Tuesday, March 02, 2010

First Big Book Backstory

Tame the Fury, my very first western romance and quite the challenge. I'm reviewing it now, preparing for re-publishing and remembering how scared I was, leaping into this new writing adventure.

As a writer, I really welcomed new opportunities, but did weigh each carefully. Tame the Fury proved to be a good opportunity.

Let's get that title out of the way first: Not to my liking, thought it sounded like S&M, but ohmigosh what a cover. Loved that cover, which cannot be reused in newer publication.

The lead in the Berkley Diamond line and the first of several historicals, Tame the Fury was quite the little exercise. Here's some of the backstory:

1. I'd written a few SCALs, Berkley's Second Chance at Loves, they'd placed well on sales (see previous post) and my then-editor invited me into writing a western historical. The phrase "scared stiff" didn't quite frame my fear.

2. Not a clue as how to market it back then.

3. I wrote about current Washington state's 1890s-1900s historical town, using my growing-up area as a base--we have lots built into us, if we'll only use it.

4. Made it through one draft, which was okayed by the editor.

5. THEN THE CALL: Apparently the excellent author created a mistake so far as the heroine's hair color. Since I'd used blonde/golden as the wheat fields, etc. and the artist had portrayed Rebecca as raven/black-haired, all my similes were cold stone dead.

So I got this frantic call from my editor, rewrite and change the color. I was working a day-job then, with 3 teens, and under contract to another publisher, so writing time was scarce, let alone a RE-DO.

I balked a bit, and then my editor stated firmly, "Okay, then, I'll just stuck blonde in where you have raven and black."

Fear gripped me. All those lovely wheat fields and sunshine similies tossed out the window. I agreed to said VERY FIRM request and set to work. It was a last minute scramble, but came up with the idea of using a Scottish type poem to "drive the book". My Highland Rose was the result.

Take a Big Note: This stuff happens really frequently in publishing, not only with covers, but formatting, publishing dates changed after all ad work has gone out, just reasons for all, but I was really, really happy with the end result of this cover.

6. Everyone seemed satisfied with the result, which was actually probably better than the original.

You can see more of my western historicals at my website. I traveled to research each one, including driving the Oregon Trail, which was delicious to me, but not to the pioneers.

And so it began. I'm having quite a time revisiting these early books, remembering all the really enjoyable research and Travel. Loved the travel to research bit.



Love the backstory! Feeling overwhelmed for you!

Lois K. said...

Hey. I'm overwhelmed right now. A writer juggles a lot all at the same time.:)