Posts Tagged ‘Journal Inquirer’

The Jerk at my Booksigning

November 9, 2009

My booksigning at the CT International Auto Show was quite interesting, and I believe a success. Although I only sold a few books, I did have several lengthy conversations with people who excitedly took a copy of my press release so they could buy the book online. A Hartford police officer approached me for a chat and he wrote the book title in his little planner so he could purchase the book for his daughter. She is considering a cross country trip, but torn between motorcycle and RV. Another couple hunted me down to purchase a book after saying they had looked for me all over the show and even in the cars. They had seen my ad in the Journal Inquirer on Thursday. A security guard asked me if I was the guy he had heard on the Ray Dunaway radio show a couple of months ago. I told him that I was. There were many others who stopped to ask questions or chat. I watched a constant flow of foot traffic pass by, and the majority of them saw my poster, which is a blown up bookcover of “Strapped Into An American Dream.” Thousands of people each day passed by my booth. On day one of the Show, I had more than I could transport from my car to the Show. I was in a parking garage, but with no clue as to where I needed to go. I carried my box of 16 books, which was quite heavy. I had my leather zippered bag with more books and newspaper articles on top of the box. Then I had a collapsed easel that I had borrowed for the event, and that lie on top of the bag which was on top of the box. I lifted these items with my right arm, squeezing the box high and tight so that the collapsed easel with it’s many legs was pressed against my armpit. I then tried to grab the handled giftbag with yet more books in it as well as the cardboard poster. I couldn’t handle it all as the easel began to slip from my pit and I slowly release the box and the bag, and the easel fell a short distance to the cement and made a disruptively loud noise. I then grabbed a passerby, who assisted me the rest of the way as we both blindly made our way to this show. After the show it got much more interesting, as I had to make the trek to my car, unsure of its exact location…unassisted. Box under bag under collapsed easel tucked tightly under my right arm. Gift bag of books and poster in my left hand. This was one difficult undertaking, and I would make it about 20 steps before I needed to dismantle my load with the loud easel bringing attention to myself. Once I made it to the garage, where I couldn’t find my car, I asked the security guard for a ride via his golf cart. He told me that it’s broken and he could not assist. My dismantles became louder. Then I started carrying the box of books a short distance, putting them down, and going back for the rest of the items. I then found my car, and boy was I a happy camper. All I could think of during this trek was Steve Martin in The Jerk when he kept accumulating bulky items to carry with him down the street. Although I felt like a circus clown, I thought this is how it is in the beginning, and it sounded so much like a rookie story. So many successful people have stories like this. It’s the perseverence that made them successful. I will do this act again if it means i’m on my way.

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.

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.