One family. Ten months. Living a dream. When I chose to indie publish my trilogy Cry of the Kiwi: A Family’s New Zealand Adventure, I knew I had a monumental task ahead of me, in both senses of monumental: 1) great in importance, extent, or size, and 2) of or serving as a monument.

On Abel Tasman Coast Track, South Island, New Zealand (© Vilis Nams)

The trilogy is of great importance to me (I’ve worked at it on and off for fourteen years). It’s also the largest writing project I’ve ever completed: three 6″ x 9″ books with a combined thickness of 4.5 centimetres (1.75 inches), a total word count exceeding 165 000 words, 130 photographs, more than 200 endnote references, plus a map, glossary, and index for each book. (I handled everything, with the help of my techie husband.) The trilogy is also monumental in the sense that it’s a monument to, or celebration of, a very special interlude in my life and the lives of my husband and sons. My tagline for the trilogy says it best: One family. Ten months. Living a dream. 

Just before midnight yesterday, I approved the release of the trilogy’s third book, Tang of the Tasman Sea, which chronicles my family’s final five months on New Zealand’s South Island. And with that approval came a wonderful feeling of freedom – freedom in the sense of having accomplished, to the best of my ability, a large goal I’d set for myself. And freedom to move on to new projects.

I learned some important lessons during the indie publishing process. I learned to be disciplined, to set and meet deadlines, to become a student of the industry, to seek advice from other writers pursuing the indie publishing path, to not be too proud to heed much of my editor’s advice, and most importantly, I learned to believe in myself and my ability to learn a completely new set of skills (manuscript formatting, book interior design, cover design) in order to turn my dream into reality.

The dream still has a few loose ends. I’ll create e-book versions of the trilogy during the next month or so, in between working on a book about Vilis’s and my year in Australia in 2010 and absorbing the sights and sounds of South Africa, where we’ll spend the next six months.

The world is full of beauty, challenge, and adventure. May it always be so.

Now, breathe in the Tang of the Tasman Sea:

Onetahuti Beach, Abel Tasman National Park (© Vilis Nams)

Onetahuti Beach, Abel Tasman National Park (© Vilis Nams)

Description of Tang of the Tasman Sea

Tang of the Tasman Sea is the third volume of Magi Nams’s trilogy, Cry of the Kiwi: A Family’s New Zealand Adventure, a captivating chronicle of her family’s travel dream fulfilled in a land of volcanoes, giant trees, and endangered flightless birds. Back on South Island after the excitement of tracking and live-trapping stoats on North Island, the Nams battle adventure inertia and homeschool tensions. They rebound to explore a honeydew ecosystem, backpack Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, and climb to the summit of Little Mount Peel, where the Aurora Australis displays a spectacular light show in the night. After an Easter vacation in New South Wales, Australia, the family hikes to brooding Cave Creek, with its history of disaster. They follow flashlights deep into Fox River Cave and kayak a tidal river that empties into the Tasman Sea. Between winter storms, the Nams hike a rain-drenched West Coast beach at Ōkārito and through dank rainforest and over icy bedrock to a spectacular lookoff over Franz Josef Glacier. Along the way, Nams reflects on her family’s growing immersion in Kiwi life, on lessons learned, and on the impact of invasive species on native ecosystems. As the foursome’s adventure of a lifetime draws to a close, it becomes clear that the heart of New Zealand lies in more than its riveting landscapes and intriguing flora and fauna.

For more information about Tang of the Tasman Sea and the Cry of the Kiwi: A Family’s New Zealand Adventure trilogy, click here.

South Island, New Zealand, Photo Gallery

Lake Daniell, North-central South Island (© Magi Nams)

Lake Daniell, North-central South Island (© Magi Nams)

Castle Hill Conservation Area, central South Island (© Vilis Nams)

Castle Hill Conservation Area, central South Island (© Vilis Nams)

West Coast Rainforest, South Island (© Magi Nams)

West Coast Rainforest (© Magi Nams)

Christchurch, Viewed from Bridle Path, Port Hills (© Vilis Nams)

Christchurch, Viewed from Bridle Path, Port Hills (© Vilis Nams)

In Montgomery Park Scenic Reserve, Banks Peninsula (© Magi Nams)

In Montgomery Park Scenic Reserve, Banks Peninsula (© Magi Nams)

At Cave Creek Cave, West Coast, South Island (© Vilis Nams)

At Cave Creek Cave, West Coast (© Vilis Nams)

Tristram Harper Shelter on Little Mount Peel, Central South Island (© Vilis Nams)

Tristram Harper Shelter on Little Mount Peel, Central South Island (© Vilis Nams)

Peter's Pool on Roberts Point Track, Westland Tai Poutini National Park (© Magi Nams)

Peter’s Pool on Roberts Point Track, Westland Tai Poutini National Park (© Magi Nams)

 

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