Author Tags: Cariboo, Gold, History, Women
Rich Mole has also been a broadcaster, communications consultant and the president of a Vancouver Island advertising agency. See profile below.
Richard (Rich) A. Mole, b. Aug 31, 1946, Vancouver B.C.
Residence as of Spring, 2011: Calgary, AB
Creative Director, CFAX 1070, Victoria, B.C. (1969-1979)
President, Communications Concepts Ltd., Marketing and PR, Victoria B.C. (1979-1999)
Community Relations Coordinator, Greater Victoria School District, (1987-1991)
Partner, Canadiana Property Management, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, (1999-2001)
Client Manager, MediaReady International, Calgary AB, (2005-2009)
Mole's fourth book Rebel Women of the West Coast: Their Triumphs, Tragedies and Lasting Legacies (Heritage $9.95) highlights women from B.C., Washington and Oregon such as the pioneer Catherine Schubert, who faced danger and starvation on her heroic journey west; suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway, who endured poverty and scathing criticism to help gain the vote for women; and Irene “Bonnie” Baird, who disguised herself as a Depression-era striker to write an exposé of their ordeals.
Review of author's work by BC Studies:
Rebel Women of the West Coast: Their Triumphs, Tragedies and Lasting Legacies
Season’s Greetings from Provincial Archives 1980, Victoria, B.C.
B.C.’s Past of British Columbia
Christmas In Canada (Altitude Publishing 2004) Anthology
Holiday Misadventures (Altitude Publishing 2004) Anthology
Christmas in British Altitude Publishing 2004, Canmore AB
Columbia Canada, Ltd.
Christmas in the Prairies Altitude Publishing 2004, Canmore AB
Great Stanley Cup Victories (Altitude Publishing, 2004)
Edmonton Oilers: Against All Odds (Altitude Publishing, 2006)
Murder and Mystery in the PR Services, 2008, Whitehorse, Yukon
Rebel Women of the Klondike Gold Rush (Altitude Publishing, 2007)
Gold Fever; Incredible Tales of the Klondike Gold Rush (Altitude 2006)
Rebel Women of the Gold Rush: Extraordinary Achievements and Daring Adventures (Heritage House, 2009) 978-1-894974-76-9, $9.95. (Revised edition of Rebel Women of the Klondike)
Gold Fever: Incredible Tales of the Klondike Gold Rush (Heritage House, 2009) revised edition 978-1-894974-69-1, $9.95
The Chilcotin War: A Tale of Death and Reprisal (Heritage House, 2010) 978-1-894974-96-7, $9.95
Rebel Women of the West Coast: Their Triumphs, Tragedies and Lasting Legacies (Heritage House 2010). 978-1-926613-28-4 $9.95
Dirty Thirties Desperadoes (Heritage House, 2011).
Scoundrels and Saloons (Heritage, 2012) $9.95 978-1-927051-78-8
Bootleggers, Rum-runners and Scofflaws: West Coast Liquor Craziness, 1916-2012 (Heritage 2013)
[BCBW 2012] "Cariboo" "Women" "Gold"
Rich Mole's publishing background
Since his first publishing contract in 2003, Rich Mole says he has sold 71,000 copies of fourteen books on Western Canadian history, including his most successful title, Dirty Thirties Desperadoes (Heritage 2011). Scoundrels and Saloons: West Coast Whisky Wars, 1840-1917 (Heritage 2012) has been followed by Bootleggers, Rum-runners and Scofflaws: West Coast Liquor Craziness, 1916-2012 (Heritage 2013) enabling him to claim he has generated the most comprehensive chronicle of issues and events surrounding West Coast liquor prohibitions.
In 1999, burned out and bummed out and fed up, Rich Mole dissolved his 20-year-old Vancouver Island marketing/advertising firm Communications Concepts Ltd and decamped to San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico. Here’s his story.
By Rich Mole
When not swabbing and renting out condos owned by absentee Canadians or pitching time shares to vacationing Americans, I was writing. Having previously written almost everything else (from radio commercials and brochures to annual reports and corporate videos) and having escaped my upwardly-striving, mortgage-and-deadlines lifestyle, I explored what I had adroitly avoided until then: the life of an author. Nineteen months later—and with two-thirds of a never-to-be published novel in a cardboard box—I drove back to BC, stayed long enough to say hi to friends and relatives, and decamped again to Calgary.
After a year and a half of scuffle and toil in a series of seriously-dysfunctional advertising and marketing companies—without having sent out a single feeler in the publishing sector—I signed my first book contract. It was ridiculously easy: Trolling for ideas inside an Indigo store, I spied a selection of slim, brightly-coloured books on a revolving wire rack. I flipped through one of these so-called Amazing Stories (SA) and thought, “Hell, I could write these.” The publisher (Altitude) was based in nearby Canmore. I called them up, and arranged a meet with the managing editor. At a second meeting during a nice lunch in an upscale restaurant, a contract—and a subject list (“which ones would you like to write?”)—were were proffered across the table. I figured I could get to like this.
