Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

Journal Inquirer article (Friday, October 16, 2009)

October 16, 2009

Seeing America – RV style

By Julie Sprengelmeyer  – Journal Inquirer 

Glenn Maynard was 28, working at Travelers, and his then-girlfriend was toiling as an administrative assistant when the two decided to just chuck it all and hit the road, celebrating their honeymoon along the way.

The decision wasn’t exactly met with cheers.

The family “was more worried about what you are going to have when you get back,” Maynard recalls, “but we’re like, memories

Not that Maynard hadn’t suffered qualms of his own about quitting their respective jobs, selling their cars, and putting off saving. But, latching onto the idea that life’s too short, he got on board and the two were able to bring family members around.

What followed was a yearlong trip in a rebuilt 22-foot 1978 Dodge Rockwood with little to no money, a “really high-strung” miniature schnauzer named Molly in tow, and, finally, a book deal for Maynard’s “Strapped into an American Dream,” chronicling their adventures.

“It was just the perfect timing for us. We just always wanted to travel and see different states,” Maynard says. “So we got married, took the wedding money, and once we got the RV it was set in stone. … Seeing the RV sitting in the driveway was reality.”

Ah, the RV.

A foray inside was an 8-track lover’s dream, Maynard says

The two tied the knot April 25, 1992, and left the next month. The wedding was nothing compared to what would follow.

“We had a lot of nights where we didn’t know where we were. We broke down in a forest. We had problems with the tires. We didn’t know where we were going to sleep at night. We had a book of free campgrounds that sometimes didn’t work out,” Maynard says. “We were always lost and we never had a home, but it was just great. I mean, not always, but it was wild.”

Some of the “wild” was supplied by forest inhabitants.

Bad idea: Letting loose a 10-pound beloved dog to do her business in the dead of night in a high-bear-frequency area in Montana.

Option: Accompanying her outside.

Hmmmm …

“So I use a flashlight, shine it around from a crack in the door, let her out, see glowing eyes 30 feet away, and just yank back her leash,” Maynard says. “All I had was a big bear in my mind. It turned out to be a raccoon. That’s the way it was.”

While handling the road and the roadside, Maynard also penned their story as he, Tracy, and Molly traversed 35,000 miles through 48 states.

“I had been writing the whole time, and I said, ‘We’re going to make a book of this by the time it’s all done.’ I was doing a daily journal of what transpired during the day and was writing columns for Glastonbury Citizen and the Bristol Press. People were following us as we went along.”

The story of Maynard, who grew up in Glastonbury and graduated from the University of Connecticut, is a tale not only of adventure on the road, but also of travails in the world of publishing.

The trip ended in 1993 and the couple returned to the glare of television cameras as they were interviewed for the evening news. Then the real work began. Maynard spent a few years writing, rewriting, and hawking his book proposal. In 1997, he and Tracy divorced. “We had a great time, and then, after five years, we didn’t have a great time,” he explains.

Maynard kept on, seeing agent after agent, rewriting to “tone down” the honeymoon aspect following his divorce, then sending query letter after query letter.

He received rejection after rejection.

“I wasn’t going to let go of this one. I said, ‘I’m going to be working on this until I’m old and gray.’ I’m getting there,” he says.

In 2008 an agent told him he couldn’t help him, but knew of a small publishing company that might. At first the company, Strategic Book Publishing, offered Maynard a subsidy contract in which he would pay half of the publishing cost.

“I finally convinced them that the book was worthy of a traditional contract and sent them my book proposal. They agreed,” he says.

So how did Maynard score a book deal without having to take the self-publish route?

“Persistence,” he responds. “I was pulling my hair out, but I never gave up and I never was going to. There was so much to share about this trip.”

Area bookstores have hosted book-signings, and Maynard is hoping word will spread. He also hopes to catch that big break.

He, like many other authors, dedicates the book to the Oprah Winfrey Book of the Month Club as well as to “armchair travelers.” That’s Maynard’s next goal: Oprah.

“Maybe it will get to her. … What do I have to lose?” he asks.

Meanwhile, back home in Wethersfield, Maynard, now a business analyst at United Healthcare in Hartford, is just glad to have the book completed. His moonlighting as an author has gone down well at his regular job.

