It's finally here! Behind the Courtesan has gone live pretty much anywhere you want to buy it online! I really want to say thanks to everyone for their support with this book and of me. I couldn't have done it without all of you.
Now, if you want to find out more about Sophia's story and infertility in the Regency, head on over to the Carina Press Blog and have a squiz. Five lucky people who comment will win a copy of Behind the Courtesan and also Scandal's Mistress. The post should be up any minute now and I'll be back after a few hours of sleep to answer questions and what-not.
In every single person on this planet there is a certain amount of confidence. Some have loads, some only have a pinch. When you add in something that you love and would fight to keep, such as writing and publishing, your confidence levels need to be help up either by sheer will or success. So lately, for no really good reasons, my confidence has diminished. It's only the slightest drop but it makes a huge difference to how I feel as an author. For me, this isn't acceptable. It is too draining to constantly second guess and need reassurance from others. It is also probably annoying to others to have to constantly reassure me.
So my not very good reason for the sudden confidence dip is attributed to two factors. The first is that I cannot finish the damn book!! I have a feeling it's just me and not the story because I've spent months trying to figure out where I went wrong and I don't think I did. So even though I have a few publishers waiting to see it, I'm going to put it away for the next thirty days and not bring it out again until mid May. I may ask some close friends to have a read of what I have so far and let me know what they think but I have definitely hit the wall with it. The second is the not so positive reviews I have received for Behind the Courtesan. I am a very confrontational person so not being able to engage with the reviewers is doing my bloody head in! So I'm going to use this forum for a bit of a right of reply (or no right of reply really) to clear up a few things. Probably not entirely necessary but it might make me feel better and let's face it, I can do what I want here =)
The plot of Behind the Courtesan: a courtesan with a dark past returns to her childhood hometown and her first love, trying to figure out her life. I've never seen a historical romance with this premise, and I really wanted it to be awesome.
Which it could have been. The story was never boring, the writing was good and the main character was well-drawn.
So that's not so bad. Never boring is good, it means I'm able to hold onto the reader which is always a good sign...
Most of the flaws I could have overlooked, but what ruined the story was Blake--one of the most vile, misogynistic, hateful, disgusting (I can keep this up all day) "love interests" I have ever encountered.
I'm sorry you didn't like Blake but he's a man. Not sure where the misogynistic came from but yes he is hateful in the beginning. Sophia left him and for a while he had no idea if she was dead or alive....
Since Everything Is About Blake, he's never gotten over this, and he hates hates hates her. I'll give him a free pass for like a year or two, but this book takes place over a decade later. Presumably, with the passage of time and with the perspective of an adult, a sensible person will realize that 14-year-old girls generally do not, out of the blue, decide to run off and become a courtesan just to get some necklaces?
No, but how long do you think a man could hold a grudge? Granted, he probably would have had time to think about other things over that time but upon seeing her again in her grand clothes and carriage, would that not all have come to the forefront of his mind? He was angry and felt betrayed. Even after the full story comes out and he knows it all, is he still supposed to forget all that has gone before? If my best mate or boyfriend left and I thought he was dead and then he didn't come home for fourteen years and then just showed up one night out of the blue, I wouldn't be all "welcome home, we missed you, I'm glad you're finally here". I would lay into him! Even if his reasons were awesomely awesome, I would still harbour some of that grudge no matter what. And then throw pride into the mix. Pride is not something that can easily be shoved to the side. Especially for men.
Another thing I would like for every reader of historical romance to understand is that it was a different time! Men behaved so much differently than they do now. Women didn't have rights, they were seen as bargaining chips for men to use and abuse. Even though Blake hates the titled, he is still a man. A man with passions and anger and grudges and stubbornness. The same as Sophia.
Only after a man (her brother*) confirms the story, and adds some more details, does he finally accept it as truth. And when he goes to apologize (which, by the way, he never ends up doing) he thinks to himself that he's going to gag her so that he can force her to listen.
Because she keeps interrupting! Gag her so she will listen to what he has to say! I hate it when things are taken out of context. Grr. I may have overlooked the apology part but actions do speak louder than words and Blake's actions, when he does finally listen, takes it all in and understands, shouts volumes. He risks his life to find her in a storm and then risks his life again to save her. Does she accept it? You'll have to read it to find out but let me warn you, this is one of those books where by the looks of it, you'll either hate it or love it.
