From the very beginning, I knew Wherever the Road Leads needed maps.  Once the early manuscript draft was sent to Beta Readers for feedback, I filled the waiting time working on the seven maps I envisioned.   I wanted them to show the journey’s route, major stops along the way, and display a few small drawings.

Years ago, I took 2 semesters at a local community college learning Adobe PageMaker, a desktop publishing program.  Over the years, I have used it many times.  I created news-letters, posters, invitations, and even the 50th reunion memory book for my High School class of ’61.   I felt confident working in PageMaker.

Using the internet, I located basic maps of the areas we traveled. First, I printed them and traced the outline of the section I wanted to use.  I included country borders, rivers, and a few city locations.  Freehand, I added in a line with direction arrows to show where Tom and I traveled.  I scanned the tracing into my computer and it became the foundation of my map.  After that, I dropped in art work, arrows, and text. I worked on the maps one at a time.  By the time the Beta Readers comments started to be returned, I had more or less completed 4 maps.  They still needed fine tuning and 3 maps remained to unstarted. But it was time to get back to writing and editing. I set the map project aside where it remained on hold for half a year.

Finally, I was ready to finish the maps. But when I tried to open my files, the PageMaker program simply flickered, then disappeared. Over and over I tried, but the same thing happened each time.  I was frustrated and worried.  The old program was no longer supported by Adobe, but I innocently thought the installed program was mine to keep using it as long as I didn’t need help with it. Happy working with the old program, I had not bothered to learn InDesign (Adobe’s replacement). What a mistake!

A call to technical help at Adobe revealed that they had eradicated PageMaker from my computer. It was simply no longer available to anyone. Needless to say, I was angry and frustrated.  I had no way to open my map files.  I looked into taking a class on InDesign at the local community college, but the classes offered covered all three of the current Adobe programs.  None of them dealt with only InDesign.  Besides, the cost of class and the new program, the learning curve would pose a scheduling  problem. I had writing and more editing to do and the search for an agent or a publisher to begin.

Just as I was beginning to feel at a dead-end, I remembered Cole Waidley, a young graphic designer who helps with my book covers, bookmarks, and other graphic needs.   He knows InDesign and uses it regularly.

Problem solved—and for the better.  Cole agreed to take over the maps.  InDesign allowed him to open my old files and convert them into the new program. From there he was able to fine-tune my maps and create the new ones using my selection of scanned files.  He was far better than I at inserting arrows, varying the size and quality of lines, text and images.  Using my original concept, Cole effortlessly executed the seven maps I needed and prepared the files so they were ready to upload to the book designer. He also helped me improve the illustration I had drawn to show the inside layout of our van.

In a way, the demise of PageMaker was a happy accident.   Cole is constantly ready to help with changes and new uploads as the final book is being proofed.  Most recently, he fixed a spelling error found on the van schematic during a final proof read.  Thank you, Cole!


One response to “Maps for a Travel Memoir”

  1. Quite an undertaking writing your book! But what a wonderful adventure you had. Loved hearing about your maps and how you did them😊 thanks

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