The height of fall color has passed, and chilly winds shake fading leaves onto the ground. It’s time for ripe apples and pears, cheeses, chowders, homemade muffins, and good books to read.
When fall approached, the Lorings took rooms in Blue Hill while they closed up Stone House for the winter. Then they returned to Boston, where Emilie continued work on her latest book.
I’ve learned a lot more about that process with Happy Landings. Like raking leaves and clearing spent plants from their pots, there are last tasks to finish before sending perfected files to the printer and waiting for the finished book to emerge in the spring.
It’s exciting to see the parts come together, and I can’t resist giving you a peek inside:
Happy Landings: Emilie Loring’s Life, Writing, and Wisdom
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction Act One: Bessie Baker 1 Lee & Shepard, Publishers 2 Albert Baker, Printer 3 George Melville Baker: Purpose and Entertainment 4 Born to Stage and Print 5 Resilience and Optimism 6 Winds of Change Act Two: Mrs. Victor J. Loring 7 Victor Joseph Loring 8 Emilie and Victor Act Three: "Mother" 9 Homemaking and Motherhood 10 The New Century 11 Alaska! 12 Creative Stirrings 13 Blue Hill, Maine 14 Wellesley Hills Woman's Club Act Four: Josephine Story 15 Her Box of Books 16 Ambition 17 The Long Road to Authorship 18 World War I: Her Father's Daughter Act Five: Emilie Loring 19 Writing is W-O-R-K 20 Boston Authors Club 21 Identity: 1920-28 22 Crisis: 1929 23 Resilience: 1930-34 24 Make Good: 1934-39 25 Favorite American Novelist 26 Fight for the Right: 1940-45 27 Individual Spirit: 1946-51 28 The Real Emilie Loring Afterword Appendix I: Emilie Loring publications Appendix II: Source material for ghostwritten novels Photo credits Notes Index
Format and Length
This is a big book with lots of parts.
My text fills the main body of each page, accompanied by relevant quotes from Emilie Loring in the sidebars. I love this feature; it allows Emilie to speak for herself. To keep the page uncluttered, we’re making it wider.
The biography’s main text is 160,000 words, about twice the length of an Emilie Loring novel, and there are additional features that her novels never had.
To say that Happy Landings is “richly illustrated” is an understatement. There are 125 large photographs that occupy nearly one hundred pages, the earliest from about 1862. It’s extraordinary to have so many photos of a woman from her era, including photos from her early childhood, teens, and all stages of her adulthood. Included are photos of her family, her friends, homes, vacations, and the places where she wrote.
There are also images from lantern slides that she took herself. Each is what she saw in that moment and chose to take home with her. In their way, these images answer the question, “I wonder what that was like for her?”
968 Reference Notes
You read that right. There are 968 reference notes in Happy Landings, and they occupy over one hundred pages at the back of the book. Readers may turn past them, but I worked very hard to research Emilie Loring’s life, and careful documentation is essential to the high standards of scholarship to which I am committed.
On a personal level, those references are my preserved moments, each a small victory of discovery. For example, Emilie’s grandfather Albert Baker, a sailmaker’s son, published a literary newspaper in Portland, Maine before he and other likeminded printers founded the Boston Herald.
Albert Baker was a quiet man, a practical printer and compositor, who left few documentary traces. This reference to his work on the Portland Transcript was the first sign of his family’s literary future. (You can tell that I was excited to find it!) The fact occupies only a few lines in Emilie’s biography, but its reference note is a signpost, and I will return someday to find examples of his writing.
For the reader, reference notes can be little treasure maps. For example, one leads to a photograph that I didn’t include in the book, of Emilie Loring with John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Another takes you to to a wild story mentioned only parenthetically in the text: fellow author Mrs. Larz Anderson’s island encounter with a baroness–and possible murderess–who “strutted about in her silken underwear… with a pistol strapped on her thigh.”
Now underway is creation of a comprehensive index. I can’t wait to see it. This is a biography of Emilie Loring, but it is a broader history, too, encompassing the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. These are times we’ve imagined from school, books, and movies, now brought into focus as the context for Emilie Loring’s life: the Civil War, Reconstruction, Gay Nineties, World War I, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, and World War II. It’s more social and literary history than it is political, and, of course, both fashion and gardening play their parts. I think people will be surprised when they scan the index and see all that it contains.
How big is the book?
The trim size is 7.25″ x 9.5″, and there are 640 pages. Until I see it printed, I won’t know how thick it is, but we are using high-quality, lightweight, white paper. I’m holding my breath to see what the shipping charges will be.
The book will be offset printed, the traditional method that applies ink to plates that are pressed onto paper. The hard cover (still choosing the color) will be foil stamped with the title and my name, and it will be wrapped in an illustrated, full-color jacket.
It’s going to be a lovely book!
A big book always costs more to make, and the final cover price will likely be in the neighborhood of forty-five dollars. I promise you that it is worth that and more.
If you have already reserved your autographed copy from me at the $35 advance purchase price, you’re in good shape!
Since this is my birthday month, I’ll continue to accept reservations for copies at $35 through the end of October. Now is the time to lock in copies for your holiday gift list. Just go to the Menu at the top of any page on this website, and click on the link that says, “Pre-order Happy Landings.”