Here's a review by Michelle who reviews books for a living for Beauty and Lace Online Magazine. She has no agendas, isn't a failed writer and doesn't read many historicals...
Brilliant. I chuckled. I cried. I loved it.
In Behind The Courtesan Bronwyn Stuart takes us back to the Ton, back to a time where women were property and the Duke controlled the wealth in his dukedom. A time that I am very glad to have missed, I certainly don’t think I could have survived the times.
The chaperones, the protectiveness, the being told where you can and can’t go and the men thinking they can buy, sell and own you.
Bronwyn takes us back to these times and shows us another side of life in the Ton, another side to the life of a courtesan.
I didn't pay her to say any of that. I approached her for a review and she reviewed.
So in the end, this blog wasn't so much about confidence as me having a whinge but when you see something like this written (and they have the right, I'm not questioning that) it pisses me off. It hits the confidence levels and makes you second guess. I'm not looking for any pity or reassurance here. Just a right of reply. But you be the judge. I wrote a book that I absolutely love with characters I believe fit the times so I'm good.
Now I have to go off and figure out what to write next so I can get on with the job of entertaining. And arguing. And getting pissy =)
Recently a writer friend of mine emailed me with a question about the contract I signed with Carina Press since she had just been offered a contract with a small epublishing house. I now have no access to the actual contract since she declined it in the end anyway so I am going largely from memory for this little rant/lesson/piece of advice.
DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING! Until you have read it all back to front and inside out and understand every single word in the whole contract.
I do not proclaim to be a contracts expert or know anything about anything but I do know this was the most single scariest thing I have read in a long time! Here are some of the contract clauses in a nutshell from the publisher's website.
--Royalty 45% through *name redacted* Website and 40% through third party vendors.
Not the scariest part. This seems to be fairly standard but you have to understand that this is not gross. You do not get 45% of $4.99. This is net so after the publisher takes their expenses into consideration. You would probably like to get this percentage known up front and should be reasonably standard with your publisher. I’m thinking it shouldn’t be more than 10% but I really have no idea.
--Length of grant of publishing rights: Life of copyright
Uh oh. How long is a piece of string I hear you ask? I have a rights reversion clause in my contract and I was happy with it. It states an amount of years OR an amount of copies sold in a quarter. Nice and reasonably straight forward. This scary contract stated that the book was theirs forever. No ifs and or buts about it. If Carina stop selling my book, I get to take it back and rejig it or can it. It's mine again.
--Includes all rights - example digital, print, audio, translation and other secondary/subsidiary rights.
This one I am not going to pretend to know anything about but I knew I didn’t like it. The actual contract said movie rights and all rights to everything possible in every language and platform forever. What if Fox or Disney called up tomorrow and said we love your book and we want to make the movie!! You would have to say, speak to my publisher. Good for your publisher but I’m not sure how this would translate for you.
I know it would be cynical to think that all publishers are rotten and dirty (they are not) but they are out to make money. So let’s say that Fox calls and the publisher says let me think about it. Then they call their mate down at Nobody Ever Heard of Us But We Want To Make It Big and say, I have this book that Fox are hot for, what do you think? Reply? I think you own the rights. You should sell it to me for a carton of beer and I’ll make sure you’re set up on the sly. Publisher? Sounds awesome. Then I won’t have to give more than 5 beers to my author!
That is not how it would go but hopefully you get the idea. Your work is now theirs. You don’t get a say in how it is used or where or for how much. You gave away your rights for the life of the book and last time I checked, that was kind of forever.
What this contract also had was an options clause. They have first right of refusal for your next book. Of course they are going to want it. Unless it’s a dungpile but then no one will want it. So it’s good. Really good. Big Six good. But you’re screwed. You gave away the next book and when you sign this shitty contract for the next book, they will have the option on the third too. Getting the bigger picture? Perhaps if you were getting an advance, you'd be happy but you're not because not many places give an advance for ebooks. Didn't know that? Do some research!
I just read a blog at John Scalzi's siite and this guy rips apart a couple of Random House contracts and good on him! I don’t have the kahunas to name the publishing house I would never sign with ever but Scalzi does. So the lesson here today boys and girls? Read the contract!! If you have a book that isn’t going anywhere and you want to give it away to get a foot in the door (because let’s face it, some people do it like that) then by all means, go for it. But watch out because it will bite you in the butt!