“They love it

And in case you were wondering, Maynard can’t resist saying it: “I quit Travelers to be a traveler,” he muses.

 

“Strapped into an American Dream” is available on Amazon, Borders.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and at area book signings.

Hartford Courant needs to give Americans a reason to smile

September 30, 2009

I was told by a freelance writer to line up a book signing so the Hartford Courant could do a feature story on me in the Sunday Arts & Entertainment section. Once I lined up the book signing, I contacted the freelance reporter, who then contacted the editor who had assigned him. The editor decided not to do the story because the travel takes place in 1993. I asked the freelancer to check with other editors, which he did, but just left a message saying that the budget is so tight right now that there is no room for great travel stories that eventually translate into a book by a local author. Okay, perhaps that was not his EXACT wording, but I was told that writers have a liscense to stretch truth. I’ll use that liscense again now to say that I am very pleased with the Hartford Courant right now. God forbid they do a positive story. That might tarnish their image. Bring on the fatal car crashes and the house fires. Where are the tsunamis and the drownings. Give me yet more of the foreclosure news, and how about the hopeless economy. I think the Hartford Courant should be “Strapped Into An American Dream” so they can give Americans hope; a reason to smile. I will not stop UNTIL the Hartford Courant gets “Strapped Into An American Dream.” I will harass them about my book and my story until the economy turns around. Stay tuned…

Wethersfield Life Article

September 10, 2009
Neighbors

“An American Dream” lived on the road

Glenn Maynard’s new memoir recounts the funny and not-so-funny things that happened on a yearlong cross-country journey

by Doug Maine

 

Glenn Maynard’s newly published memoir, “Strapped into the American Dream,” recounts the yearlong, 35,000-mile trek he and his wife took as newlyweds across the continent in a rebuilt 14-year-old recreational vehicle.

“We paid off all our bills… We took the wedding money, quit our jobs and sold our cars,” Mr. Maynard said. “Everyone we told about it always wanted to do that; it’s an American dream and that’s what it was, our American dream.”

It was 1992 and they paid $5,800 for a 1978 Dodge Rockwood RV with a new engine (which they sold after the trip for $4,300). They hit the road a week after their wedding, on May 3, departing from his parents’ home in Glastonbury, and returned on their first anniversary, April 24, 1993.

Mr. Maynard, who has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Connecticut, a communications degree and a nine-year-old son named Andrew, described his book as “a memoir of people we met, places we stopped, funny things that happened, not so funny things.”

Except for two trips on airplanes, he hadn’t been outside the Northeast. Growing up in Glastonbury, “because I was the youngest of six kids, we packed up and went to Misquamicut every summer – no need to go anyplace else,” Mr. Maynard said.

It was while he and his then-girlfriend Tracy were in Florida one winter, sitting in her cousin’s whirlpool in 70-degree weather, that they decided that there had to be a better way. They brainstormed and eventually came up with the idea for the great American road trip.

As they traveled, Mr. Maynard wrote about their experiences for two newspapers, the Glastonbury Citizen, in his hometown, and the Bristol Press, where his wife had lived and he had moved in for a time. From the beginning, he planned to write a book about the journey. “I filled out 10 legal pads while I was on the trip. That’s what’s in (the book), the best of,” he said. He did most of his writing in the morning, “because we never knew where we were spending the night.”

Living the dream, on a budget

 

Every mile was new. “It was just a dream to hit the state line signs,” he said. His wife took a picture of him as the fifth head on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

“People in North Dakota, everybody waves to you; Texas, too,” he said.

Along the way, they met gypsies in Sedona, Ariz., and people who had spotted Bigfoot in the hills of Idaho, and survived tornadoes in Florida and an earthquake in Colorado.

A total of 50 tornadoes struck one night in Florida while they were staying in his wife’s cousin’s mobile home. They hunkered down inside, watching the roof move.

“We found people very friendly to us because of what we were doing, people helping us out if we needed help,” Mr. Maynard said. “A guy on Mackinac Island (in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) was so excited about what we were doing he gave us free passes on the jet ferry.”

In Jackson Hole, Wyo., they couldn’t find a place to stay. There was a sign along the side of the road warning that overnight camping was prohibited. “We said, ‘let’s just see,’” he said.

