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A story of struggle, fame, fatherhood, madness, addiction, rehabilitation and redemption in post-apocalyptic New Orleans.

The Final Push: One Week Left!

Kickstarter friends and supporters: Thanks so much for your enthusiastic support of this project. It's been a crazy three weeks, from the initial rollout to spreading the word to creating new rewards to answering a million questions about how this all works.

(I also rewrote much of this project page; I believe it better explains the direction and purpose of the book I propose to publish, with your support; check it out!)

There are just eight days left to make my funding goal and the race is on! We have a long way to go, but I am confident that several backers I have spoken with will be stepping up in the coming days to help close the gap between funds raised and those still needed to make the campaign a success.

I thank the scores of you who have backed my goal, my dream - my mission. As the new photo posted here says: The story WILL be told. (Many thanks to Robert X. Fogarty and the Dear World project for the pic - and generous support.)

To that end, please note: Several new rewards have been added to the campaign, and the suggested donation for many rewards has been greatly reduced. (Note: Only rewards that have not received backing have been changed; Kickstarter rules! ) But if you want to donate a week's worth of my time, instruction and inspiration to the local school of your choice - now is the time!

With a week to go, I'm going to hustle across this city and shake a thousand trees to make this project a reality. I ask and encourage you to help me spread the word in these closing days. The story I have to tell is one that will inform, entertain - and maybe even inspire - not just folks from New Orleans, but anyone anywhere who believes in faith, resilience, tolerance and the triumph of the human spirit.

Thanks for your support, Chris Rose, Posted June 26, 2013

THE BOOK

The long-awaited follow-up to the New York Times Bestseller 1 Dead in Attic. It’s about New Orleans. It’s about me. It’s about me and New Orleans in the years since Hurricane Katrina - about life, love and laughter among the ruins. Stories of fatherhood, fame and addiction - and what happens when they all collide. Stories of a city, its people and its recovery from catastrophe. It’s a collection of extraordinary stories about ordinary life, intended to inform, provoke, entertain, caution, shock, delight and maybe even astound.

THE TITLE

Long story, but a good one. Probably not what you're thinking, though. I've told it further down on this page.

THE AUTHOR

I wrote for the Times-Picayune newspaper for 25 years where, among other awards, I received a share of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006. I subsequently self-published my stories about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in a book called 1 Dead in Attic. It did well enough that Simon & Schuster bought the rights in 2007 and gave it national distribution. It became a New York Times Bestseller.

There were a lot of stories written about my period as a hot literary commodity. Here's one, and here's another, that got as close as any to the truth. 

For more than 20 years, I have performed my written work on stage. An adaptation of 1 Dead in Attic sold out at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans for ten weeks in 2006. I also wrote, directed and performed three full-length theatrical monologues in New Orleans and Los Angeles between 1990 and 2005: The Kids Are Alright, Letters to Galatoire's and The Asshole Monologues. (This time, it's probably exactly what you're thinking.)

In 2009, I took a buyout from the Times-Picayune, drifted off the grid for a while, then spent a few years doing political and cultural commentaries on WVUE-TV, Fox8News, in New Orleans. That ended in a puzzling fashion this spring. Here’s what happened.

I take it as a sign. Or, actually, a kick in the backside. What I really need to do now; what thousands of readers have asked me to do – is complete a follow-up to 1 Dead in Attic. Much of that book was about remarkable, resilient people and forever-altered landscapes. It was tragic and, yes, it was funny. Such is the way I cope. But I also wrote about the severe mental illnesses that I - and many others - developed in the wake of the destruction of our city.

The response to this admission was overwhelming. Many folks saw themselves or their loved ones in my stories. Many sought treatment. For one true moment in my life, I helped save people. Some folks called me a hero. I got famous. I even got rich....for a short while.

In the months and years following the publication of 1 Dead in Attic, my world collapsed around me again. Depression. Alienation. Divorce. Addiction. Arrest. Et cetera.

I compiled notes and stories along the way - about mine and the city's similarly wild and unsteady rides. And it's time to pull it all together into a coherent and compelling manuscript. And for the first time in a long time, I have the clarity, strength, honesty and will to make it so. And maybe - just maybe - I can help people again. And that’s where you come in.

