Newsletter leads to first book

When Bill Eddy started his newsletter nine years ago, he didn't have any aspirations to be an author. The Newport Beach retail real estate consultant had accumulated a thick Rolodex of contacts, and as a way of staying in touch, he began emailing the Eddy Line, a series of reflections on travel, culture and other topics, to about 1,100 people.

As it turned out, there was more demand for Eddy's writing than he imagined at first. Friends began asking when he planned to write a book, and this year, he responded with "Loves, Life & Laughter: The Highly Enjoyable Journey of Bill Aloha Eddy." (The fictitious middle name was inspired by his years living in Hawaii.)

Eddy's 295-page opus, which details his life and career, came out in May under his own Aloha Eddy Publishing, and it's available on Amazon in print and as an eBook.

Eddy, who co-runs the Eddy Company near Fashion Island, spoke with the Daily Pilot last week about his experiences as a first-time book author. The following are excerpts from the conversation:


The title of your book is "Loves, Life & Laughter." Tell me why "Loves" is in the plural.

Well, I've always been a very sociable person. I was active in my fraternity in college. I like people. I love people. I'll talk to anybody on the street, whether they clean the toilets at night or [they're] the chairman of the board.

My mother told me when I was a little boy that "Bill never knew any strangers." So I've always been gregarious and enjoyed meeting people and talking to people, and I think, as a result, you develop friendships and relationships, and people seem to relate to that. ...

I've had a lot of fun. I've known a lot of women, and I've gotten a lot out of life. I've been very fortunate to be exposed to a lot of interesting places and travel much of the world and be with some interesting people.

In the press kit for your book, you talk about growing up in the "Ozzie and Harriet generation," as you call it. Tell me a little about that time. Do you think a sort of mythology has sprouted up around the '50s?

Well, my brother and I grew up in a very close family. ... We were very close to grandparents and aunts and uncles — saw them all the time, vacations. And that was the era of, as a little boy — all this is in the book in one form or another — you know, we had the radio. I'd lie on my back, my brother and I would lie on our back like a lot of people when you're little kids and listen to "The Lone Ranger," "The Green Hornet" or Bob Hope or whatever.

And you fantasize what it's all about. And then television was primarily, till I was a senior in high school, not in color. One of the shows that I connected with was "[The Adventures of] Ozzie & Harriet." And I loved Ricky Nelson's music. I just loved the whole family thing. Have you ever seen an "Ozzie & Harriet" show?

I have, yes.

At the end of the show, everything works out fine. Everybody's polite and everybody's nice. You know, everything ends well. And growing up, I pretty much thought that everybody had a close family, and that's just the way things were. ...

Whether it's "Father Knows Best," "Lassie" or a lot of the shows of that era, there wasn't profanity. Those were the standards then. Everything pretty much ended on a happy, positive note.

You used to come down here to Balboa in the 1960s when you were a student at USC. Tell me a little about the '60s in Balboa, When they talk about the Sixties with a capital "S," did that really impact this area very much?

In the '60s, Newport Beach was still really the major Easter week getaway. And Balboa Island in particular, and of course the peninsula. You probably drank too much beer then. You had a lot of fun. You had a lot of parties.

We would take over Balboa and we'd stand along Marine [Avenue], and cars would come in and we'd observe and make comments. People would bring in their fancy cars and their hopped-up cars. You know, we were locals and they were tourists, and it was just an exciting place to be.

You've lived in both Hawaii and Newport Beach. How would you say the two compare to each other?

I think one of the comparisons would be, certainly, the more casual lifestyle and the attitude. As people tend to live on the water, near the water, get a chance to put their feet in the sand and the water, it tends to mellow you out a little bit.

Let's talk a little about the book itself. Did you ever imagine you'd be a book author someday?

Not at all. I've been an outgoing guy. I found out through the Eddy Line that I must have had some talent or skill in communicating through writing. I've done a lot of public speaking, and that's worked well for me. But when somebody — and I don't know who first mentioned it — said, "Bill, you ought to write a book, you ought to write a book," I just sort of slept it off. It was never on my radar as something I wanted to do someday.

The book is, in essence, my legacy. One thing I've learned, and you may know this, is that when you're in conversation, people say, "What are you doing today? What are you doing today?" And, well, for two and a half years, basically what I was doing was writing. And when people find out you're writing a book — doesn't matter what it's about, if it's a cookbook or writing about your car, whatever — people seem to all of a sudden really tune into you and want to know about what you're doing in this book and what it's about, and why.

And you'll also hear, "I always wanted to write a book. I thought about writing a book. Someday, I really want to write a book." And I told my wife, "I didn't write this book to be on the New York Times bestseller list." This is my legacy. This is something I think was supposed to happen. This is something I was supposed to do, and it just happened around this time of my life.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World