The online ramblings of [Joseph] Jay Franco, purveyor of books and other fine things.
Stephen King Library 2010 Desk Calendars are in. Thanks are in order.
As a freelance editor over the past few years, I've worked on a wide variety of projects. Some fun, some tedious, others quite somewhere in between. But such is the life of a freelancer, you make due, seek and accept jobs where you can find them, and learn to be Charlie Hustle.
At one point late last year I was asked to edit Book-of-the-Month Club's--exclusive to memebers--2010 Stephen King Library desk calendar. This sounded like, and turned out to be, one of the most enjoyable projects I been involved in to date.
The hardest part was following up the terrfic work of the ultra-talented Robin Furth, former King research assistant, writer of various books about King, as well as scribe of several of the new Marvel and Del Rey comic book adaptations/miniseries of King's work. In my humble opinion she is a marvel and I was quite intimidated to talk to her, but when we spoke she was very cool and totally supportive-and even willing to contribute an essay to my project. Fantastic, I thought, what a great way to start on this exciting project.
Then it was several months of planning, reading, researching, and writing essays, trivia, finding excerpts, etc. I'd like to personally thank my sister, Jill, for help. See, she's a life-long King fanatic and had a copy of almost every novel and short story collection out there. She was my own personal King library. And working with her on one essay was a real thrill. I showed up at her apartment one day and left with pretty much her entire collection in addition to the books I already had.
Brainstorming ideas was the most fun. I mean, this is the kind of thing every bookish person dreams about. Take a favorite author, write about the little bits of this and that, the juicy details, the odd connections. Find fanatical people to contribute and pull it all together.
I also have to thank my personal "editorial assistant-at-large" and that would be my lovely wife, Fotini. She is also a contributor, with her own personal story about traveling to Greece as a teen and dearly grasping onto those King paperbacks to get her through long boat rides and flights. King was her personal salvation and she is also responsible for many essay ideas and helped me develop them into the readable bits within. For this, I am eternally grateful.
The other great part of editing this project was that I got to commission authors and King fanactics to write articles. This was great as there were already so many great contributors, the project soon became a delicate balance of previous collaborators and new entries, each with a personal angle which added to the depth of the collection.
In addition to the wonderful essay by the aforementioned Robin Furth, there are also return contributions such as: Stephen Jewell, an Australian born, London-based writer; comic book illustrator Jae Lee; Bev Vincent, a contributor to Cemetery Dance magazine and Bram Stoker-nominated author of The Road to the Dark Tower; Brian Freeman, author of many terrific books; Dan Kimmel, a Boston-based film critic and writer; and Rocky Wood, celebrated Australian writer of non-fiction and member of the HWA (Horror Writers Association).
Also I was able to invite others to contribute, including edged-weapon master and fantasy author, Peter V. Brett, and Jeff Somers, veritable SF writer and the kind of guy who'd have your back in a saloon fight. Everyone had great personal stories how King's work touched them in some way [I realize that sounds naughtier than it should]. I'd also like to thanks all the other contributors: Matt B., Nancy, Tom, Matt D., Beth, Jenn Huff, and Gary - you're all aces.
Here is a sample of one of the wonderful layout pages by freelance designer, Shonna Dowers, who did a wonderful job on the entire project. It was a pleasure work with you.
Last but not least I'd like to thank Deborah Sinclaire, EIC of Book-of-the-Month Club, without whom this project would not have come to me. Deb is a former boss, turned trusted colleague and confidant, and her confidence in me is something I've always valued and appreciated. Thanks.
Little did I know when I was asked to contribute one small article for the 2008 calendar, while I was an editor for the Science Fiction Book Club, [where I wrote about seeing King at NY Comic Con that year], that this entire project would come to me just a short time later. But for me, it's been all about the journey.