Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
If you thought you knew Jesse James, wait until you meet his family. So says Eric James, author of the new, long awaited, four volume history of the family of Frank and Jesse James.
According to historian Nancy Samuelson who has previewed portions of the upcoming book, the author of The History of the Dalton Gang says James’ book is likely to send historians back to find what history they missed.
“I was honored that North Star Press of Minnesota wanted to publish my book,” says Eric James. North Star Press already publishes five books about Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang by author John Koblas. “My books would have been a natural complement,” says James. Koblas, who also has previewed a large portion of James’ book, insists James’ book “must be published!”
After two months of negotiations, however, James now is seeking a publisher elsewhere. After twelve years of research and writing, Eric James is not at all disappointed that publication of Volume I of his epic quartet now appears headed for a nine month delay. Publication formerly was expected this Fall. Release now is re-scheduled for Summer of 2011.
Given the economic difficulties in the publishing industry today, James doesn’t begrudge North Star Press for not wanting to produce a hardcover edition. James just wants to meet his readers’ expectations. They tell James a hardcover edition is a must, though some of his readers prefer a case slipped, collector’s edition.
James credits North Star with opening his eyes to his book’s possibilities. “North Star was particularly helpful in establishing the multi-volume format of the work,” says James. “This, in turn, focused my attention on the work’s trans media possibilities.” James is intrigued by the new Vook format, soon to be used by vampire author Anne Rice. A Vook is a book published in tandem with video applications of a book’s content.
Since 1997, Eric James has written and published the official web site for the family of Frank & Jesse James. Stray Leaves, a James Family in America since 1650 (www.ericjames.org). On any given day, over 10,000 visitors are attracted to the web site, particularly to research its gargantuan genealogy database, related to the James family. James also is president of The James Preservation Trust, which addresses the historical interests of the James family.
Eric James already is at work planning a special 4-day schedule of events in Kansas City, where he will premiere the book. Russell Hatter, curator of the Capital City Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky and publisher at The Frankfort Press, is looking forward to James’ quartet of new books. “Eric James’ gift for pulling new history out of genealogy is absolutely brilliant!”