racing at sunset Norman G. Gautreau



Have you ever found yourself saying, “If I had it to do over again …”? Perhaps you decorated a room, or made a painting, or built a house and you felt, “Not bad, but I can do better.”
Well, more than a decade after Sea Room and Island of First Light were first published, I was presented – through unique circumstances – with the need to do it over again if I wanted the books to remain available to the public.

My publisher, MacAdam/Cage, enjoyed a sterling reputation as a publisher of fine literary fiction. In the 100 plus signings and talks I did in stores and libraries, booksellers and librarians invariably sang the praises of MacAdam/Cage. But then something happened; somehow their culture changed and gradually it became apparent that they were not paying royalties they owed to their authors and they were hit with a number of lawsuits. Then, the owner/founder died and instead of defending themselves against the lawsuits, they declared bankruptcy and ceased doing business.

The result was they no longer would be selling their authors’ books, meaning I would have to re-publish my books myself. And, since I didn’t own the cover art and book interior files, I would have to do those over again. That was the downside, the challenge.

The upside was that, because of the bankruptcy, the rights to my dear literary children reverted to me. And that presented the rare opportunity for a do-over, a Mulligan, which I decided to take despite the fact that both books had fared well with the reading public (frequently being selected by reading clubs) and Sea Room had won the prestigious Massachusetts Book Award.

And speaking of readers’ groups, I’ve taken this opportunity, with the permission of the Massachusetts Center for the Book, to include their book discussion guide, somewhat modified, for Sea Room. And from discussions with members of reading groups I've included a reader's guide for Island of First Light.

Of course, because I was able to attend many reader’s groups where my books were being discussed, I received a lot of insightful feedback. Here’s just one example: Many readers thought Lydie, Jordi’s mother in Sea Room, should be a more fully developed character. And they were right … and she is, now that I’ve rewritten Sea Room. Or I should say now that  we’ve rewritten Sea Room and Island of First Light, for these versions owe a lot to the many readers who liked the story enough to offer their comments. I thank them all.

A second reason to re-do the books was that I could correct frustrating errors I’d discovered over the years such as the misspelling of Buckmaster Neck in the very first chapter!

And a final reason is that Sea Room and Island of First Light have benefited from a rewrite is that writing daily makes one a better writer and after writing several more prize-winning books, I believe I’m just that – a better writer. So I was excited to sink my literary chops into these stories one more time.

I give you then Sea Room and Island of First Light (Redux). I hope you enjoy them.
Norm Gautreau, Wakefield, MA – August, 2014.

Note: At present time I am working on getting back the eBook rights for Sea Room and Island of First Light. Currently the only eBook editions available are of the original books.