Interview series with the authors of “Into that Silent Sea,” French and Burgess, Part seven

Today in Space History (TISH) has been granted an exclusive opportunity to interview authors Francis French and Colin Burgess based on their book “Into That Silent Sea,” which TISH highly recommends for reading. This is part seven.

Archives for the complete interview series | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve | Thirteen

What if anything did you have to cut out of the book that you would have liked to have included?

FF: We were fortunate to have a very supportive publisher, who wanted these stories to be told. When it became evident that our first draft would have resulted in a 700-page book, they gave us the time and support to make two, shorter books out of the material, rather than making enormous cuts. The next book, “In the Shadow of the Moon,” continues the story up until the first manned moon landing, and can be read as a standalone book or as a “Part Two.”

One advantage of two authors is that you constantly check each others’ work, paring down where necessary, cutting stories that interrupt the flow. There were so many great stories we came across in our research, but we also knew we needed to keep the book lively and engaging, and never linger too long in one place. We got very used to being brutally honest with each other, never letting personal feelings get in the way of writing a better book. So by the time we presented our manuscript, it seemed the publisher found very little to change and cut. We had great editors who did some impressive revisions to sharpen the text, but we never lost any of the good stories in the book during that process.

CB: I fully agree with Francis on this. I can’t bring to mind any story or episode that had to be excluded, although as usual when you are conducting interviews and deep research you will be told many things in confidence that out of respect will never make it into the book. And that one word – respect – is what I think stood us in good stead in putting this book together (as well as a past reputation for openness and honesty with these people, I believe). When folks know they can tell you things in confidence and that trust is never compromised, then other stories will be revealed that they know they can entrust to you, in the full knowledge that they will appear in print for the first time. And of course we would always allow the subject or subjects of a chapter to read through our drafts and make any corrections they desired. That’s why there are so many new, sometimes deeply personal stories revealed in our books – and others that will never go beyond us.


~ by tellinghistory on December 16, 2007.

One Response to “Interview series with the authors of “Into that Silent Sea,” French and Burgess, Part seven”

  1. A very good blogsite. Add to the fact that Francis and Colin are good friends, then I think you have done a great job.

    The collectibles section is very good also.


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