They awoke the next morning to find themselves close to a shear drop, above a narrow valley across from another shear rock wall. Never bothered by local authorities, they stayed a second night before traveling on.

Another night they parked by the Yellowstone River and fell asleep to the sound of the river rushing by.

They did these things to save money and because they had the sense that they would never be able to do it again once they returned home and to their regular work lives.

Highlights included seeing the ruins of Native American cave dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, which were “like little apartment buildings in stone.”

Also in Colorado, they spent half a day climbing to the top of a sand dune. “You’d climb just five steps and you’d be totally winded,” he said. Once they reached the top, they heard the sounds of an approaching thunderstorm. “It took us like five minutes to get to the bottom, like slide steps all the way down.”

The place that impressed them the most was Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah. “That was just the greatest, followed by Zion (National Park) … just massive rock formations, different colors of redstone and sandstone, big mushroom-shaped rocks,” Mr. Maynard said.

“Montana’s Glacier National Park was another notable one. You just drive up into the snow no matter what time (of year) it is and you get dizzy just looking down,” he said.

“We did 23 national parks. That was the main thing, hitting all the national parks,” he said. “In Wyoming, we went through towns with, like, six people. I mean cities like Casper are really low-key.”

Plans and the unplanned

 

“We had a map of the US, so we would tackle the northern states in spring and summer and the southern states in fall and winter,” Mr. Maynard said. “We thought we’d be warm the whole year, but it didn’t work out that way.”

Over the course of a year, they drove 35,000 miles and visited each of the 48 contiguous states. Gas was a major expense, given that the RV got just eight miles to the gallon.

“We had our first breakdown three days into the trip. We went to Rhode Island and it stalled three times in the middle of the road and we had to have it towed to a service center,” he said.

The RV also had thermostat and radiator problems high in the mountains out west. “A lot of nice people tried to help us out,” he said.

“We would research the states to see where we wanted to go and see if there were any free campgrounds … A lot of times it didn’t work out,” he said. “It wasn’t pretty at times, but it was an adventure.”

Despite the hardships and running out of money at times, they never thought about quitting.

In Las Vegas, they stayed in the parking lot of the Excalibur Hotel. “It was a huge lot; they had shuttle service to places… As long as you’re in their casino dropping your money, which we weren’t, they’re happy and you can stay as long as you want,”

They had to leave when they discovered their holding tanks were empty, which became apparent when they turned on their shower and got only a drip, drip. From then on they boiled fresh water or used tap water wherever it was available. Washing their hair meant sticking their heads in a sink or bucket and then shampooing.

When they came upon a campground with showers, “that was like the best hotel around,” Mr. Maynard said.

They stopped in Arizona for two months and got jobs because they needed the money. “We got down to a couple of hundred dollars when we were in Arizona and there was flooding and it kept raining, if you can believe, in Phoenix,” he said.

They jumped to accept job offers from a law firm, but then learned they would have to wear a suit or other proper business attire, which they had not brought along and could not afford to buy.

As a result, they ended up taking $5-an-hour jobs on a production line, bottling and capping lotions.

“We were damn glad to have that job,” he said, but after about three weeks they decided to quit and flew through a number of states, making it to New Orleans just in time for Mardi Gras.

“We knew people, a friend of a friend who let us stay in their driveway for a day or two, and they took us into the city for our first parade and from there we branched out,” staying in the Big Easy for a week, often using the bicycles they had brought along.

After the trip

 

The wild beauty of the West got Mr. Maynard and his wife wondering whether they could live in such a beautiful place and get work. They ended up moving to the Denver, Colo., area, where the economy was booming at the time.

“I was working in restaurants and I was working nights so I would write during the day,” he said. He finished the book about the trip and a fictional book.

“When I first finished, it was a honeymoon/travel book,” and was close to being published in Colorado, he said.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon proved short-lived and the book had to be changed when he and his wife divorced.

“We did our travels, we came back, six months in Colorado, then the wheels came off the marriage,” he said. “But it had nothing to do with the close quarters for the year. It was a great trip.”

After four years in Denver, he returned home to Connecticut, having missed the beaches, fall colors and his family.

He spent a year rewriting the book and then blasted out letters to agents. None expressed interest and another year went by.

