What inspired you to write your memoir?
I am the writer of a self-published adventure travel memoir, “Letters to Zerky, a Father’s Legacy to a Lost Son and a Road Trip Around the World.” I
am currently working on a different kind of memoir, “In Search of a Lost Penny.” The former is an adventure travel book while the latter will be a
more personal book about my little sister who disappeared one night when I was six years old. No one would ever tell me what happened to her. About
fifty years later, I set out on a mission to discover whether she was simply a lonely little boys illusion or whether she was real. Eventually
it turned out that she was indeed real, but had been taken away from our mother in secret and put up for adoption. We finally met each other at her
house in Colorado during Christmas of 1985.
About your Book:
Originally when most of it was written, “Letters to Zerky” was not intended to be a book but rather a series of letters to a son who had been too young to remember his great adventure. In 1967 the co-authors Bill and JoAnne Raney took off on a lark, trying to drive a VW bus around the world with their one-year-old-son Zerky and their dog Tarzan. On this trip, Bill wrote a large number of letters while JoAnne kept her diary. Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Assam, culminating in an unsuccessful attempt to drive the legendary Burma Road into China. Much later in 1990, Bill turned these letters into a timely and multiple prizewinning adventure travel book which has garnered rave reviews and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year award.
Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1935, Bill Raney grew up in trouble. At age 14, after his family fell apart, he spent a year in an institution, before ending up in Port Angeles, Washington, where he became a ham radio operator. There he started becoming a traveler by cruising all over world on the airwaves. He especially enjoyed making radio contact with ham radio operators in the South Pacific Ocean in places such as Australia, New Zealand, the Philippine Islands, Guam and—Bill’s favorite—Yap!
Upon graduating from high school in 1954, Bill received a scholarship to go to Reed College, a well-known liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon. In 1956 he transferred to the University of California at Berkley, where he was soon exposed to the bright lights of San Francisco, where he become a beatnik in North Beach from 1957 to 1967. There he met JoAnne Walker, who soon became Mrs. JoAnne Walker Raney and the co-author of Letters to Zerky. Together they adopted Zerky when he was six weeks old and set off on their road trip around the world.
Returning to San Francisco thirteen months later, the Raneys moved down the coast to Santa Cruz, California, where Bill founded the Nickelodeon Theatre, which is still going strong today. In 1971 Bill remarried, this time to his current wife Nancy. Together they bought a 42’ trawler which they lived on for ten years while slowly cruising up and down the Pacific Coast between Central California and Alaska, twice. Bill is now busy working on his second book, “In Search of a Lost Penny.”
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I decided to self-publish “Letters to Zerky” (http://www.WaltzingAroundTheWorld.com)