No. 1 — Introduction

It was a just year ago that we made the final decision to self-publish the Books of Furnass series, rather than try to have them printed with traditional mainstream publishers. My first inclination is to say that if I knew then what I know now about self-publishing, I might have second thoughts about attempting such a venture—but that’s too easy. The fact is there was little choice at this stage of my work (I’d be pushing it to call it a career); or to put it another way, it almost seemed ordained that we would self-publish, that everything that had happened with the books over the years had put us on this path. Who was I to argue with the workings of the world? Or rather, with where my decisions over the past decades had led us?

After thirty-five years or so in development (forty-plus, if you include the photographs I took of the mill towns north of Pittsburgh in the 1970s), the books about the fictitious town of Furnass were finally in shape for publication. All the characters were coordinated between the various stories; all events reconciled into the relevant time frame; all the dates correlated, so that a particular character didn’t turn out to be a hundred and twenty-five when such-and-such was said to occur. Yes, over the years I had tried to find mainstream publishers for several of the books, but somehow things never worked out—either the publishers weren’t interested, or I wasn’t interested in what was offered. And in each case, I was grateful afterward that the books weren’t published earlier. Every time I thought a book was finished and ready to face the world, I found it was amiss in the series as I continued on with the next book.

Which is why the series took thirty-five years to develop. Which is what we’ll talk about in the next installment of these Tales.