Professor makes decision to publish

Story by Kyle Davis

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Stuart Ferguson has only been sharing his story with the world for a month, but Alan Grant, associate professor of business and economics, has known Ferguson’s story much longer.

Grant knows Ferguson’s past and the challenges surrounding the mystery of a police detective in Chicago because Ferguson is the main character in Grant’s recently published novel, “Low Chicago.”

Ferguson’s story was spawned from a mystery novel Grant read, which left him disappointed with the ending and having his own idea of how it should have ended differently. So, Grant modified the story, added his characters and ending, and the result was “Low Chicago.”

Grant put the story on paper while on sabbatical in 2004 and 2005, spending several hours a day for three months working on the project. Yet, once the book was completed, Ferguson’s story remained on Grant’s desk for several years before the decision was made to publish it.

“I got it done in that year and then it got shelved, and I had a kid and a new job and it sat on a bookshelf and eventually I sent it out to a few agents,” Grant said.

After agents did not jump at the book, and Grant still wanted to do something with it, he decided to self-publish the book through Amazon.

Grant’s wife, Emily, copy edited the book, while he also gave the manuscript to Annette Pierce, web content manager and writer for Baker University, to read and edit.

“(Emily) went through everything during these last few months, when we’ve been getting this to press, she’s gone through the manuscript like four or five times, which is something I can’t bare to do,” Alan said.

While Emily read each chapter as Alan wrote it, all ideas regarding plot and the characters were left in Alan’s hands.

“It always sort of left with a cliffhanger, so then I would nag him to hurry up and finish writing the next chapter,” Emily said. “I had very little input into the substance.”

“Low Chicago” was released for sale online through Amazon on Sept. 9 and can also be purchased on the Amazon Kindle.

“It’s really a good feeling for him to finally, for all of us, to finally get that process finished, and now we have a book in our hands,” Emily said.

Alan said he figured this would not be a big moneymaker for him, but is relieved to finish it. His next project is not a second novel, but rather an economics textbook he hopes to be picked up by a publisher in the fall of 2010.

“This was kind of one of those one-shot deals and, you know, I’m glad I had the chance to do it, but I have other things that I am working on for writing that are more important to me and are also probably better moneymakers than this,” Alan said.

Alan is about three-fourths of the way through Ferguson’s story, this time reading for pleasure instead of editing purposes.

As the six-year process has finally come to an end, Ferguson’s story is out of Alan head, onto 244 printed pages and is ready to be shared with the world.

“It was fun,” Alan said. “It’s fun to, even if it would have never been published anywhere or been available anywhere, it’s sort of fun to have said, ‘well, here’s the idea and it’s the best I got and you can take it or you can leave it, but it’s down on paper and I’ve committed it to words,’ and that’s kind of a nice thing.”