Launching a career at 58 is just another step in his journey, according to Eric Goldman. Some journey: he retired at 44 to solo-circumnavigate the earth in a sailboat. Years of research and training later, he took delivery of his catamaran, Bit-by-Bit. He sailed her across the Atlantic with one crewmember as a final warm-up. And then, in November 2002, Hurricane Olga struck. Single-handing from New York to Bermuda, he faced winds to 80 knots and waves to 50 feet. After 36 seasick hours of fighting to stay alive, he thought of ending his anguish by falling overboard. But he realised that he owed it to the people who loved him, to try every trick of seamanship to survive. He promised that if he survived he would sell the boat and write a meaningful book.
He spent four years researching, writing drafts, getting professional evaluations, revising and submitting again. Finally, the Iowa Book Doctors said, "Readers grow increasingly interested in literature that addresses political and cultural concerns of the twenty-first century. Topping this list are concerns about the ethics of our leaders and the state of our environment. Napoleon's Gambit throws down a gauntlet, offering a model for action in the face of the unknown. Our editors found the novel to be fresh and engaging, a book which appeals not only to readers of nineteenth-century history, but also to those readers seeking creative solutions to problems facing our world today."
But it turns out surviving the hurricane was easy compared to getting published. 18 months of rejection followed. Early readers seem to love the book, though, so he's adopted the field of dreams approach: Publish and people will read it. Here's its blurb: A modern sailor is recruited by the Royal Navy and finds himself on the deck of Impérieuse in 1813, as she sails into battle against overwhelming odds. At stake are $5 billion in gold coins, and the fate of the modern world.
The novel will be released one chapter a week (PDF and Podcast), beginning on July 28th, 2008. The first 12 chapters are free; the remaining 8 chapters can be purchased on October 15th, the book's launch date. Audio-books, podcasts, e-books, PDFs and paperbacks will be available.