HOW TO BE A PART OF IT

I'm going against the traditional paradigm, off the grid. Doing it my way like I did the first time - but this time from scratch, rather than simply compiling pre-published newspaper stories. It's going to take some money. Producing a finished manuscript requires interviews, research, writing, rewriting, editing and design. It needs full commitment. That’s why I have brought this Kickstarter proposal to you, so I can commit to the book many have asked for, and to make you all contributors to, and part of, the final product.

WHY SO MUCH MONEY?

Good question. It looks like a ton of dough, and it is, but consider: The IRS will take about 27 percent of the money. Kickstarter and Amazon will take their fair shares. If the campaign is successful, I’ll get about two-thirds of what I asked for. With that, I can subsist long enough to pull my notes and stories into a finished manuscript and then publish it.

THE TITLE

Every struggling author's dream is Oprah Winfrey's seal of approval. The record shows: If Oprah loves your book, America loves your book. And so, on Aug. 29, 2007, the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - and the very day Simon & Schuster released 1 Dead in Attic - I appeared on Oprah. But things did not go as I had hoped. Not at all.This is what happened.

Here’s the ironic postscript to that story: The article I wrote about my Oprah experience (linked above) went viral. Crazy viral. It appeared in every disgruntled writers forum on the Internet, exploded on the pop culture scene. And something amazing happened:

All around the country, people went to their local bookstores or went online to buy my book as a gesture of solidarity and support for standing up to the Oprah machine. And, by the end of its first week in print, 1 Dead in Attic shot to # 34 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Oprah made me a bestseller after all. It changed my life. It made me famous. Many of the stories in this next book would not have occurred had I not gone on her show, had her staff not treated me so poorly and had I not stood up for myself - and had not so many readers stood with me. Thus, the title.

OR THOSE OF YOU UNFAMILIAR WITH 1 DEAD IN ATTIC

Here are some reviews: From Publishers Weekly. From The Washington Post. From McClatchy News Service.

Also, here's a video excerpt from the book, a heart-rending reading by former New Orleans Saint, ALS advocate and local hero Steve Gleason, from a story about the reopening of the Superdome -- the night he blocked a punt and lit a fuse for the city's recovery. 

1 Dead in Attic was a good book, still used today in high school and college curricula around the country, still selling steadily in New Orleans bookstores. 

I don’t get royalties from the book anymore; those go to the Times-Picayune, which owned the original rights to the stories. Nevertheless, if you are interested in getting a copy of 1 Dead, check with your local library, bookstore, or check it out here (along with a ton more reviews; sorry!) at Amazon.

AND FINALLY

I thank you all, each and every one of you who read this far into this Kickstarter proposal, for your time, your interest and – hopefully – your faith and your support, as I embark on the riskiest but most important journey of my life. So far.

THE REWARD POSTCARDS

Here are the four images to choose from for your $15 Reward. Pick one now; let me know later on which one to send: 

Jazz Fest Beer Truck
Jazz Fest Beer Truck
Central City Street Corner
Central City Street Corner
French Quarter Door
French Quarter Door
Oyster Loaf
Oyster Loaf

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I don't see any risk, really. I have a team of family, friends and associates – many of whom helped put together the original self-published 1 Dead in Attic – ready to edit, design, print, market and distribute the next book.

You get the book you wanted, that you were promised, that you supported. And that will – if you’ll pardon my optimism: Rock your world.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    My everlasting gratitude. I'll thank personally by phone, text or email. I’ll follow you on Twitter, on Facebook, Instagram; on anything you want. Let me know. Just.....thank you.

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    A personalized and signed postcard from the author, produced from your choice of one of four recent photographs I have taken: See the main text of my Kickstarter campaign to choose your image: Jazz Fest beer truck, Central City street corner, French Quarter door and Oyster Loaf. (Free shipping)

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    Subscription to a private weekly e-newsletter for the duration of this project – and likely thereafter - to keep Backers informed of progress on the book, plus random thoughts, musings, rantings and ravings about life in general that otherwise never appear online, in print nor in the forthcoming book.

