The door was locked from the outside. But, was that to keep people out, or keep the secrets in?
Nestled in the hills and canyons of Northern Idaho, surrounded by the fields his family had farmed for generations it sat. It was the center, right between the old farmhouse and the new. ‘The coop’ was, somehow, chicken coop, playhouse, and gypsy wagon combined. Under its weathered shingles someone had made the place her own. Under its weathered eaves the brothers still hid when the conflicts were too hot and the pain too deep. And no one would talk about it.
Instead Uncle Harley drops hints and causes mayhem. Dad, the naval officer, starts acting more like a sulky class mate. And Uncle Theo? Always intimidating, always ‘perfect’ Uncle Theo seems to become less perfect. And yet more human…
After being dragged to the funeral of a man he’s never met John Johnson needs something the brothers won’t give him; answers. Anger and curiosity set him on his path into the heart of the farm, past the peeling green paint, past the gray weathered wood, and into the past they won’t tell him about.
An old farm hand, new friends and the girl of his dreams await him on that path. Each holding a part of the puzzle. Each strengthening and helping, filling in where Dad and the uncles won’t. Each will bring him closer to his answers, if they don’t kill him first…
Johnson farm is a young adult novel nearly a decade in the making. It is about questions we all ask sooner or later, questions about who we are, why people do what they do, and how we fit in. But, once John finds his answers he has to deal with what he learns…
The story behind the story…
Johnson Farm started as a dream, one that I’ve carried with me for a number of years. In 2015, after some traumatic events in my own life, I committed the story to paper as a successful National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) project. In the time since it has been shaped, edited, and tuned; deepening and strengthening the story into one that I want to share with the world, a story I need to share with the world.
I have chosen not to work alone in the process. I have shared the story with a small group of people with a range of understanding and editorial skill to see what they felt about it and gain insight about what needed to be fixed.
After my first few readers had responded, and I addressed their concerns, I got the artists involved. I am a believer in helping others as well as yourself. So, rather than just paying for a cover I sought out some developing artists, people who have talent, but could use a shot at improving their exposure and artistic career. None of the artists I am working with have done a book cover before, but they have the ability.
Helping the artists...
I would really like to help these artists succeed, and this book is a way of doing that. My artist friends have been given a nearly final draft of the novel and are creating cover art based on their read of the book. We will be putting that art up here as it is finished.
Like myself my artists are actively investing in this project through their time and effort. In return I am giving them a chance to add a book cover to their resume. I would also like to actually be able to pay them some money for their effort and that dear reader is where you come in…
After the basic (what we absolutely need for the book to go) start level of this kick starter project, my first stretch goal is monetary reward for my caring and giving artists. They’ve already agreed to do the cover and are putting in real effort. This would be a good way to give them more of what they deserve.
What else are the funds for?
The funds provided by this Kickstarter campaign will pay for the actual physical printing of the books, production of the electronic version of book and some of the key early marketing effort. By purchasing a copy of Johnson Farm through this Kickstarter you are helping to bring a new book to the world. You are helping bring to light a story that needs telling.
As the success of the project grows you are also helping some promising artists to continue their dreams and achieve new success.
Naturally we’re not asking for something for nothing!
In addition to heartfelt thanks (which will be made publically on my blog) we are offering PDF and physical copies of the book and other more unique items that the average book store or Amazon purchaser just can’t have.
John (the hero) is a rock hound, and so is his grandma. John and his grandma have graciously agreed to provide polished (tumbled) or unpolished stones from their collections to those who choose to participate in this Kickstarter.
John’s uncle Harley is a successful restaurateur (when he’s not causing chaos for his family). He has agreed to provide some of our Kickstarter participants with an actual recipe card from his collection.
And then there are the truly rare items…
Four (and only four) contributors will receive preproduction manuscripts of Johnson farm, the ones that have my notes and edits in them. Each copy is unique, and from a different point in the process. If you’ve ever wanted to see ‘behind the curtain’ and get a real look at a writing project in process this is the opportunity for you.
Speaking of seeing behind the curtain…
If you are the one, that one person, who really wants to know and chooses to take our top contribution slot, I, the author, will meet with you in person (here in Pocatello) or electronically (Skype, googlehangouts…). For up to an hour you can ask me any question about the story and I will answer as best I can (note: questions about follow on stories or real life may or may not be answered at my discretion).
So that’s it, the story behind the story (at least as much as we’re telling right now…). If you’d like to know more… If you‘d like to own a first edition… If you’d like to learn what the story really is; chose a reward (something for you while you’re helping someone else), participate in the Kickstarter, and be part of something (and get your copy of a new book).
I am adding a new reward... Two contributors will have an opportunity to name a hospital, school or teacher in the sequel! Names should be appropriate for a young adult book (and I must find it sufficiently inoffensive). Name submissions used as name, or nickname at my discretion.
I would like to thank the following whose pictures appear in the video under a creative commons license:
Mr Clark: LDS 10th Ward Square
Juan Antonio Capo: Madera verde - Green Wood II
Juan Antonio Capo: Madera verde - Green Wood III
Risks and challenges
The novel already exists in a fairly advanced form. What remains is the finish editing (shouldn’t there be a comma there…?), the cover (that beautiful picture I mentioned artists are working on), and the actual printing/production of the book.
At this time the greatest risk is that the release date will be pushed back due to time issues with editing or the physical printing of the book. This would be a delay, and probably no more than a week or two. The project will still complete and the book will be released this year.
The second greatest risk is that the artists do not come through with the cover. In this case the solution is turning to a professional cover art vendor. There are vendors who can provide me a cover today, I would just rather give a growing artist a chance rather than buying from a cover mill.
Neither risk will stop the project, at worst there will be a bit of a delay.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)