Carina Press has a standard contract that is pretty good. Would I change some stuff? Yes I would but on the whole, it is an awesome contract which doesn’t give away everything for nothing. I get good royalties (better than some new and not going to be named epublishers) and I get the choice if and when I submit to them with the next book. They treat me right, do all the hard work and give me a stellar editor so why wouldn’t I? Be very careful because not everyone is going to treat your baby (meaning your book) with the tender loving care it deserves. Eloisa James said something along the words of be your own business woman. Don’t be the mother of your story. Treat it like it is your bread and butter. I agree. When you’re a newby author, you say you do it for the love of writing but once you taste the dollars, then you have to get the best deal for you and your book. You worked hard for this so enjoy it but don’t just give it away… Just my two cents for what it's worth. And I'm going to borrow some words from John Scalzi - I am speaking for myself and only for myself - in this blog =)Do your research. Know what you are getting yourself in to!
I know there are a few peeps out there who would love to know what happens behind the scenes when a writer slogs their guts out on an 80,000+ word manuscript and then decides to try to sell it. Try being the operative word. Here it is in a nutshell…
So first I came up with the idea for Behind the Courtesan. I wondered what the mistresses and high society courtesans did when their protectors returned to their families for the holidays or went off hunting with their chums. We’re talking a few months of the year here and the women would have had their cozy houses to live in and most of the time enough money to last them so it probably wasn’t a major hardship. But still the question begged, what did they do? What if they had families of their own? Families that may or may not have accepted their lifestyles at least as far as to hold out their hands when broke.
And then came the idea that the courtesan was forced to return home and finally face her demons, her old life, her old love. The what, where, when and why. And then you start writing. It took me around six months of solid work to get it past the draft stage and submit it and then more months of waiting, a few rejections and then the offer to publish came while I was on my honeymoon in Thailand. That was June 2012. Then came the rewrites. I had a new editor for this book and because of its depth of emotion and more characters than my first book, there were a few areas that needed serious work, a character who features throughout the book had to be rewritten, as did many, many chapters and scenes. I think we had two or three rounds of intensive rewrites and then line edits for punctuation, grammar and disjointed sentences or modern phrases. Most of these had to be done yesterday. I had three weeks for the first round and less than two weeks for each round after that. Add in my family, my housework and my day job and it was exhausting but we got there.
Amidst all of that was the back cover copy which is done by Carina Press and then I have to approve or make suggestions if I want to make changes. I didn’t. They pretty much nailed it.
Then comes the cover art sheet. Even though this book is published with Carina Press and a digital first, they still do everything for me. I don’t have to do my own covers or upload my own work to Amazon and the zillions of other etailers. They do all the hard yards (after I write the book) and I sit back and say yae or nae while I get started on the next book. So with the cover art this time I said what I didn’t want. I didn’t want the passionate embrace or the writhing on the bed with naked thighs (not for this one anyway). Even though this book or predominantly a romance, the story is so much bigger than a girl falling in love with a boy. They both have serious demons to face, betrayals to overcome and hurts to forgive and forget. If you read the first chapter when I submitted it for Mills and Boon New Voices then you’ll remember this as the one where the heroine gets out of the carriage and is dropped in the mud, laughed at, humiliated. It doesn’t start with eyes across a crowded ballroom and fluttery stomachs or sly half smiles. Here’s the cover they came up with.
Lovely isn’t it? There were a few stages before we got it here but I think the art department nailed it.
So now I just wait for the final PDF and it's already on presale at Amazon for nearly half the price! It officially releases on the 22nd April. It took 14 months from submission to sale. Far quicker than a traditional print romance but with the same degree of meticulous editing and planning.
IF you’re a new writer thinking it’s easier to self publish, I can’t tell you either way not to do it but I can tell you that Carina are awesome to work with. The same level of professionalism, higher royalties than a lot of other epublishers on the market and a lot less hassle than Amazon direct stuff. Even cheaper than self publishing because I don’t pay a cent for my beautiful covers or my wonderful editor or the marketing. Here's the blurb for Behind the Courtesan.
When courtesan Sophia Martin returns to the village she fled as a young woman, she knows it won't be a happy reunion—but she can't refuse her brother's request to attend his expectant wife. Trapped until the baby arrives, she must navigate the social rift she caused when she left to pursue a disreputable life—and keep the true reason for her departure from the man she once loved, the bastard son of the Duke who ruined her.
