This year, both Bob and I become published authors. He co-authored Backyard Biodiesel – How to Brew Your Own Fuel with Lyle Estill, and I co-authored Two Brauds Abroad – A Departure from Life as We Know It with Stephanie De La Garza. Amazingly, Steph and I remain good friends as do Lyle and Bob.
When Bob and I repatriated from Ghana little more than a year ago, we received eager inquiries about our time overseas. I’d start to explain the experience but the subject was so broad, I would only touch on a few aspects of our adventure and conclude, “I could write a book.”
Which is exactly what I’ve done. It’s hard to imagine I’m even writing these words, but it is indeed true. You can buy my first published book in paperback at TwoBraudsAbroad.com or from Amazon.com in paperback or kindle. It’s a good read for those who like to travel, or enjoy reading candid letters, or memoirs, or are curious about what it might be like to move to Costa Rica or Africa, or are looking for some good travel tips.
My first book! This is a huge turning point in my life. I have always been a writer and long knew I had at least one book in me and now, I am an author. I’ve been writing since grade school. I was the kid who read voraciously, kept a journal and was the first to raise my hand when the teacher asked, “Who wants a pen pal?” I have a box of letters reaching back more than forty years and a beautiful shelf of journals I wrote while living in Belize, China, Guam, Nicaragua and Africa.
For the past year Stephanie and I fretted and edited until we ended up with what we feel is a pretty good picture of my life in Africa, her life in Costa Rica and our transition from American citizen to expat. We began by selecting 154,000 words in emails written back and forth from San Antonio, Texas to Moncure, North Carolina; from Kumasi, Ghana to Cocles, Tronadora and Turrialba, Costa Rica.
It’s been a long year. Steph and I spent a week together in beautiful Shenandoah country setting up the project. We carved out the fat, throwing out two thirds of the original material, added selected blog posts and photos, wrote a “how-to” section with lots of travel tips and finished with a 274-page book. Stephanie designed a dynamite cover. I dove into the formatting, and then reformatted for kindle. We adopted the word Braud (“fearless female; an adventurous, daring or independent woman.”)
Steph’s mother, Andrea Sutcliffe helped immeasurably. We chose to follow in her footsteps and go the self-publishing route. Andrea happily lent her years of experience as a writer, editor, and publications manager to “help birth our baby book.” Bob was also super supportive, reading through an early draft, offering frank advice and patiently waiting for his wife to resurface. Bob asserts that he is never writing another book again, but I see this book as just the beginning for me. (Sorry, dear!)
So now, when someone asks “What was it like in Ghana?” or “How was Africa?” I suggest they buy Two Brauds Abroad and read all about it.