We are a year away from its official publication, but the stage is set. Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening (John Hunt Publishing/Roundfire, UK) will be out in late summer 2020. I’m not only pleased with this book, I am thrilled with the artwork and design, including the image of Sam created by the hands of a wonderful artist and a friend.
Here’s the cover and a photo of Sam.
My publisher accepted the artwork, the image of Sam, and then the art department designed the book. Maybe you disagree, but the art of Sam on the cover is truly Sam. The way she stands, the way she tilts her head. It’s her.
So why didn’t the publisher just use a photo of Sam? It’s a matter of aesthetics and genres. Book designers have told me that, for the most part, photographs tend to suggest a certain kind of book, a nonfiction work that is not necessarily memoir or essay at its base. Photos, I’m told, subconsciously would have given the reader the wrong indication of what Walks with Sam is about. This design, of course, has not always been the case. It seems it’s a modern-day approach to book production. Artwork and graphics are “in.”
Walks with Sam is about allowing this wonderful animal to awaken to me the world. It is written in a series of walks through a summer of re-examination, a re-assessment of where one is in the world at a particular time in life. Sam is my shaman, if you will. How many of us have taken a walk with our dog and not come away with some reaffirming truth? It certain is not always something dramatic or life-changing, in fact it probably isn’t. But the accumulation of the journeys with your dog by your side is rarely without meaning if you allow yourself to accept this and stay open to the possibilities.
So, the writing is complete, the editing complete, and the wonderful artwork complete. Thank you Jim Olson for your delicate hand and the truly beautiful image of Sam. She deserves the best and she got it.