CAMINO WANDERING did not start out to be a fiction novel. It was originally intended to be a memoir of my own Camino wanders. I walked 800km from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela, solo in 2018. Then I walked the same path again the following year, this time with my husband. (Hence why my husband calls me, lovingly, a Camino Tragic.)
After writing my memoir, some ninety thousand words, I realised quickly that it was a boredom fest. Even I was bored by it. I mulled it over a while, thinking about how I write about this life-changing experience and have it not only be interesting but something people would enjoy.
Then it came to me. Almost everyone who has walked the Camino has seen the Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie, THE WAY. The movie is even a hot topic on many Camino focused Facebook pages. And, after watching it again myself for the hundredth time, I realised if people watch and admire that movie, which is a fictional tale, then maybe a fiction novel set on the Camino Francés was not a crackpot idea after all.
So, I sat back down, took some of my own experiences – the stories and places that stuck with me – and created robust characters and wove together a fictional tale.
Publishing it was a whole other endeavour.
Most books about the Camino are published either by a religion-based publishing company, since it’s traditionally a religious pilgrimage, or the books are self-published.
With CAMINO WANDERING, one of my characters questions the doctrines of the Catholic Church because of her own experiences. Plus, there is swearing throughout the book (realistic for anyone who walks it, in my opinion). Because of those two reasons, I knew a religious publisher would not go near the book. Add in, I’m a bit of a control freak, so self-publishing seemed to fit well for me. So, there you have it. That’s how my self-publishing journey began and how I saved the world from another boring memoir!
Have you heard of the Camino de Santiago? Have you walked a route to Santiago, or plan to?