Williams: Seattle Walks

Cover: Seattle Walks

Cover: Seattle Walks

SEATTLE WALKS:
DISCOVERING HISTORY AND NATURE IN THE CITY

David Williams
University of Washington Press, March 11, 2017, $17.95
ISBN-10: 0295741287; ISBN-13: 978-0295741284

Williams reports:

The book is an outgrowth of two of my previous books: Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from the City and Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography. In each of these books, I tried to bring the reader with me as I explored the human and natural history of Seattle.

David Williams

David Williams

In Seattle Walks, I wanted to take my research and the stories I wrote about previously — the regrading of Denny Hill, restoration along an urban creek, and the 3.5-billion-year-old stone that clads a downtown building — and create easy-to-follow routes that encourage people to get out in the field, see and experience what I have been writing about, and perhaps follow up with their own research when questions arise.

As before, I didn’t have an agent, which is one reason I worked with a local publisher. I also was lucky enough to work with the publisher that had published my previous book. Seattle Walks is a bit different from what university presses typically publish, but what I like about the University of Washington Press is their desire to publish non-academic, rigorously-researched titles. And they do a great job of marketing.

In some ways this was an easier book than previous ones I had written. I knew the publisher wanted it. The proposal was relatively short with simple walk descriptions and some basic ideas on why I wanted to write the book. Since several walks were based on previous work, I had less research to do, though I was still fortunate enough to have do some fun research at archives and libraries. The text sections are rarely more than about 500 words, which meant I didn’t have to figure out how to link very disparate ideas. And finally, what more fun could an author have than exploring one’s hometown, creating walking routes, and testing and retesting them again with friends?

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