Saturday, September 29, 2012

Profile: Adventurous duo Diane and Charlie Winger relay their experiences into guidebooks

The traditional Winger pancake breakfast morning at camp.
Continuing our Author Profile series, today we meet Diane and Charlie Winger, writers of outdoors guidebooks as well as recounts of their many traveling adventures!

What would you do after ten mind-numbing hours of writing computer programs for clients who think you are clairvoyant?

Go back to your hotel room, of course, get back on the computer and spend several more fun-filled hours writing a guidebook on rock climbing!

And that is how Diane and Charlie wrote "The Trad Guide to Joshua Tree." Day after day, month after month. What about eating, you ask? No problem – *Dominos delivers!* We doubt that we earned enough royalties on that guidebook to pay for those pizzas.

Writing a guidebook has to be a labor of love, and they say that love is a state of temporary insanity. We would tend to agree.

Our “published authors” story actually began about fifteen years ago when we ventured out to conquer the highest point in each of the 50 states...and, yes, Virginia, Florida *does* have a high point (as does Virginia). As a matter of fact, the highest point in Florida comes in at a whopping 345 feet above sea level.

We completed our quest and we do believe that it conquered us more than we conquered it. The offshoot of our endeavor was our first book, Highpoint Adventures. We certainly learned a lot about writing guidebooks and working with publishers, so much so that we’re amazed that we ever went on to write another book (or did not get a divorce in the process).

"Highpoint Adventures" was soon followed by our second book, "The Essential Guide to Great Sand Dunes National Park." We had plenty of sand in our shoes before that one was completed. By then we were well prepared to write a volume about the Gobi desert after spending innumerable nights in the shifting, blowing sands.

Along the way Charlie managed to take a “screamer” while ice climbing, an event which resulted in a broken lower back, sacroiliac, and several ribs. Every cloud has a silver lining: now that he couldn’t get out of bed for a couple of months, why not put that “down time” to work and write his autobiography? The passage of time and some darn good drugs resulted in our first “indie” book, "Two Shadows – the inspirational story of one man’s triumph over adversity."

Not to be outdone, Diane decided to correct the painful result of years of ballet by having both of her big toes reconstructed, complete with some really nifty hardware. Again, downtime resulted in another creation, "Because It’s There," a photographic compendium of many cool places we’ve trekked, hiked, climbed, and frozen our buns off throughout the years.

Well, there you have it, a synopsis of guidebook writing by the Wingers! Go forth and sin no more.


Note: Highpoint Adventures is in paperback, but we've published 5 of its chapters on Kindle. The Trad Guide to Joshua Tree and  The Essential Guide to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve are in paperback only (traditionally published).

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