After edits and reviews – along some frustrating COVID-19-related delays – the book , published by CarTech Books , was officially released on May 20 .
Not only has it been extremely well-received , the book has been wildly popular . It has consistently been atop the Amazon charts in a number of categories , including “ Hot New Releases in Automotive Racing ,” “ Automotive History ” and “ Automotive Racing .”
After a long career writing about drag racing , this next step has been thoroughly satisfying for Wade .
“ I knew I was going to be a writer from the time I was a little kid , and having the honor of writing Warren Johnson ’ s biography really solidified that for me . I ’ m right where I belong ,” Wade says .
Wade , who is already in conversation about her next book , talked with Drag IllustrateD about the writing process , spending considerable time with Johnson and her reaction to the book ’ s praise .
out to be my favorite part of writing the book . They were so kind to me from the beginning . I had written about Warren Johnson plenty of times before as a drag racing journalist , so we had a working relationship prior to the book , but I always held him in such high regard .
I don ’ t think I even called him by his first name until we were well into the writing process . Warren and Arlene truly took me under their wings and welcomed me into their lives — their home , their race shop , and their seemingly endless archives of photos and memorabilia .
As you went through this process , what were some of the biggest surprises you encountered ? Were there major differences from all the previous writing you ’ ve done ?
I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take to research a book of this stature . I knew it would require great devotion , but you
The interest in the book has really taken on a life of its own . Seeing all the praise from fans , as well as that initial success , how satisfying has that been ?
I ’ m not sure what I thought was going to happen , to be honest . I was completely stunned by the response – not because it was positive , but because it was so much . For a little while , I was really nervous – like , “ How do I live up to this ? How can I make sure I don ’ t fail all of these people ?” Everyone is watching , you know ? But I had an interesting discussion with a friend who is also a writer in this field , and he sort of shook me out of that .
Not everyone is going to love this book or the way it was written , and there will for sure be people who want to pick it apart and think that they could have told Warren Johnson ’ s story better . But I was the one entrusted with this responsibility , and I put my heart and soul into it . I am so proud that I had the privilege to write not just any book , but this one in particular , and to see it succeed already is one of the coolest things that has happened in my career . DI
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF KELLY WADE