Today I am interviewing Loren Rhoads, editor of the first Death’s Garden and author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She has put together a second edition titled Death’s Garden Revisited, a collection of new essays by over 40 authors who share their personal relationships and experiences with cemeteries. The book went live on Kickstarter March 17. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am excited to have an essay included in this book!
Welcome, Loren! For those who are not familiar with Kickstarter, please explain what it is and how it works for Death’s Garden Revisited.
Kickstarter is a website where creators, including small presses, can raise funding for a project before it’s created. In this case, Automatism Press had the money to publish Death’s Garden Revisited as an oversized paperback with black and white photographs, but I wanted to produce a full-color hardcover book. I hoped to raise enough money for that by taking preorders for the book through the Kickstarter campaign.
As it turned out, Death’s Garden Revisited sold enough copies on its first day to make the transition to full-color.
Have you ever used it before for a book or a project? And why did you choose it this time?
I’ve helped to fund a lot of projects on Kickstarter before: story anthologies, history books, comic books, new magazines (several of which I later went on to write for), even a couple of cemetery history books.
I’ve never tried to raise money for a project of my own that way before, but it turns out I know a whole lot of people who have. They gave me great advice.
I chose Kickstarter this time because I hoped to build some excitement for Death’s Garden Revisited before it comes out in October. With the help of everyone who has preordered, Automatism Press can afford to make the book I really want to make.
How long have you seen writing about cemeteries and how did you get started?
Oh, my goodness, a long time! I edited the first Death’s Garden book – Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries – in the early Nineties That book started when a friend who was dying gave me a box of photographs he’d taken in cemeteries as he traveled. Before that, it hadn’t ever occurred to me that people would want to visit cemeteries on vacation. Blair inspired me to seek out cemeteries myself, which led me to writing a monthly column for several years about traveling to visit cemeteries. I gathered those columns in my first cemetery book, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.
Death’s Garden Revisited will be my fourth cemetery book. The fifth one – Still Wish You Were Here – is going out as a bonus to people who preorder Death’s Garden Revisited.
Tell me about some of the backgrounds of some of the contributors. Do they write mainly about cemeteries or do they write in other genres?
There is such a wonderful variety of them! Carol Tyrrell, Joanne Austin, and Rachelle Meilleur all write cemetery blogs. Sharon Pajka just published a wonderful book called Women Writers Buried in Virginia. M. Parfitt worked as cemetery tour guide. Paul Stansfield is a contract archaeologist who has helped to move several cemeteries.
Other contributors are historians and travel writers. Erika Mailman has written a novel about Lizzie Borden. Anne Born has written about walking the Camino de Santiago. Trilby Plants has written thrillers and children’s books. Rain Graves taught tango in Argentina. A bunch of the contributors are horror writers.
When is the book coming out? In what form? And where will be available?
Death’s Garden Revisited will be out in October 2022. It will be available in hardcover, an 8 x 10-inch paperback and e-book. I know it will be available on Amazon, but I’m still working out the distribution everywhere else. The complication is that I’m not working with my regular printer this time, because of the color photos.
People can bypass all that by preordering their own copy on Kickstarter now. Then the book will magically appear in the mail in October!
Thank you, Loren! Here is the link – check it out. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries The campaign ends April 16.