Andrew Slade releases second North Shore guidebook (ONLINE EXCLUSIVE)
Things are going well for Andrew Slade. There and Back Books, the press he runs with his wife, Sally Rauschenfels, just released his second North Shore guidebook, "Camping the North Shore." Its predecessor, "Skiing the North Shore," was recently ...
Things are going well for Andrew Slade. There and Back Books, the press he runs with his wife, Sally Rauschenfels, just released his second North Shore guidebook, "Camping the North Shore." Its predecessor, "Skiing the North Shore," was recently recognized with an honorable mention in the non-fiction/memoir category last month at the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards -- out of 23 regional books nominated for that category, Slade pointed out.
"We're pretty excited about this award, especially since it's the first book published by There and Back Books," he said. "We set the bar high -- now we'll look forward to submitting 'Camping the North Shore' next year for 2008 books." Though he's a busy man, Slade graciously agreed to an e-mail interview to catch up with There and Back's goings-on:
Budgeteer: Your new book "Camping the North Shore" runs through the 23 best campgrounds on or around Lake Superior, but does any one stand out as your favorite?
Slade: There's a campground, one I visited repeatedly but never actually camped at, that's been calling out to me to bring the family for a night or two. It's the Baker Lake campground, a "rustic" national forest campground north of Tofte, literally on the edge of the Boundary Waters (Canoe Area) Wilderness. Beautiful pine trees, the most scenic outhouse in the area and direct access to a very nice BWCAW day-paddle. I think I'll go there this summer. Otherwise, the "best" campground really depends on your interests and how you like to camp: Do you tent-camp? Trailer-camp? Have an RV? Do you like to hike from your site, paddle from your site or go into town and eat at nice restaurants with services? The great thing about the North Shore is that there's a fabulous campground to suit all these different tastes. The book is set up to help you find your "best" campground as well as the perfect site within the individual campground, using detailed maps and sidebars with key information.
What were the most important factors you looked at when determining which parks would make your book?
To me, camping is a lot more than just a place to put up a tent or park the RV. So I looked for those places that were not only pleasant on their own, but also had fun activities to do nearby. Things like hiking trails, boating -- even art galleries. I have a pretty high standard for campgrounds, since I've camped and explored all around the country. And just a note: While there are quite a few state park campgrounds featured in the book, some of the best campgrounds are not parks ... but municipal campgrounds (like Grand Marais RV Park and Campground) or private campgrounds (like Lamb's Resort in Schroeder). As well as featuring the 23 best, I include descriptions for all the 66 campgrounds on the North Shore. And many of these are pretty good, just not the "best."
What is your first memory of the North Shore? Did you visit it a lot as a kid?
I think my first memory is a smell ... there's this great smell of wet North Shore rocks that must be part lichen, part gull droppings. And the feel of the cool fog, even in July. My family was really into big picnics on the cobblestone beaches you find around Little Marais.
Was it an easy decision to start up your own press? Did you consider going to an established publishing house?
Our books serve a select audience, folks who like the North Shore and enjoy adventures. I'm not a business analyst, but I think the only way we could pull this off was to do it ourselves. We rely heavily on our distributor to get the books out on the retail shelves, but other than that we do it all ourselves. Sally Rauschenfels is my wife and publishing partner. She brings years of regional publishing and design experience, plus the sort of attention to detail and quality that I don't have. The hard work of this press really falls on her. I get to research and write the books; she gets to refine the ideas, package and produce them. We really felt, between the two of us, we were the best team to produce North Shore guidebooks that were exactly what we wanted to sell. And we're lucky to have the perfect skill set between the two of us to do that.
Do you have any idea what your next project will be?
I'm researching and writing a North Shore hiking book this summer and fall. There are so many great hikes out there ... not only the Superior Hiking Trail but also in the state parks, in the (Superior) National Forest and who knows where else. The book will include 50 to 60 hikes -- some better-known and some surprises -- and be released in 2009. There and Back Books is aiming for publishing one new title a year, which is quite ambitious considering all the research and map making that goes into our books. We have to be extremely detail-oriented and specific with guidebooks. My publishing partner, Sally, keeps reminding me how much easier it would be to produce a simple fictional chapter book.
Is this a full-time gig, or do you have a day job on the side?
I've worked on North Shore and Lake Superior education and restoration projects for 15 years, at Great Lakes Aquarium and at Sugarloaf: The North Shore Stewardship Association. Our books have managed to fit in the cracks, during my "free" time. My wife, Sally, works full-time as a graphic designer with a regular slate of clients. She is able to fit our book projects in the same way, when she has slower periods with clients. Right now I'm focused on our next title. My two sons are home from school and I've challenged them to hike every Hiking Club trail in the North Shore state parks with me this summer. That's over 30 miles of hiking for a 10-year-old and 11-year-old. Watch for updates on my blog, http://northshore-thereandback.blogspot.com .