continued Father-son project
Gary said the book series began more than 13 years ago as a way to engage Justin in reading and writing.
“We started off not even considering it would be a book let alone a series. We just started writing about our adventures our camp on the Fulton Lakes,” Gary said.
Later Gary was asked to read at a Parents as Reading Partners event at Justin’s school, and they both decided to read their stories instead of someone else‘s book.
“After I finished reading, we got a lot of compliments. People seemed to like the story and then someone came up and asked when would the book be coming out and it gave us the idea to write more,” Gary said.
At their first signing, Gary said he and Justin were excited to sell more than 100 books and then within a few months their book sold over 2,000 copies.
“I knew when we sold 2,000 books with no real publicity, and a regional book at that, how unusual this story was and that people were really interested,” Gary said. “We said we’ll write the books as long as people want them, and every year it seems the enthusiasm grows.”
The VanRipers published their first book in 2001, when Justin was only 11 years old. Now at age 23 and a college graduate, Justin and his dad still write one book every year. The main characters have gone on adventures around the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park to include adventures on the North Creek railroad for book four, “The Great Train Robbery,” to Lake Champlain for book nine, “The Legend of the Lake Monster,” and to Ticonderoga in book 11 with “The Fall of Fort Ticonderoga.”
The series has also included the illustrations of Gary’s wife, Carol VanRiper, since book four.