Blake Vale has never forgotten Sophia, but he can't accept the decisions she made, the courtesan's life she leads, or the fact she's cast aside her true self. Plain old Sophia has to be inside this hardened woman somewhere, and he's determined to make her see she doesn't need rich men to be happy, and that their future has nothing to do with the past.
When the dukedom suddenly falls within his reach, Blake must come to terms with his own past and his birthright, and what that means for his future…and Sophia.
Valentines Day. I was just going to leave it at the card but then thought I should explain why I'm kind of against it all. It has nothing to do with the commercialisation of the day by chocolate companies, florists and Hallmark.
I just think there's 365 days in most years. Why should there be only one day where my hubby shows me how much he loves me and pulls his finger out and finds the half a romantic bone in his body?
I show my family how much I love them every day that dinner makes it to the table. Every day they have clean clothes and a ride to school. Nearly every day I go out of my way to buy something I know my hubby likes. Some snack or whatever I know will make him feel just that bit better about his shitty day. I do things all the time to show him how much he means to me (especially since he's worked around 16 days in a row now with no end in sight). But why is it okay for him to be pressured into buying stupid expensive roses that are just going to die in a few days anyway? And he usually stops at my workplace so then I know just how much he didn't spend on my flowers.
What would be nice is if he rocked home today with something I like. Wine? Chocolate? Dessert? A gift voucher for a new bra since the wire came out of my favourite one last week. A handwritten voucher for a day off or a sleep in? Don't get me wrong, I like that there is a day, I just wonder why there aren't more...
What do you think about Valentines day? For? Against? Not a romantic at heart?
Time for a good old fashioned rant!
For years I’ve had to listen to idiots dribble on about how romance novels are unrealistic and paint the wrong picture of what women should aspire to and how these novels create a too high expectation of love and raises the bar too high in what we should look for in a man.
We, as authors of such smut, smile, nod, try not to slap the silly out of them and move on to people whose opinions are knowledgeable and well thought out. They. Are. Love. STORIES! If you don’t like them, don’t read them! Same goes with horror, erotica and every other genre of anything even written or recorded by anyone anywhere. It pisses me off!
Then I see this outrageous post a while back about the My Little Pony cartoon show. The blogger states:
My Little Homophobic, Racist, Smart-Shaming Pony So overall, these are the lessons My Little Pony teaches girls:
- Magical white ponies are suited for leadership; black ponies are suited to be servants.
- Stop learning! You will overcome any obstacle by resorting to strength in numbers (of friends).
- Girls that wear rainbows are butch.
- You need the government (ideally a monarch invested with supreme ultimate power and a phallic symbol strapped to her forehead) to tell you what to do with your life.
You can read the dribble here (and I should point out it is a feminist's website):
Holy shit! She goes on about how there are no black ponies, that Rainbow Dash looks like an angry lesbian and only beautiful white horses are suitable for leadership. This is the kind of feminist who gives everything a bad name. I would have liked to have heard whether this chick actually has children or not.
My five year old is in love with My Little Pony. She has all the baby ponies, hard and soft talking toys, books and dvds. The lessons they teach are about cooperation, not lying, a little bit of karma and above all, friendship and what it takes to be a good friend. Lovely stories for little girls. There is no question of equality among sexes, no question of racism and it certainly does not make my child ask questions about angry lesbians. As a mother, it is my job to answer questions but thanks very much to the idiots who plant the seeds in the first place. She doesn’t know anything about being gay! That is how I would like to leave it until those questions are raised naturally by her own curiosity and level of understanding.
She doesn’t know about sex.
She doesn’t know about being a racist or to taunt fat people or the disabled.
She takes her cues from me and I don’t behave like that. Sure, little girls and boys with two mums or two dads would be taught the difference between heterosexuality and same sex partnerships but not with all the graphic details. If you did, you would be a BAD parent! By the time they are old enough to know and ask these things, they won’t be interested in My Little Pony anymore! They’ll never look back at the show and say “where were all the black ponies?” Also, why do we have to represent every race? Is an Australian show not just allowed to have Aussies in it? Is it racist that all of my heroines to date are white? No! It’s because I write Regency. It’s also because I don’t know enough about African-Americans or Aboriginals to write from their point of view. But I guess that just makes me ignorant doesn’t it?
In this case, I think the blogger just wanted something to pick on. I could find that in at least a dozen kid’s shows. Strawberry Shortcake is mostly females, they all live together and talk to fruits and vegetables. Does this make them a bunch of insane gang-banging dikes? Doubt it!
