Sarah Scoles—Astronomical Mindfulness: Your Cosmic Guide to Reconnecting with the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets

Astronomical Mindfulness

Astronomical Mindfulness


Christopher G. De Pree and Sarah Scoles (NASW Member)
HarperOne, January 4, 2022, $24.99
ISBN-13: 978-0063041325

Scoles and De Pree report:

Some of the exercises in the book began as astronomy labs at Agnes Scott College, where we met back in 2003 as professor and student. Both of us were struck by how easy it is to miss the motions of celestial objects. We wanted to help people notice them and their place in the universe. In a sense, this book felt like a way to bring the wonder that astronomy students often feel to a much wider audience--without pop quizzes.

Initially Chris’s idea, the project felt like a good fit with our mutual interest in astronomical accessibility. We developed an overview of the book with a couple of sample “exercises,” like one to estimate the number of visible stars in the sky. We then wrote a full outline, dividing the exercises up into topics like Sun, Moon, stars and planets.

Sarah Scoles

Sarah Scoles

Sarah’s agent sent the outline to publishers. HarperOne, interested in the overlap of science and self-awareness, bit. As we started writing, our editor suggested including interviews and information about Indigenous astronomy. Both of us were writing during the early months of the pandemic, so we had time to focus, research, and try out our exercises.

Christopher G. De Pree

Christopher G. De Pree

In the early days, it seemed like the pandemic would be long-over when the book was ready. The publication date was initially set for Summer 2021, but as the pandemic continued, the date was pushed back, as were many other books’ pub dates.

Had there not been a pandemic, it would have been nice to try the exercises out with friends, family, and colleagues. That way, we could have had a better sense of how the book would play out in the real world. But we’ll just get to see now!

Our advice for aspiring authors: When you have an idea for a book, pursue it! There is nothing like the transformation of an idea into pages between covers. Write every day, even when it’s bad, because it can be good later.

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January 5, 2022

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

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