book. Is this something for friends and family? Is printing 10-20 copies, handing them out at a family gathering the finish line? Or do you picture selling your book, making it available to the public? Do you want to get into bookstores? Host events?
Don't let these questions prevent you from starting your book. But sometimes it's helpful to write out your goals first and have this as your north star in the creative journey.
"In my defense, I wouldn't beg for scraps if you gave me sweet potato instead of the same bowl of kibble.
Every. Single. Day."
- Crash, Team Dog
Keeping up with Long Overdue
Best place to keep up with all things Long Overdue is a tie between our monthly newsletter and our Instagram page (shoutout to Annie Cerovich!). If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who might enjoy it as well, let us know, we'll make sure to add them to our subscriber list. We also got back on Facebook recently, you can follow us here.
And check out our website - Long Overdue Books. Long Overdue Books is a community for creating books. It's a place for authors, readers, editors, artists, and designers to come together and move their stories from ideas to finished books.
Next newsletter - Aiming for mid-June range. In the meantime if you have any questions, ideas, stories to tell, you can reach Cal the Librarian at - firstname.lastname@example.org