Welcome to the world of internationally acclaimed author Muriel Lennox ..magnificent horses, brilliant storytelling, awesome books.
Beach House Books – the house that Northern Dancer built
The road to Beach House Books began with a fight with my agent. We had been arguing for months over the format and direction of my biography of Northern Dancer. He thought it should be a glossy picture book. I wanted it to be about the horse and what propelled this pint-sized equine dynamo to run his heart out every time he stepped on a track.
Researching and writing about our Canadian icon was taxing enough, so finally, after yet another heated debate, I terminated our business arrangement.
I thought finding the right publisher would be fairly simple. I was, after all, author of E.P.Taylor: horseman and his horses. No mean feat considering Taylor’s absolute aversion to publicity in any form. My publisher, Burns and MacEachern, had been bought by a larger house, so that’s where I started.
“Who wants to read a book about a horse?” said they in a tone similar to that of my former agent. It was a refrain I would hear over and over from Canadian publishers.
I was about halfway through researching and writing Northern Dancer: The Legend and His Legacy. How could I quit when I was focussed on a horse that, time and again, refused to concede, no matter the odds. Furthermore, I was convinced there was a good market for this book – not just in Canada, but world-wide.
A group of my friends agreed. Spearheaded by the late Judith Mappin, proprietress of Montreal’s Double Hook book store and the late Janet Todd, also an avid lover of books who worked at Toronto’s glamorous Edwards Books. They were joined by Audrey Watson, David Vaughan and author, Gail Hamilton. Charis Wahl came on board as editor and Saskia Rowley as art director.
Before long Beach House Books was born.
In retrospect it proved to be an enormous learning curve. Especially for an author. The most memorable was going to bookstores and imploring them to add Northern Dancer to their inventory. It was a bit unnerving, but the people in the shops were kind and generous with their time and interest.
Eventually Northern Dancer was also published in the UK by Mainstream Press; became a best seller; was translated to Japanese and Spanish; has been read by millions; and continues to captivate new readers all these years later.
And Beach House Books continues to publish great books about extraordinary horses.
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