Credit where credit is due

Published March 3, 2013 by A.J.B. Johnston

I have the feeling most readers don’t pay much attention to the acknowledgements section in a book. I can understand. Yet these generally short sections are important to authors. It’s where the various people who made the book a reality are given their due. My next book, due out in a few weeks, is Louisbourg: Past, Present, Future. I’d like to acknowledge in this entry the others behind the book.

The idea for a fresh take on Louisbourg came not from me at all. I suppose I thought I’d written enough about the place. It was Patrick Murphy, Managing Editor of Nimbus Publishing who suggested in May 2012 that it might be appropriate to have a new book on Louisbourg to mark the tercentenary of the French founding in 1713. I mulled it over for a couple of days and decided that yes, Patrick was right. I could put together a book that tells the Louisbourg story for a broad audience in a more sweeping way than I or anyone else have told it before. That would mean beginning the history five thousand years ago — when the harbour was formed — and continuing on through the French period into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well. And then I wanted to cap it off with a glimpse into the likely near future of the place.

Right from the start, I wanted to enlist Parks Canada historian, Anne Marie Lane Jonah, and Parks Canada archaeologist, Rebecca Duggan, as contributors to the project. I thought initially as co-authors, but the timeline was too short. So instead, they agreed to contribute a few short essays each. Those pieces add extra depth in their areas of expertise.

Meanwhile, once I had a finished text, most of which I wrote in a couple of months, the manuscript was placed in the hands of Nimbus editor Whitney Moran. What a great contribution Whitney made. She tightened the writing and spent countless hours sorting through several hundred image candidates. (Too many image possibilities, which was my fault.) Hat off to Whitney. I think in the end she may have spent as much time on the book as I had myself. The final step saw the package being given to Nimbus designer, Jenn Embree. She did a wonderful job packaging the whole thing, which turned it into a book.

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