Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on Rebekah Salamack, local author and publisher, who will be at our 65 James Street bookstore on Sunday, October 21, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. Besides talking about publishing, Rebekah will be sharing the book she co-wrote, RICHCO, a rags-to-riches story based on the life events of Naval officer Peter Rich.
Thank you so much for joining us, Rebekah! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I grew up in a chatty family, and my grandmother was always telling stories. I loved to listen, then write it all down. While in college, I started traveling around the world, collecting more stories and putting pen to paper. In May of 2017, I published my first book, a collection of stories I gathered while interviewing a retired naval officer who served during the cold war. Not wanting to wait for an agent or publisher to start my journey as an author, I decided to form my own publishing company R&R Publishing LLC. It’s been a crazy awesome first year, and I can’t wait to see where the unpredictable world of publishing and writing take me next.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from RICHCO?
RICHCO is a book about Peter Rich. A real man who wanted to tell a story about the things he’d done and the things he wished he had done. During my first interview with him, he asked that the book be part Fifty Shades of Grey part James Bond. The result is a saucy tale of seduction and suspense. From building his first company at the age of sixteen, his years as a top secret diver for the United States Navy, and his ascension to vast wealth. I’ll tell your truthfully that 89% of this book is true. But I won’t tell you which parts!
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
Peter Rich likes to tell the fun stories of his escapades. Who he slept with, who he fought with, how he made a bunch of money one time, but he wasn’t so thrilled to give me the practical information. This left a lot of holes for me to fill in with a fair amount of time spent on research. For the Real Estate aspects of his empire, I attended many seminars and even became a real estate agent for a short time in order to “see what it was all about.” I read many books on the Cold War and interviewed professionals who specialized in things like deep sea diving or the mechanics of diesel engines. Peter has an eclectic past, and the research for this memoir show it.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out RICHCO? How did you overcome that challenge?
As a creative person and writer, it is sometimes difficult to write with another person. It can be difficult to complete the work while simultaneously making the person you are writing about completely happy. Luckily, Pete has become a good friend. When we would butt heads over book details, it would end in laughter and a joke. I usually got my way about context or chapter placement with a simple gesture and comment from Pete. He would throw his hands up in the air and exclaim, “Fine, have it your way! You are the writer!”
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
About halfway through this project I nearly gave up. Writing the story from Peter’s perspective just seemed like the main character was constantly bragging about himself. Pete has accomplished amazing things in his seventy eight years, but nobody wants to read a book about a pompous rich dude who sleeps around. The character Elaine evolved to fix this issue. Elaine could describe Peter’s incredible achievements from her own point of view. It solved the pompous main character problem; she saved the book!
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
My next book will come out early 2019 and is a collection of stories I brought home with me from Tororo, Uganda. One of my college adventures brought me to East Africa where I stayed at an orphanage. The book will tell of the children and widows I met as well as how this amazing journey changed my life for the better. Occasionally I post a chapter on my blog rebekahbook.com and hope for feedback on this intense but worthwhile project.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Besides a couple local book stores in the Worcester area, and the trunk of my well traveled car, our books can be found on Amazon.com and at barnesandnoble.com
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Thank you so much for the great interview, Rebekah! We look forward to having you at our bookstore at 65 James Street on Sunday, October 21, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM!