From an early age, author and publisher Chris Maclean was told he had a way with words. This talent, which protected him from school bullies and made him a proficient debater, later became the focus of his professional life. Since the 1980s he has written a dozen non-fiction books, publishing many of them very successfully under his own imprint, The Whitcombe Press.
A Way with Words tells the stories behind those volumes, all of which had challenges and rewards as various as their subjects. In candid, accessible style, and through a fascinating range of illustrations, Maclean describes the stages of book creation, from the first germ of an idea to writing, design, printing and distribution. He shows, too, that making books is as much hard work and determination as inspiration, with luck always playing its part. And there are reflections on what has happened to books and publishing over four decades of rapid change – the impact of colour printing, the advent of computers and the more recent effects of the digital age.
A Way with Words is a celebration of a very New Zealand approach to writing and publishing. It will be of compelling interest and lasting delight to all those for whom books explain, entertain and provide meaning in a transient world.