Finally, one agent said he couldn’t help but did know of a small publisher that might be interested. The book came out earlier this year, published by Strategic Book Publishing.

“So, when I finally held it in my hands… To actually see those words inside a hard cover was unbelievable,” Mr. Maynard said.

While the publisher was working to get the book mentioned on social media sites, “my job is to jump in and keep it going. I’m learning on the fly,” he said.

He dedicated his book to the Oprah Winfrey Book of the Month Club. “I figured I’d get it in there. You never know; what the hell? The worst that can happen is she doesn’t see it,” he said.

In the meantime, he’s living on Middletown Avenue and working as a business analyst for United Healthcare. He still has the fictional book he wrote in Colorado, but needs to give it a good going over. “I’ve just got to make sure everything is fine-tuned before I get it out there,” he said.

WLGlenn Maynard is the author of “Strapped into an American Dream,” the story of his yearlong trek in a rebuilt RV.

 

As seen in

LIFE

Wethersfield

Aug. 09

 

Upcoming Journal Inquirer interview

August 29, 2009

On Monday, August 31st, I will be interviewed by the Journal Inquirer newspaper out of Manchester, CT.  This is a long awaited interview that was finally granted by one of the reporters who does not even handle the State News section of the paper.  However, my persistence paid off, and she was granted permission by her editor to do a feature story on me.  She told me that she was taking my book home with her this weekend, and she will be another victim of “Strapped Into An American Dream.”  I will include the story in an upcoming post soon after publication.

Other Blog for Author

August 9, 2009

http://maynardglenn.wordpress.com/wp-admin/

Hartford Courant contact

July 21, 2009

I received a phone call today from a reporter with The Hartford Courant who will be interviewing me for a feature story in the Courant’s Sunday Arts & Entertainment section.  However, since my signing is Saturday, which will be one day prior to the feature story, they needed to reschedule to coincide with my next book signing.  I will have my sights on my hometown of Glastonbury, CT for this next event. In the meantime, I will have a book signing on Saturday, July 25th at The Book Rack in Vernon CT.

Public Appearances for Glenn Maynard

June 22, 2009

Today I received an email reply from Diane Smith, who I had emailed last week regarding a possible interview on her TV show.  She responded that she would be interested in an interview for a morning Talk Radio show (1080 WTIC AM) she will be doing in June and August, and requested a Review Copy. Then I received an email from Manchester Community College (MCC) regarding a car show. I had received it last Friday, but deleted it since I have no interest in cars. I like them. I think they’re neat, but that’s where the love affair ends. When I received the email again on Monday, my ‘think outside the box’ light went on and I decided to email them regarding a booksigning at this event. For a nominal fee of $20 I secured a spot. It’s this Sunday in Manchester, CT. I will have newspapers advertising my booksigning at this event, and I will get my feet wet during this first booksigning. Onward and upward.

Waiting on reviews – OUCH!

June 8, 2009

Waiting on reviews is a painful undertaking.  I have several copies of my book, “Strapped Into An American Dream” out there that were requested from my publisher, but weeks have passed.  Everyone is busy, too, especially with newspapers and all other media scaling back on staff.  USA Today and the Hartford Courant asked for review copies, then said they’re not sure if they can get to them because they’re too busy.  Reviews are too important to take lightly, so I will hound these media outlets until they finally just take care of business just to shut me up.  I can hear the wheel squeaking already.

Enfield Public Library booksigning

June 3, 2009

I received a call from the Enfield Public Library ‘Friends of the Library’ Program regarding a speaking engagement and book signing.  They read about my book, “Strapped Into An American Dream” in the Enfield Press and called me to speak about my book in the Library.  Bill ‘The Spaceman’ Lee, former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox had a speaking engagement there last summer.  I agreed to appear, and the Library will be scheduling me for September.  And i’m off…

The Chicago Tribune review request for “Strapped Into An American Dream”

May 19, 2009
My publisher just received a request for a review copy of my book, “Strapped Into An American Dream,” from the Chicago Tribune, which has “Resourceful Traveler” within its Sunday Travel section.  This Travel book review column would do wonders for my book, so I am very much hoping that they will do the review, but they could not guarantee it. I can guaratee that I will be thrilled if the Chicago Tribune reviews “Strapped Into An American Dream.”