Monday, July 13, 2009

Author Makes Mark by Inking Book Deal in Spite of Hurricane Katrina

On August 27th, 2005, two days ahead of Hurricane Katrina, Daphne Marie Doucette and her family fled New Orleans, Louisiana in her Toyota Sequoia en route to Alabama. Underestimating the threat of Katrina, Doucette packed very little and as a result left behind floppy discs of her three finished manuscripts, which represented nearly four years of work at her personal computer. By the next night, Doucette was in Atlanta, Georgia, finally realizing the gravity of her miscalculation as predictions regarding Katrina grew more grave with each CNN broadcast.

One day later, August 29th, even the darkest of predictions were not enough to prepare anyone for what would become reality. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, destroying lives, leveling homes, and leaving thousands of survivors with the same story: "We lost everything." Despite her gratitude regarding her family's safety, Doucette could not refrain from counting what she had lost, and it was then that she remembered the manuscripts she had left behind.

For two long months, Doucette believed that her work was gone forever. The thought of recreating it was too daunting and she tried to come to grips with the fact that her dream of being a published author had become impossible in the wake of Katrina. However, in October of 2005, Doucette's younger sister recovered the floppy discs containing her sister's three finished manuscripts. Thankfully, Doucette had long since developed the habit of placing her most treasured possessions in the uppermost drawer of her furniture chest. Although the chest had been pushed over by the water of Lake Pontchartrain that had infiltrated the house, it had fallen forward against a bed in such a way that the contents in the top drawer were totally salvageable.

Having the discs back in her hands again, Doucette recommitted herself to seeing her work recognized and published. The fact that the discs had survived the elements refueled her passion and she immediately went to work revising Dirty Butter, the manuscript she believed was destined to be her debut book release. "Dirty Butter has been six years in the making for me. God willing, it will do well. No matter what becomes of the book, my message is to remember that there's always a rainbow after every storm," says Doucette.

After a few false starts, Dirty Butter is ironically set to be released on the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by Waterway Books. Doucette and Waterway executive, Akbar Cojoe, consider the launch date to be indicative of the fact that she has come full circle… and on this 29th day of August 2009, she has reason to celebrate. "We've waited for the perfect book for a really long time," says Cojoe, CEO of Waterway Book Publishers, LLC. "Waterway is a great company and our people really understand our writers' vision. We're looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with Daphne and many books to come."