About a year ago a man in our community, Kenneth Roberts, the retired superintendent of schools and my former boss, came to me and asked if I would help him write a book about his wife, Dr. Jane Carswell, who died in 2015. My first question to him - "Would she have been okay with this?"
He replied, "Probably not, but it needs to be done."
As I've worked on her biography this past year, I became more and more aware that he was so correct on both counts. She was a very private person who preferred to work in the background and give the credit to others. Yet this is a story that needed to be told. Her life was an inspiration.
We had a working title from day one:
Dr. Jane Carswell: Family Physician, Humanitarian, Friend
In the past my books have been in the memoir genre, but this time I've crossed over a slight bit to do a biography, although the genre line between memoir and biography is not all that distinct. I used several memoir techniques in constructing this book...interviewing people who knew my subject...researching what they told me to add more or to fact check...making phone calls...sending emails...knocking on doors.
That's all behind me. I'm in the final proof stage and assuming all is as it should be, pushing the publish button is imminent. Almost.
I'll start with the back cover, created by my go-to book cover designer, Books That Matter.
The rose is significant. First off, it is a photograph taken by Dr. Carswell herself, one of thousands we had to choose from. Second, Jane Carswell grew roses. She didn't just grow them, she nurtured them, doctored them, and basked in their beauty. This rose earned its place on the back cover.
I did not know her before I wrote this book, except that she was the doctor who covered for my own physician whenever he was absent. Invariably my children took sick on his day off, and we ended up in her office. But about the Jane Carswell as humanitarian or friend, I knew nothing.
As I became acquainted with her, I grew more and more protective of her story. I had to tell it right. I couldn't misrepresent anything about her, nor could I insert my own awe into the narrative. There was plenty enough without my side comments.
I can't wait to introduce her to you.
Catch of the day,