Local author keeps on trekking
Let Randi Minetor be your guide to all things Upstate
“Versatile” and “prolific” hardly begin to describe local author Randi Minetor. With more than two dozen books in print or under way, she’s the Energizer Bunny of Rochester’s writing community.
Minetor’s publishing career began with 2002’s Breadwinner Wives and the Men They Marry. “I was living that title and realized that there were a lot of women like me, kind of living in the closet,” she recalls. “I interviewed 120 people and worked on it for four years—I never did that again.”
A while later, Minetor struck gold after discovering the national park system’s Passport Program. “We’re very passionate about the national parks,” she says of herself and her husband, photographer and lighting professional Nic Minetor. “We thought the passport was one park/one stamp, but it turned out to involve several little-known places for stamps—and there was nothing to tell you where those places were.”
Minetor found the owners of the program and did several projects for them. When they gave their OK to pitching a book, she consulted Writer’s Market, found Globe Pequot Press, and sent off a proposal. That was the beginning of a beautiful publishing relationship: “They bought the idea—and then decided it should be nine books instead of one!”
Minetor wrote all nine of her Passport to Your National Parks books in five months. “We had already traveled to about 200 of the parks, and I researched the rest through the usual journalistic diligence,” she says. “I do my best to write with journalistic integrity.”
That led to more in the genre. “The editor came back to me, asking if I’d like to write a series of pocket guides and, by the way, did I know of a good photographer,” she continues. “I told her that my husband is a nature photographer, and we did five books for that series, then five on various cities, then five in a nationwide series of Best Easy Day Hikes.” Next was Backyard Birding, followed by Hiking Waterfalls in New York: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes and Scenic Routes and Byways (New York).
Minetor’s newest book, Cursed in New York: Stories of the Damned in the Empire State, was a change of style and a learning experience—an enjoyable one. “I hadn’t written this type of book before,” Minetor says. “It’s narrative nonfiction,” which is more personal and descriptive in tone than the straight journalism voice of her previous books. “It was tremendous fun to write!”
Minetor is not slowing down or sticking to the familiar. Her 2015 output includes Robert’s Rules of Order in Action: How to Participate in Meetings with Confidence and Historical Tours—The New York Immigrant Experience: Trace the Path of America’s Heritage (Touring History), and she is ghostwriting projects for two other publishers. About to release is Death in Glacier National Park: Stories of Accidents and Foolhardiness in the Crown of the Continent, and she is working on Historic Glacier Park and Hiking through History in New York.
But that’s not all! Although a public relations handbook is her one less-than-stellar publishing effort (“I think it sold about 10 copies”), Minetor handled PR for a local film festival until a few years ago and recently has been handling PR for the Lilac Festival and writing for the University of Rochester Medical Center’s website.
Minetor credits her mom for showing her how to do it all and stay sane. “My mother was an executive secretary who juggled dealing with seven vice presidents,” she says. “She was the most organized person, and I learned by example.” Minetor uses technology to stay on track and accessible. “I’m perfectly happy to take a call from a client while hiking in the Grand Tetons,” she notes, and she carries a hotspot so she can work in the car.
For (585) readers seeking recommendations, Minetor’s favorite of her books is Waterfalls, and favorite area hikes are the Genesee Riverway Trail to Turning Point Park and the Thousand Acre Swamp in Penfield, “where I go every year to talk to God on Yom Kippur.” Her readers hope she keeps listening—and publishing.
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (writerruth.com) hosts the annual Be a Better Freelance conference and received a 2015 Big Pencil Award from Writers & Books for inspiring and contributing to “advancement, creation, and understanding of literature in the Rochester community.”