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    $35 GILLIGAN’S ISLAND REWARD: A three hour tour! (Or thereabouts.) A walking tour of the French Quarter, blending history, pop culture and tawdry gossip. From the House of the Rising Sun to The Playboy Club; from the studio where R.E.M. and Iggy Pop made records to the apartments where Tennessee Williams made literary history; from the home Nicolas Cage sold because he saw ghosts to the saloon where Lee Anne Rimes danced on the bar and removed her bra to the nation’s only Country & Western themed transvestite bar. (I’m pretty sure.) Movie sets, celebrity homes, hidden cemeteries and much, much more about this amazing little city inside the city – and the neighborhood where I live today and am raising my children. Guided by yours truly. Based on demand, several dates and times will be scheduled to accommodate all backers.

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    Invitation for two to the Book Release Party and Signing. A gathering for friends and patrons at a large, lively venue with a rollicking assembly of local musicians. Good cheer and positive vibrations abound. I’ll be your host, greet you and your guests at the door and continue to schmooze and work the room like a candidate running for office. Books will be available for purchase, each of which I will personally inscribe.

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    1 DEAD IN ATTIC: The original self-published, long-out-of-print collector’s item, with photographs by Charley Varley, signed by the author.

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    Combination of rewards 1, 3, 5 and 8. (This is the same reward as #9 before new rewards were added on June 18; it has been the most popular reward in the campaign so far. Thanks for that!)

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    1,2,3,5,7 and 8. Stuff! Things! Events! (And lots of numbers!)

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    Your name on the acknowledgements page. At the beginning or end of the book, there will be a page dedicated to and acknowledging Special Backers of this project. You get not only my eternal gratitude, but my gratitude eternally preserved in print.

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    During the course of finishing the book – or upon its publication; your choice – I will come to your residence, business or commercial location of your choice (check with your favorite bar or restaurant) and deliver a private reading and follow-up discussion for you and up to 20 guests.

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    Lunch with the author. I will be happy to join you and up to four guests for an intimate and engaging (I hope!) lunch at the restaurant of your choice. (For out-of-town engagements, please consider transportation, lodging and expenses.)

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    A ridiculous idea, really, but my friends tell me it’s creative - and fun: I will join you and two friends to fill out a foursome at the golf course of your choice. (Or a fivesome if it's one of those cheap munis.) We can talk about books and writing. Or we can talk about golf. Or we can just shut up and play. (Handicap around 24)

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    I will come to a meeting of your book club AND read the assigned book, ready to join the evening’s discussion. (If your book club is of the pot luck variation, I will also bring a suitable dish for the occasion.)

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    A literary salon at your home. A private reading and - if you choose to wait for publication - book signing for up to 25 guests.

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    A speaking engagement for the organization of your choice. The size of the audience is unlimited; simply provide the venue. I will dedicate an afternoon or evening to speaking to the group, mixing and mingling with guests, and - if the book has been published yet - signing as many books as you choose to provide for or sell to the attendees. Perfect for businesses, corporations, conventions or educational institutions.

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    A literary and musical spectacle for you and your friends: I will perform a reading with live musical accompaniment, follow-up Q & A and mixer for up to 100 guests at the location of your choice. (And book signing, should you prefer to wait for publication.) For this event, I will enlist one or more of the professional musicians from New Orleans with whom I have performed on stage in the past, to accompany me and transform the reading into a party your friends will never forget.

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    Instruction, Mentorship and Inspiration: For this donation, I will dedicate a full week’s worth of time to the school, institution, organization or group of your choice. I will lecture, teach, workshop and mentor. Think about donating this to a school or other worthy institution; the full attention and dedication of a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, New York Times bestseller, critically acclaimed author and lecturer. NOTE: This Reward is available to residents and institutions outside of the New Orleans area, but would require coverage of travel, lodging and meals.

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    Your biography. Or someone you love and admire. Who gets to have a Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times Bestseller write their life story? YOU! For this donation, I will research, conduct interviews and write an intimate biography of you or someone whose life you believe deserves biographical treatment. (Talk about a Father's Day gift!) I will deliver to you a manuscript of no less than 50 pages, which can then be self-published with photos and other graphics--or simply stored for posterity. I will assist and advise to the best of my ability in the final production of a bound manuscript. For the man - or woman - in your life who has everything: Except a book about how they got it!

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Funding period

- (30 days)