It has felt like a lifetime. Really, it's only been three years. But they're finally here, Rock 'N' Roll Soldier ARCs!
Though R'N'RS – Vietnam vet Dean Kohler's YA war memoir I co-wrote – is my sixth published book, it's my first experience with advance reading copies, aka bound galleys. The others all went straight from galleys to hardcover. Wait, Roadwork did have a blad (book layout and design, just the cover and a few sample pages, assembled pamphlet-style) for its launch at SXSW '07 in Austin. But it's so cool to have an actual "book" of sorts – cover and full text, albeit both still being tweaked – before the real thing hits the shelves.
And can I tell you how much I love the cover art? I had my reservations about the first incarnation. This version is simply smokin', IMHO. Wait until you see the slick final jacket – the black guitar wraps onto the inside front flap, that photo of GI Dean in Nam fills the entire back, and the very clever spine looks exactly like a guitar neck.
Funny thing... Dean's 19 year old son – the book's target reader – thumbed through the ARC, did a little spot reading, then put it down. Dean's 17 year-old daughter picked it up, asked a few questions, started reading, and couldn't be pulled away from it. Go figure...
Causes Susan VanHecke Supports
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Trust For Historic Preservation