Wednesday, June 2, 2010

3 Years of Work, in My Hand


On my front porch this morning was a slender brown padded envelope containing an advance copy of Korean for Beginners, a book I coauthored with my Korean colleague, Park Kyubyong. It hits shelves (and Amazon trucks) August 10.

That'll make more than three years of on-again, off-again work on this project. We put together the first 10 chapters back in 2007 and sent them off with query letters to several publishers. We heard nothing...for a very long time. It wasn't until the middle of my bicycle tour through Maritime Canada that an editor from Tuttle Publishing got in touch.

After that, getting a contract was comparatively easy, and we were then tasked with actually writing the book--going back and recrafting those 10 nearly forgotten chapters and creating 17 more. Only, it was now December of 2008 and I was a month away from starting a year in South America.

The words in this book have moved around as much as I have. Their inspiration was drawn from my two happy years in Seoul and the struggles I encountered studying the language. The bulk of them were written on my bed in room #1 of the Sustainable Bolivia house in Cochabamba, or in a cafe called Casablanca on Calle España. I can't remember, but revisions probably carried over to Cuzco. And that's where Carey began in earnest on the book's illustrations, work which followed us to a beach hostel in Arica, Barrio Bellavista in Santiago, a chalet-style guesthouse in Pucón, and our volunteer homestay in Esquel, Argentina. I recorded the audio tracks in our tenth-floor Palermo flat in Buenos Aires.

Now it's in my hand in Austin.

It's not a travel book, but it sure feels like one.

23 comments:

Carlo said...

Awesome! Congrats!! So cool.

Michelle Schusterman said...

Holy crap!!! This is awesome! And it sure as heck is a travel book! :)

Congratulations!

Tim said...

Tremendous! Congrats, Hal.

katesedgwick said...

Finally! Awesome. Congratulations to you and Carrie (and Park).

Abbie said...

Congrats Hal!!!

Christine Garvin said...

Sweet Hal, on both the book coming together, and the great story (now that it's behind you!) on getting it there.

Kathy Amen said...

How neat! It looks great, and I can hardly wait until Amazon sends me my own copy!

Juliane said...

Oh damn-- go Hal go! Congratulations dear sir :)

david miller said...

oh snap!

stoked for you hal, yes!

Care said...

Congratulations, Hal. It was amazing and inspirational to witness the process & all the work you and KB put into that little book over the years. Well done!

hal said...

Wow, didn't expect so many thumbs up so quickly! Much appreciated, everyone. Really.

Lola said...

Sweetness!

Congrats Hal!

Andy Hayes said...

Hooray! That's so cool! Congrats.

Candice said...

Congraaaaaats! Where's my autographed copy?! ;)

JoAnna said...

So excited for you Hal! Congratulations!

crfranke said...

This is fantastic news - congrats Hal! So stoked for you!

Anonymous said...

Z and Tim Ward want their own copy asap....Hal and Carey, anyone else would have had an overwhelmingly full plate fulfilling the requirements of all your travels......how did you muster the drive to write/illustrate this in the midst of all those travels? We're your true-blue fans forever!

Anne M said...

VERY cool! Congratulations! I'm definitely reviving my Korean studies now.

Lindi said...

Wow congrats!!! This is awesome.

Sabina said...

Hal, I just learned about this! This qualifies as huge. Congratulations!!!

joshywashington said...

sooo proud! This just stoked my fire, thanks buddy!

Eva said...

Huge congrats, Hal!

Valerie said...

I meant to say this earlier, but congrats Hal! So excited for you!