Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on James Rousmaniere, author of The Water Connections: What Fresh Water Means to Us, What We Mean to Water , a non-fiction book about our changing ways around fresh water. James will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester on Saturday, March 7th at 2:00 PM to sign and read from his book, and answer any questions people may have on this extremely important subject.
I asked James if he could please tell us briefly a little about himself and his writing:
Before taking up a study of fresh water I was in daily journalism for 43 years, including service as an economics correspondent in Washington for The Baltimore Sun and later as editor of The Keene (NH) Sentinel. I am active in community affairs in southwestern New Hampshire. I have been fortunate to have been able to travel widely internationally – as a student, as a Peace Corps volunteer (India), as a news media consultant and as an adventurer. I am married and have three daughters and one granddaughter.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
Bauhan Publishing in Peterborough, NH and also other bookstores in New England
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
You can follow my work about water, including a blog on the subject, at
What was the inspiration for Water Connections? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
In 2012 my tiny town of Roxbury NH celebrated its bicentennial. I organized a commemorative booklet and assigned myself a short article about the waters in town that included two reservoirs for a neighboring city and a federal flood control dam; my article was about how the watershed protections around those water bodies assured that much of the town would forever be very green. Later, while relaxing by a stream that connected the two reservoirs, I wondered, if water can influence the character of a community by keeping it green, how else might water have an impact on society? That led to a book that takes up water power, water contamination, floods and flood control, citizen action around water, and so on.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
The research part, where one is constantly learning and making discoveries. It’s the journalist’s life that I like.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Don’t let cleverness of expression get in the way of what you want to say.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
Water Connections takes the reader to other parts of the country and other parts of the world, but the book is largely set in New England, a region that’s distinctive for its development history, its topography and its rainfall patterns. I imagine that a book about inland waters in, say, the arid Southwest, would be a different book, as would one that focused principally on the Northwest.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I am considering a couple of book possibilities in the non-fiction category that, much like Water Connections show how things come about – essentially, how history happens.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
Following a four decades-long career in daily journalism, in which expression is pretty direct and the author is absent from the narrative, I had to learn a new language that (a) was more conversational and (b) enabled personal reflection. I met the challenge by not trying to force a change, but rather let the change gradually happen as I researched and wrote.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
Fluency with the language is only part of the deal; ideas are important, meaning one must have something to say.
Thanks so much for answering our questions for us, James. We look forward to seeing you at Annie’s for a book signing on Saturday, March 7th at 2:00 PM.