Doing the Research

pumpkin man readingThe advisor to my dissertation, Fred Kaplan, told me he wrote his biographies of Carlyle, Dickens, James and Gore Vidal by doing extensive research first, then writing it all up into a book.  Since my original dissertation topic was Byron and Scotland, I needed to find a biography of the poet’s Scottish mother, Catherine Gordon.  After doing the online research as instructed at CUNY Graduate Center, I came to the conclusion that there was no such biography.  So how come the one Pumpkin Man is reading here was on sale at the gift shop at Newstead Abbey, Byron’s ancestral home?

It was self-published by a local author.  With my Kickstarter Campaign, We Killed Ichabod, (vanity URL Kickstarter.com/profiles/sleepyhollow) I am hoping to publish an abridged, illustrated version of my work in progress.  If that campaign fails, I will wait until the complete manuscript is ready and send it out to agents.  If that fails, I will publish it myself.

Writing the book, whatever the outcome  may be, is a wild ride.  Every year my hometown, Tarrytown, does Halloween on a bigger scale.   This year tourists arrived by New York Waterway ferries.  My book’s hero, or anti-hero, Richard comes to do it all from hearing the story read at the Old Dutch Church to taking the Haunted Hayride up the ridge of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

The Proper Voice

One of the daunting task in writing this book is creating the journal of 1789-90 which the protagonist purchases in a second-hand store.  Advice ranges from don’t worry because Ann Rice’s Lestat always sounds as if he just checked outbid the Hotel California whatever century he is  in to that creating the proper tone of the period may make for a stilted style no one will read.  I have opted to study letters and journals of the period including those of George Washington, Irving’s namesake. After a slow start, I have fallen completely under our first president’s commanding voice.