Mountain to Mountain – A Memoir Launches

Holy shit I wrote a book!

That’s the phrase running through my head as I saw my book listed on Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes and Noble websites yesterday.  Available for pre-order.  Releases September 16.

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The book hits bookstores nationwide with St. Martin’s Press in one month, but my publisher sent me the link yesterday that the pre sales had started and a sneak peek of Chapter One was available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  After two years of writing, editing, and working through the final publishing process with my editor at St. Martin’s Press, there is a book and soon it will be in hand of family and friends, colleagues and strangers.  Its a strange feeling.

Made more so by the fact that this is a deeply personal memoir.  This is not a story about my work, or Afghanistan’s history, its a story about my call to activism, my journey as a survivor of gender violence, and the other side of Afghanistan and it’s people beyond the war most Americans see on the news.   It’s road trips and prisons, motorcycles and mountain bikes, kindness and terror, adventure and activism.

Amazed to have the vocal support and blurb for the book cover by  New York Times bestselling author and perhaps the most famous Afghan in America, Khalid Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner and The Mountains Echoed.

“Shannon Galpin’s lovely cycling saga is an inspiring and illuminating window into the lives of modern day Afghan women and their continuing struggle to ride their own path to freedom, recognition, and equality.”

Washington Post Journalist, Anand Gopal who authored No Good Men Among the Living generously took time to read the book and wrote:

“Mountain to Mountain reads like one of Shannon Galpin’s bike rides, fast-paced and unpredictable. It traces her intimate journey as a survivor and her travels across a rugged terrain, in the process bringing alive a vital and poignant message: Equality for Afghan women means more than just voting rights or access to parliament—it means having the same basic freedoms as men.”

Then last night, I was sent a shot of Bicycling Magazine’s latest issue, which starts hitting mailboxes and newsstands this week , and this review is inside!  Its real.  Its out there.  Holy shit.

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Even bigger, the support from the legendary multiple world champion cyclist, Marianne Vos – who sent me her blurb for the book two days before she won La Course at Le Tour in Paris.  Making history on the final day of the Le Tour de France.

“Read this touching story from Shannon Galpin, who utilizes her unique position as a western woman to immerse herself in Afghan culture. She had the courage to leave everything behind and use the bike to as a tool to lead a physical and political movement – a way towards freedom for the women of Afghanistan.”

4 time World Ironman Champion, and one of the women behind the push to get La Course at Le Tour this year, Chrissie Wellington wrote:

Mountain to Mountain is nothing short of phenomenal. This captivating, inspiring, and heart-warming memoir shows us all that, with unbounded and unwavering passion, determination and courage, change can happen and mountains can be moved, one pedal stroke at a time. Shannon Galpin, and the women of Afghanistan, I salute you and your illimitable strength.

Holy shit indeed.  Yeah, I’m getting all the swears out now, because my editor edited most of my swears out of the memoir!   Having the support of these amazing men and women makes it a little less daunting to have my very personal life become very public.

Book tour starts in New York City on September 16th and here’s the tour list – I hope to see many familiar faces there!!

New York – TBA September 16-20

Frisco, CO – Next Page Bookstore – September 27

Portland, OR – Powell’s – October 3

Denver, CO – Tattered Cover – October 6

Boulder, CO – Boulder Bookstore – October 8

Chicago, IL – TBA – October 15

Los Angeles – TBA – October 18

Austin, TX – Austin Book Festival – October 25

Edwards, CO – Bookworm – October 29

Moab, UT – Back of Beyond – November 1

Durango, CO – Maria’s Bookstore – November 13

 

“You have the right to repeat yourself”

So went my innocent response to my friend, Tony, this afternoon.  He was excited about progress on a new endeavor and in his excitement repeated a large portion of a prior conversation.  I mentioned as much and then heard a voice in my head, “Killjoy!”  Tony was excited, and that should have canceled out my frustration at the black void where our twenty minute conversation had resided just two days before.

It’s not in my nature to be a killjoy.  I love the connection of sharing news, good or bad, with those close to me, and I’m sure to have been guilty of repeating myself.  Yet those close to me patiently listen to the retelling, or in my case, re-ranting of the topic du jour, nodding when appropriate, murmuring their interest.  Allowing my excitement to add full flavor to the retelling.

Having been in a relationship for many years with someone who could not express or share excitement, perhaps a little of that blase attitude had rubbed off? How many times have I wanted to leap from the rafters with excitement only to be met with tepid water splashed in my face?  It’s a leaden feeling in your gut that stifles any further joy on the subject.   Repetition only shows how important the subject at hand is to the speaker, or a case of short term memory loss.

Having caught myself puncturing Tony’s story, I said in all seriousness, “You have the right to repeat  yourself”.  To which he responded, “THAT’s good!  You have to write that down.”

Eh?

The truth is, he sees much more in me than I do.  He sees a quick witted, clever, sarcastic woman that tends swear like a British sailor, and has a frequent habit of ‘getting her rant on’.  He sees these random one liners I toss in to our conversations, and quickly forget, as little gems to mine.   He reminds me to write them down – which I rarely do, tossing them aside as I do his repeated suggestions to write.

He could have let his ego deflate with my lack of enthusiasm at today’s retelling, in the same way that he could stop repeating his conviction that I should write.  Instead, he is willing to repeat himself in an effort to illuminate an aspect of myself that has yet to be tapped, despite my profound deafness on the subject.

The truth is that this blog, in its entirety, is due to his patient, repetitive arguments that I should write.  These written exercises in expression are me, listening.