In 2011, R.J. Fox, who teaches video production and English at Huron, began sharing chapters from his humorous memoir, Love and Vodka: My Surreal Adventures in the Ukraine, on Facebook. The unpublished book described Fox’s impulsive trip to Ukraine, at age twenty-three, to propose to a girl he’d met only once.
At around that same time, Ann Arbor residents Jon and Laurie Wilson–whose son, Kyle, had been Fox’s student–outlined a book project of their own. Titled Northern Souls, it would focus on their experiences growing up in the world of ’70s and ’80s pop culture on opposite sides of the Atlantic.
Jon is from Manchester, England, where Laurie–who grew up in Canton–emigrated in the late ’80s. They married in 1989 and moved to Ann Arbor in 1993. Both have experienced cultural dissonance and are drawn to fish-out-of-water stories–to such a degree that, by 2012, they were kicking around the idea of launching a publishing company that specialized in them.
The couple read Fox’s Love and Vodka chapter “A Day at the Circus,” and were hooked. “Fox’s writing was so visual that it immediately brought this Soviet-style circus to life,” says Jon. “And the part where he describes the ‘Flying Dogs of Dnipropetrovsk’–where dogs were literally shot out of a cannon and floated down on parachutes–really stuck with us.” READ THE REST HERE