How does a campfire talk …
Become a book, let alone a trilogy?
Bob riffs randomly on the Campfire Trilogy
Let’s just say one thing led to another, led to another, led to another until we were too deep in to turn around. By we, I mean Rudi and me. The year was 2014. We were around a campfire celebrating the 40th birthday of Big Cypress National Preserve. Looking back, that was the original campfire, our original campfire, and from which everything that came after took root. First our campfire talks where we went “old school” and ditched the Power Point that Ranger Rudi would have otherwise used had I not suggested we collaborate, just him, me and my guitar and a script that kept the audience guessing at every turn. The occasion was the 100th birthday of America’s national parks, rapidly approaching in 2016. Twelve campfire talks later, we’d done our job — with the caveat we wanted to do more. And so the idea for a book was born.
Eight months into writing the novel, which we tentatively entitled The Legend of Campfire Charlie, I informed Rudi that we had too much material, and that the only solution was to turn it into a trilogy. Thus, what started as a half-hour campfire talk turned into a 6-year writing odyssey. Not that I didn’t enjoy the process, I did. In fact, it was a diversion that kept my mind spinning, and helped me refine and expand my writing process. The first book we published in 2016 in time for the 100th birthday, if also not to much fanfare. Not that I cared. There were still two more books to write. By 2020 the trilogy was done, with a twist: the books needed a home. And so the idea for the Campfire Park website was born. Rudi and I were less interested in hawking the books than continuing the conversation around the campfire, just like the “original campfire” where the entire project came to life.
Spoiler alert: The trilogy is great, and I recommend all three books. But an abridged version of all three books is on the way. At the end of the day, even if it takes decade, I’d like to think and always want to be remembered as a finisher — somebody who set out to on a great journey and got to the finishing point.
Oh, and about the roll out of the soon-to-be-released abridged book. It should be just in time for the 50th Anniversary of Big Cypress National Preserve in November 2024. Actually, the abridged version should be out before then.
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Books of the Trilogy: (1) The Legend of Campfire Charlie, (2) Last Stand at Boulder Ridge and (3) Final Campfire. An abridged version is in the works.