Arkansas Author: Tim Ernst
Location: Buffalo River Wilderness, Newton County
How many books? Two dozen
All picture books?
No. Besides 11 coffee-table picture books there have been many guidebooks to hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic areas all over Arkansas (seven of my guidebooks are in print right now and are updated with new editions frequently). Also The Search For Haley, a first-hand account of the largest search and rescue mission in
Arkansas history (featured on Dateline NBC). And finally, The Cloudland Journal ~Book One, which details life in the wilderness. I also write the online Cloudland Journal, which is the longest journal on the Internet with thousands of readers around the world and thousands of pages of text.
What kind of books?
See above. We have also published guidebooks for a couple of other authors, including Arkansas Wildflowers, a brand new and important guidebook by Don Kurz (he lives in Missouri) that was just published.
Why choose the topics?
I started writing hiking trail guidebooks in 1983 because there was no information available anywhere for the trails of Arkansas. Public demand has fueled more and more guidebooks, especially the Arkansas Waterfalls guidebook and Arkansas Nature Lovers guidebooks. People love to get out and explore Arkansas, but many are reluctant about getting out and doing it on their own, plus are unsure what is available and how to get there. My guidebooks take them by the hand and show them how to get there and give detailed descriptions of the route/location; how to get to the trailhead; plus a map of each area (my wife, Pam, draws all of the maps). The coffee table picture books are a way for the public to own large collections of my artwork—typically more than 100 new photographs in each book. We’ve found that not only do folks love to display the great beauty of Arkansas in their homes and offices, but they like to send books to friends and relatives around the country and world to show them was a gorgeous state they live in! Generally speaking, I photograph the natural things in Arkansas that I find to be the most beautiful and interesting to me, and publish the cream of the crop of those photographs each year. I also do “theme” books like my most recent book, Arkansas Autumn. I choose those topics, which normally take several years to photograph, to showcase the great beauty of Arkansas.
What inspires you to publish?
I want to share the great beauty of Arkansas with others. I want to inspire others to get out and enjoy this great beauty. I also want folks to get out and exercise to help improve their quality of life and physical and mental fitness; and I want others to gain a sense of appreciation for what we have here in the Natural State so that they will want to protect it for all future generations.
What have you leaned about Arkansas?
I’ve learned that no matter how many thousands of miles I hike or months and years I spend traveling the state in search of beauty that I will never even scratch the surface of what we have here—Arkansas is full of nature! Also that we have some wonderful swamps and other places around the state that are just gorgeous and worthy of visiting. I’ve also discovered hundreds of waterfalls that I never knew existed (and continue to discover new ones all the time). Finally, I’ve learned that many people in Arkansas and around the country have no idea what a beautiful state Arkansas is and as a result I’ve helped to encourage tourism in the state (for those who wanted to keep it all a secret—sorry!).
What have you learned about yourself?
That with enough work (I generally work 16-18 hours a day, 365 days a week, and have been doing so for many years), I am able to make a living doing what I love—sharing the great beauty of Arkansas with others. I’ve also learned that I probably could not live in a city. I need to be in the wilderness, a place that inspires the soul and makes the spirit soar!
Visit http://www.TimErnst.com. My current project is the Arkansas Portfolio III coffee table picture book that will be published in the fall of 2011. Unlike most authors, we also publish and distribute all of our work and sell direct to the public. Autographed and personalized copies of everything are available through our online store and we ship to folks around the country.
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