Pam Winters’ Book, "No Thought of Leaving: A Life of Sandy Denny."
Hi! I've received a message from Pam Winters. Here it is..
Greetings, Sandy fans,
I'm not on your list, so I've asked Jim Kauffman to please post this message for me. (Jim isn't at all involved in the events discussed below; he's just the messenger.)
He, and others, have made me aware of an ongoing discussion of my Sandy Denny book. I've seen some, but not all, of the messages.
The short answer to your questions: Jim has it right, and Chris Bates has it close to right. Thank you both.
The longer answer:
I once worked on a biography of Sandy. It was originally, and briefly, called "Solo: The Life and Work of Sandy Denny." At the behest of my then-publisher, I changed the title to "No Thought of Leaving: A Life of Sandy Denny."
That I'm not even on the Sandy Denny list might indicate to some of you that the events surrounding this book, which was never published, were very difficult for me.
There was a lot of misinformation going around. People got hurt. I don't even know whom I can trust in some of these circles. As both a professional writer in the music field and a fervent admirer of many of the artists who worked with Sandy, I'm still mending fences because of some of what happened during the research. It was all very unpleasant, and I hope to God none of that reflected, or will ever reflect, back on Sandy.
In my defense, I'll just say I did my best.
After my publishing contract ended--after I ended it, within my rights according to the contract, because of disagreements with my publisher over content and approach- I was unable to complete the book.
I had three years and thousands of dollars of my own money -heck, my husband's money, since I was otherwise unemployed at the time- on this work, which began as a labor of love. (Who expects to earn a livelihood off a life of Sandy Denny? Other than, I suppose, Sandy Denny.)
But because I wanted my view of the story presented —particularly in light of the fact that parties for whom I held little trust were involved in another project related to Sandy- I got a version of the manuscript, by no means complete or finished, up on a Web site. It was there for maybe three days in March 2000. I was persuaded by threats of legal action from the publisher and another person, someone involved with the story, to take down the Web site and otherwise make the book disappear.
You know what? When words get out there, they're very, very hard to get back. When I took a part-time library job to supplement my writing work, I found that "Solo" was in the OCLC cataloging database. (This nonexistent book, which even if it existed would have had a different title, has an ISBN.) I think it used to be listed on Amazon.com and other sites for sale.
I spent days, weeks, months answering inquiries like Jon Davey's (I'm not blaming you, Jon), contacting Web site owners and other entities that were advertising this "book," and otherwise trying not to get sued. I still get them now and then, a lot of them since the beginning of this year, for whatever reason.
I'm not bitter. I'm just tired.
And I'm downright angry if, indeed, someone claimed that I was selling the book. I never did so. I haven't read all the messages, but I saw some reference to Richard Thompson's involvement. It's not for me to speak for Richard, but I can tell you this much.
I interviewed Richard for the book. I asked him to write a foreword, and he agreed. He hadn't read the book yet because there was no book to read! Why he agreed, where he ultimately stood on the whole situation, all of that, is his business, not mine.
When David Suff was preparing "A Boxful of Treasures", he asked my permission, and Richard's, to use Richard's foreword in the box set. I gave it quite readily --Richard's essay on Sandy, which, if I recall correctly, he claimed to have "just knocked off" when he sent it to me, is lovely-- and I gather Richard did as well.
I'm not exactly jumping with glee at the prospect of discussing this matter, but I'm willing to field reasonable questions --please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've got 'em.
Thanks for listening.