Demons of Stony River

Demons of Stony River

Demons of Stony River

Posted on 12/21/2022 Evan Swensen
Demons of Stony River

We only published one book for Tom Willard, Demons of Stony River: . It was a fine book, and Tom had fun writing and illustrating it. Publishing Tom’s book was memorable for several reasons, including his knowledgeable descriptions and illustrations of Alaska’s flora and fauna.


Another memorable reason was how we delivered Tom’s first book.


Hereto before, the author came to our office, we handed them their book, and we relished the joy of being in the presence of a happy author who held evidence of their hard work and fulfillment of their dream.


Tom was our first out-of-town author and the first author we had not met in person before their book was published. His hometown is on the road system, so he could have driven to Anchorage and received his first copy. However, he decided on another way.


Tom’s bio on the back of his book is this statement; Like many Alaskans, Tom is an airplane owner and pilot. Therefore, it was only natural for Tom to tell us, “I’ll meet you at Merrill Field’s control tower parking lot.”


At the appointed date and time, we arrived at Anchorage’s downtown general aviation airport concurrent with Tom’s arrival. He taxied up, and we drove to where he parked his plane. (Don’t try that nowadays.)


Once Tom was out of the plane and introduction handshakes taken care of, we handed Tom his first copy of Demons of Stony River. A roar of a small plane taking off in the background, but there was dead silence from Tom as he felt his book, turned the pages, read the title page with his name printed in big letters, and looked at a few of the printed flora and fauna artwork.


The small departing plane cleared the runway, and its engine noise couldn’t be heard any longer before Tom looked up. He rewarded us with book publisher pay, a broad smile, and a heartfelt “thank you.”


Witnessing the happy experience of an author handling their new book is akin to a new mother holding her newborn child. 


Since delivering Tom Willard’s baby, we’ve done it hundreds of times. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s in our office, at the airport, or a Zoom meeting—it just doesn’t come any better!

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