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Serendipity Leads Xlibris Author Leslie B. Cole To Pen His First Book – Part 1

Thinking it was time to hang up his working gloves, Leslie B. Cole never had an inkling he would one day write a book.

Les, as he is fondly called, narrates the event that led him to express his latent writing talent and discover more surprises; hence the book Rogers Burnham, The Original Man Behind Bill W, and The Origins Of AA In Vermont. The Xlibris author also shares writing techniques he learned along the way.

Xlibris Author Leslie B. Cole

This is the first full book that I have ever written. It is a very personal and historical record. I’m now in the later years of my life, retired from my profession, currently living alone, and had no intention of becoming an author until…

In 1994 I was temporarily living with a sort-of unfamiliar cousin and her husband in Albuquerque, N.M. We were having a customary cocktail during the evening meal and I was reminiscing about my childhood experiences in Vermont. I mentioned a period when I was about eight years old when my family moved from my native small village, Arlington, to share a large house with a young man named Rogers Burnham on a historic estate in Manchester. The year was 1932 and the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. My only and three-year-old younger sibling, Raymond and I found an old Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a side-car, stored in the Carriage House on that estate. We often played on it pretending we were adults.

I mentioned those experiences to my cousin during our dinner. She got up from the table and went to her bookcase and pulled out a book titled PASS IT ON. She opened the mid-section and showed me a picture of that very motorcycle with a man sitting on the saddle and a young lady sitting in the side-car. It was the very same bike I had just been talking about.

I flipped though a few pages and saw many descriptions of places I knew personally. I was amazed and asked what that book was about. She said it was about the international program Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and that the man on the bike was Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA. The young woman was his wife, the former Lois Burnham (Rogers’ sister). My cousin added that she was a recovering-alcoholic and knew a lot about the AA program. I had not noticed that she had not had a cocktail that evening.

I bought a copy of PASS IT ON…and many other books about the history of AA…over the next few years. I was hooked on the new knowledge and how my family had been significantly connected to Rogers Burnham during the 1930s. I started writing my memories as an essay, which later became my comprehensive book.

By the time my book was published by Xlibris in December 2011, I had twice gone from my current home in Colorado to Vermont in search of details; reviewed original documents in the archives at Stepping Stones in Katonah, NY, the historic home for years of Bill and Lois; obtained copies of many court records for further study; talked with some Vermont “old-timers” who had stories about the origins of AA; and re-written my book after professional edits, in eleven consecutive versions. For me, it has been a very interesting seventeen years since 1994.

Les talks further about his literary exploits in the second part of this blog entry.

More Xlibris authors have revealed their journey to self-publishing success here on the Xlibris Blog and the Xlibris Indie Authors Roundup. Find out how you too can make it as a self-pubbed author by reading tips on writing, editing, and book marketing at the Xlibris Writer’s Workshop.

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