Kristine Stevens is Savannah's latest published author who wrote her book "If You're Dream Doesn't Scare You, It Isn't Big Enough" about drastically changing her life's course - quitting her job, selling her house and traveling around the world solo - in reaction to her 40th birthday.
She completed the book between earning her master's of fine arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and working her current full-time job as the senior web content manager at SCAD.
"I mostly manage the databases that feed pages on the scad.edu website.
"I could not have written and published this book without the help of people I have met through SCAD," Stevens said of her day job.
Stevens took one MFA class at a time, culminating in SCAD's first MFA writing thesis exhibition, featruing "poignant wall-sized excerpts from my memoir that showed how words can convey innocence, perspective, nature, tension, culture, humor and sensation - all of which played a profound role in the journey," Stevens said.
Stevens utilized the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to raise $4,000 to cover "converting the Word document for all types of readers, review by a professional editor, trade paperback copies and professional cover design, ISBN numbers for the digital and print versions and bar code for the printed book."
Stevens likens the book to Ted Simon's "Jupiter Travels: Four Years on a Triumph," which focuses on where he is and what is going on versus an internal exploration like Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love."
She "wanted the book to include a portion of my life after the trip, to show how the experience changed me. It made me a different person, a better person in many ways."
Plus, re-entering the real world was a journey in itself that Stevens felt deserved exploring.
Relying heavily on the journals that she scribbled in several times a day while in the midst of her travels, she was able to recreate the struggles and joys that she encountered.
"People are really enjoying the unpredicted twists and turns of the story, like when the plane landed at the wrong airport or I arrived in India without a visa or when I met a man in the Bangkok train station and ended up traveling with him in Laos."
Publishing has been a longtime dream for Stevens, so she employed the help of local company Subtext Publishing.
"Rather than control the publishing process, Savannah publisher Liz Wiglesworth was my guide along the way.
"This created more work for me, but the resulting book is more true to my vision than if I had gone with a more traditional author-publisher relationship," Stevens said.
Stevens also shared other ways Savannah influenced her writing beyond attending SCAD and working with Wiglesworth: "Savannah combines some of the most pleasing aspects of my trip. The architecture in its historical district reminds me of Luang Prabang, Laos.
"The live oak trees remind me of the married trees in Nepal. The marshes and coastline make me feel like I am poised at the edge of the world, that I can take off on a new adventure any time I want."
So, what does she ultimately hope readers take away from reading her story?
"I hope readers think about their own dreams, travel or otherwise, and how they might be able to make them come true," she said.
IF YOU GO
What: Book release party for "If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It Isn't Big Enough" by Kristine Stevens
When: 6-9 p.m. July 11
Where: Moon River Brewing Beer Garden, 21 W. Bay St.
Cost: Free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and music will be provided by the Charlie Fog Band.