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the BookCrossing novel
by lakelady2282
December 1, 2010
It all started on the 16th December 2003 when I discovered an intriguing website at work. The website address was listed in an Australian publishing magazine and I remember I couldn’t wait to get home to investigate it. When I did I was surprised to find that such a place existed! The website spoke of serendipity (which I firmly believe in, or I should say, its stronger cousin synchronicity), it talked about leaving books for strangers to find, and of bookrings too, where books circle the globe like seasoned travellers.

My first thought was: This is so me! My second was: This is a book! It didn’t take long for the idea to form of a young woman in the throes of grief, leaving books like clues to not only her geographical location but her state of mind. I distinctly remember turning around to my bookshelf and wondering which books she should take. I started with ten and a few titles which just didn’t fit. Finally after about fifty pages of writing I had my eight books.

Around about 100 pages I began to realise that there were going to be so many more journal entries than I had initially planned which meant of course I needed BookCrossers to release the books. In the beginning I simply thought, well, I’d better start making up names (something I’ve never been very good at). At the same time I was also making posts on the forums asking odd questions about US, Canadian and European locations. Early on I had to decide which city my main character Jane Townsend would arrive in when flying from Australia. Texaswren suggested Fort Worth Texas. I had my first journal entry to write for Le Grand Meaulnes and no suprises, guess who ended up releasing it! And so it followed that when someone came to my rescue on the forums they found themselves (if they wanted too of course) making a fictional journal entry/release/pm.

Along the way I have had a ball. I met so many wonderful BookCrossers, immersed myself in beautiful locations as Jane travelled across three continents and had a lot of well wishes as the novel progressed during 2004, 2005 and 2006. Some BookCrossers did get a little confused with the concept of the virtual release in the book. One Canadian BookCrosser pm’d me that she really couldn’t drive that far to release the book. I had to write back and explain that she was only releasing it in Crossing Paths, not in reality. Mississippimom was one of the many Bookcrossers who delighted in the project and when I suggested a release overseas she replied: “Where am I off to?”Jessibud didn’t mind getting pinched (in fiction) when she released My Micheline on the train from Milan to Turin and bookfrog was quite happy to vouch for a fictional character.

When deciding on a title I didn’t use the term “the BookCrossing novel” lightly. It is a kind of Everest that I have attempted to climb similar to having a go at the “Great Australian Novel” or “The Great American Novel”. Skyring beat me to it with his Manly Books and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Writing Crossing Paths has been a wonderful and enriching experience and I’m hoping my readers have as much fun reading Crossing Paths as I did in writing it.


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