Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Eighty years ago today my grandmother Barbara Krueger was born, to Weldon and Lolita Emigh. Her dad was a family man, talented golfer, worker in the coffee business, and lover of the California coastline. And even though he never even graduated from high school, Weldon Emigh had a life ambition to write a novel. Throughout the late 1970's, he finally got to work on his book, a romance titled A DANGEROUS ROAD set in Monterey about an adulterous love affair. He finished the book, twenty-seven chapters and 84,000 words in length, in 1980, and spent much of the rest of his life trying to get his debut novel published. He sent it to publishers, time and time again, only to get rejected and denied every single time. He even followed Merv Griffin into a men's bathroom and asked him while peeing if he could help him get his book published. The man tried everything, but alas, his manuscript never saw the light of day. And when Weldon passed away in the summer of 1998, his one and only novel remained just that--an unpublished manuscript.

Growing up, writing my short stories and screenplay in my teen years, I was always intrigued about my great-grandfather's unpublished book. I was the only person in my extended family writing fiction, so I liked the idea that somebody much older than myself had tried to write a book. In 2003 I left for film school and didn't write much material for a while, instead focusing on film criticism and making movies. But in the last two years I returned to my first love, writing fiction, and later this week I'm going to finish my fifth book. Earlier this year I learned the process of how to take your manuscript and self publish it into a physical book for the masses to read, and suddenly I had the ability to take not just my work, but someone else's, and turn it into a published book.

In April, after returning to Reno, I discovered that my grandmother--Weldon's daughter--was going to be turning 80 in late August. I had made a documentary about her husband Ralph for his 80th birthday in 2009, and I wanted to do something equally special for my grandmother. Lo and behold, I discovered that Weldon's novel, only one single manuscript left in existence, was at my uncle and aunt's house across town. I asked to see it, and it was delivered to me in early May. Running about 360 pages in length, the manuscript was a mess. Pages were falling out, much of the typeface was hard to read. I knew, now with my knowledge of self-publishing, that I had to do something with this book, and the timing was perfect, considering my grandma's birthday coming up at the end of August.

So starting the first week of May, I began typing my deceased great-grandfather's words page by page, paragraph by paragraph, to Microsoft Word, typing up about eight pages a day, while I also worked on my fourth and fifth manuscripts. I took a couple of brief breaks, and it ended up taking me a little more than three months to transcribe the entire novel to my own Word document. By early August, I had his entire book on a clean Microsoft Word file, and I set out to create the book cover, and the interior file for the physical book version. Two weeks ago I received the final 252-page book version, and gift-wrapped it for my grandmother's birthday.

On Saturday night we went out for dinner at Garwood's at Lake Tahoe, then went back to our cabin to give my grandma her birthday presents. First she read my card, then she unwrapped the gift, clearly confused as what my gift could possibly be. When she stared down at the cover, and I said, "I published your dad's book," she brought her hand to her face and started to cry. I gave her a big hug and enjoyed this rare, tender moment with my grandmother. She was totally stunned at the gift, and excited to share it with her sister Ellie, who lives in California. A handful of people in the family had tried to continue work on my great-grandfather's book, including my own grandfather at one point, but finally, in 2011, thirteen years after Weldon's death, his novel had seen the light of day as a published book, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. My great-grandfather's work, twenty-one years after completion, is now in print... forever.

My great-grandfather's book is available in both eBook and Softcover versions. If you're interested in checking it out, feel free to click on any one of the links below...


A DANGEROUS ROAD on Barnes & Noble


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