Altitude was a wonderful apprenticeship: I learned about editing and editors (while some learned to loath me,) the world of first drafts and royalties, and, most important, how to research and write a 30,000-word, 145-page book. Quick fact assimilation and fast-writing skills, honed during years of Victoria-based media and marketing, served me well. I also learned about completing an accepted outline, polishing a first draft and then receiving an email from the managing editor informing me that, at long last, the company had now determined just how they wanted my first book structured.
My first royalty cheques were seriously misleading. Revenues were large enough that I perceived them as a start of a very nice secondary income. This flawed conclusion was, in fact, based on sales of one single book. In its cleverest move, Altitude had published a compendium of Amazing Stories content in a heftly hardcover—two-thirds of which was mine—and called it Christmas In Canada. It was, to quote Dire Straits, “Money for nothin’”. I liked that concept, too. Even better, for Altitude and me, there was quite a lot of it. Sales revenue from the anthology grew to $243,000. Astonishingly, two years later, Altitude went bust. That particular experience was pretty educational, as well—for me, over 50 (!) other AS authors and, I suspect, the company’s neophyte publisher.
Happily, Victoria’s Heritage House picked up the AS inprint and the inventory. Heritage invited me to revise two titles, bought a third unpublished manuscript and continued to sell the rest. (The most welcome phrase I believe an author can hear in across the boardroom or restaurant table is, “So, have you got any other ideas?”) Since 2010, I’ve added another five books to the roster.
MOST GRATIFYING PROJECTS:
Dirty Thirties Desperadoes, 2011, Heritage House. Not only because this front-page 1935 crime shocker is mostly forgotten today, (allowing me to—I trust—surprise and fascinate today’s readers) but because it contains an air of mystery. That mystery—and the episode’s “lost” facts—encouraged me to write the crime saga of 3 farmboy killers as creative non-fiction. It was also very gratifying to develop a single story, not simply organize and construct the narrative of a march-of-time overview, which many AS books require.
Scoundrels and Saloons, 2012; Bootleggers, Rum-runners and Scofflaws, (to be published in May, 2013.) Taken together, these two books achieve something that, to the best of my knowledge, has never been done before: tell a comprehensive story of liquor prohibition on the west coast.
That I appear to be the first is very surprising to me, because the struggle for and against prohibition and its final enshrinement into state and provincial law and later, US federal law, represents the most extensive example of dictated social behaviour in North American history. Make no mistake: west coasters still feel its effects today—which is why we tilt our beer can in a rather covertly fashion while on a beach.
Moreover, these two books relate these struggles from the points of view of Americans and Canadians, in Washington and Oregon and BC. Eliminating either the American or Canadian side, I thought, is really presenting an amputated story—with a “body part” missing. The most obvious connection between the two peoples occurs during that 13-year stretch when, desperate for a drink, Americans relied on obliging British Columbians to get them one. In addition, telling the story through the experiences of people sharing a border allows prohibition to reveal how differently Americans and Canadians both perceived their world and reacted to it—and still do!
So, that’s where it stands at the moment. I can hear the anguished cries of two unfinished novels (“Finish me! Finish me!”) and the moans of a completed 800-page epic (“Sell me! Sell me!”) Perhaps this is where my attention will now gravitate, at least until the editing cycle on Bootleggers, Rum-runners and Scofflaws kicks in later this winter. So, what has the last ten years taught me? What words could I send out to authors, both published and wanna-be?
BEST ADVICE: In non-fiction, write about what you personally want to discover, what you’re curious about and find fascinating.
FOLLOW-UP ADVICE: Make sure you do the above, because you likely won’t find the rewards of writing in your royalty cheques—if you’re fortunate enough to earn any. So you better enjoy what you do and have fun doing it.
IMPORTANT FINANCIAL STRATEGY: Apply for and win literary prizes; seek out grant opportunities. Oh, and don’t forget Canada Council’s Lending Rights—what readers borrow from libraries can earn you as much as publisher’s royalties!
AUTHOR’S BEST FRIEND: An excellent editor; someone you trust and can learn from.
MOST SOBERING CONCLUSION: Most people don’t read books; even fewer buy them—in any format.
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: Pierre Berton. Not simply because the best of his hugely popular historical books hit the stands when I was an impressionable teens and twenties, but because of the way in which he wrote them (and kept on writing them, a veritable “book factory”; at least 16 major works in 15 years) also how, as a charismatic communicator, he sold them and himself. (You didn’t think he appeared on CBC’s Front Page Challenge year after year because he loved moderator Fred Davis and fellow-panelist Gordon Sinclair, did you?)
MOST MEANINGFUL AUTHOR’S COMMENT:
“There’s too many authors chasing too few dollars. ... The whole thing’s insane.”
Barry Broadfoot, 1989.