So, another few months have passed since my last blog post and I thought it was time I updated.
Where to begin, though? My last entry was filled with excitement about the fact that Saturday's Child had won me a publishing contract with Piatkus Entice, and that post was made a day or two after the announcement. Since then things have, as the subject says, moved on a-pace! The book has now been re-named Maid of Oaklands Manor, and after a brief battle with my common sense I have taken the view that the publishers know so much better than I do what is likely to sell and what isn't. It will be published on 4th July 2013.
The editor who worked with me on the book, knocking off the rough edges, pointing out where I'd repeated words etc, also persuaded me to bring out the romantic part of the story, for which I'm extremely grateful.
I think the problem with me doing that initially was that this was never intended to be a historical romance. Readers of my earlier posts (and I know there are some, because although the comments don't show here, I've had responses on Facebook!) will know this story was inspired by my grandmother's life in service. And although, in the end, the tale went off in a wildly different direction, I still feel as though it's hers and that's why I have kept her name for one of the secondary characters, and one of the incidents in the book that was a true story. Lizzy's attraction to Jack came out of nowhere. She was supposed to be in love with Will the butcher's apprentice but when Jack came along it was hard to ignore the spark between them. I did try though, because I thought the story was one of injustice and adventure. However Caroline Kirkpatrick (editor with Little, Brown) tugged and coaxed until everything came tumbling out and Lizzy and Jack's story became far more intense and, ultimately, much more rewarding.
So, after some amendments, and an additional 13,000 words, the MS went to copy-edit, and then some further edits were necessary to clarify a couple of points of inheritance and family tree (it was all so obvious to me but I neglected to take into account the fact that the reader is not inside my head!). The book is now with the type-setter, and I should have the proofs back in a week or so for one last proof-read. I'm not sure when I can expect to see the cover art, and had been very nervous about it until I saw some of the other covers for historical romances. This is not a bodice-ripper so I would hope there will be no scantily-clad girls or open-shirted men, and I'm hoping the cover will accurately represent the story within. I'm learning to trust the industry more, so am feeling less as if I've handed over total control of my 'baby' to a fiction-factory, and more as if the publishers are applying their expertise to something they believe in strongly enough to take the time and effort they've shown so far.
On the back of that deal with Piatkus, I have signed a contract with the Kate Nash Literary Agency and we are talking (although very loosely at the moment) about my next book, Lady of No Man's Land. This is a sequel in that it presumes knowledge of characters and key events, but the story is Creswell heiress Evie's. It follows her time as an ambulance driver on the Western Front, and explores what happens when her sense of right and wrong, previously so clear, is put to the test after her friend is viciously attacked by an army officer she had been trying to help. The girl's brother goes after justice but things get out of hand and he is forced to desert.
The third book in the series, Daughter of Dark River Farm brings the action back to England, and we will get re-acquainted with some of the characters we thought we'd heard the last of. I'm prepared to be surprised by some of them.
I am still working on The Lynher Mill Chronicles too, and will begin a full edit of The Lightning and the Blade soon, now that I've let it sit awhile. This should help me see the direction I need to go in for The Western War, although I've got a rough outline in my head already.
Th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!
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Thanks for reading!