David Williams: Homewaters—A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound




David B. Williams
University of Washington Press, April 24, 2021, $29.95
ISBN-10: 0295748605; ISBN: 9780295748603

Williams reports:

I began this book with the idea of wanting to write about the human and natural history of Puget Sound. I had long been attracted to a variety of stories and places around the Sound but didn’t know what direction to take. I reached out to scientists, historians, and tribal members to see what issues and stories interested them. Five months later, I put together a book proposal based on those interviews and on additional research.

David B. Williams

David B. Williams

I submitted it only to the University of Washington Press, publisher of my two previous books Too High & Too Steep and Seattle Walks. I knew they were interested because I had been talking to their acquisitions editor, and she had encouraged me to pursue the idea.

I turned in the manuscript in June 2019, about two years after signing my contract. It was sent out for peer review, a typical process for academic presses. Although those reviews resulted in six additional months of revisions, they ultimately led to a better book.

Homewaters takes a deep dive into Puget Sound, exploring the more than 13,000 years of people living here. My goal was to provide a long term look at how people have adapted to geological and ecological transformation, developments of new technology, and to newcomers who brought different ways of interacting with the landscape and its inhabitants. I wanted to tell how the region’s human inhabitants have shaped and been shaped by place.

The second half of the book turns to natural history and four often overlooked but essential groups, shellfish, rockfish, kelp, and herring: how they inhabit their world and how that affects the way people interact with them. The book ends by continuing a thread woven throughout, the lives of salmon and orca. Here I aimed to report how the region’s non-human inhabitants have shaped and been shaped by place.

Several years ago, I purposely chose to be a writer of regional stories. I feel it has paid off by leading to a strong relationship with a single publisher that knows I will write a book filled with my enthusiasm, knowledge, and passion for my chosen home landscape.

Contact info:

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Apr. 21, 2021

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines to submit your report.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

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NIH Genomics and the Media Seminar Series