Does the fact that Ben 10, when he grows into a teenager, only get crushes on girls represent a bigger issue about his sexuality? Doubt it!
Is there racism in Transformers because they only fight for Americans? When Nathan from High Five sings a song about playing with his noodle, does my five year old think he is talking about his dick or does she see that he’s holding a pool noodle and that the songwriter used a poor choice of words? When my mother-in-law calls the cat with “here pussy, pussy, pussy,” do they giggle hysterically? No! (But I do)
Let’s leave our kids as kids rather than explain away their innocence with issues they don’t need to know about or think about for so many years to come. If we never teach them to hate black people or throw rocks at gays, they’ll never do it. There is the pathway to world peace… And the real lesson here should be, if you don’t like it, don’t watch/read/listen to it! The reason we have so many choices on this planet in everything from food to movies to books to colours to sex and right back to food is that everyone likes different things. I don’t bag out people who don’t like bacon (although I am shocked). I also don’t openly make fun of people who have different cultures or tastes or skin colours. It must be exhausting for people to hate everything about everything… Love it all and go with the flow!
But then that’s my opinion. Love it or hate it, love me or hate me, I have better things in this in life to worry about than acceptance in every circle on the planet =)
You can also read a rebuttal by another blogger here:
Holy 2012 Batman!!
When I look back at the year I wonder how I made it this far. Not just mentally but physically and emotionally. It will certainly be one I hope never to top in excitement, fear or magic.
It started in February when I could finally stop taking the medications that put my body into a medically induced menopause at the ripe old age of 29. That was six months of interesting! So in February I had a hysterectomy. Woohoo! If you’re a long-term reader of my blog, you‘ll know that I suffered from debilitating Endometriosis. Si weeks later I went back to work and I could concentrate on what was next on the list.
In June I married my soulmate of already thirteen of the most turbulent years in which we had two children, bought a house, changed jobs and cars a million and one times. It was a magical day that we will never forget where everything went perfectly, exactly how I saw it in my mind. And then came another first…
Overseas trip! I know, I’d never been. So on the day of my husband’s 32nd birthday, we boarded a plane for Singapore and then onto Phuket, Thailand. To say that our honeymoon was perfect would be an understatement. I kept waiting for the bottom to fall out of it thinking how many people get a perfect wedding and then a perfect honeymoon as well? And then the bottom did fall out of it.
But first I turned 30. Which meant absolutely nothing at all. It really was just another day compared to the weeks before it. And then I became the bakery manager in my day job and went to five days a week.
Now, back to the bottom falling out. When we got home from our honeymoon, my hubby got really, really sick. We went to the doctor for all kinds of tests for tropical diseases (knowing full well that said hubby did not have the shots you’re supposed to have before going to Thailand). A few torturous weeks later, he was diagnosed (rather out of the blue) with type 1 diabetes. So came a lifestyle change. Well, it was supposed to but I’m still waiting for him to realise how much things have to change.
Then came another humongous milestone but this time in my career. With August and the changing of the leaves came my debut book release! Scandal’s Mistress came out with Carina Press the same week I travelled interstate for the annual Romance Writer’s of Australia conference. Never again will I let two things like this coincide. It was so hard to think about the conference and knowing I was going to be away from home made it difficult to do things like blog tours and the such. Also, by this stage of the year I was exhausted. Then I overcommitted to having a book finished which still isn’t and it’s now the end of December.
Throw into all of that my youngest started reception and then proceeded to have a series of accidents one of which required four stitches to the head. My seven year old suddenly turned 14, then there were the usually holidays like Christmas, Easter and the rest. I honestly can’t wait for 2013! Bring on a relaxed working environment. Bring on structured writing and exercise time. Bring on a print contract with one of the big six! (Not sure which of those is the most wishful thinking =) )
But most of all bring on more time with my family and my friends and fill it with happiness!!
Happy New Year!
My answer to that is why don’t you?
Why don’t you write the next Twilight or Harry Potter Doppleganger? (yes I have been watching waaaay too much Vampire Diaries.) These are the questions I cop from my brain every other day and every time I open a word document. But I just can’t find it. I want to, believe me I do. I’m not sure if my brain is too overloaded right now (and for the last forever) or if I’m too romance oriented but I just can’t seem to find that next big thing and it frustrates the hell out of me and every other person out there who wants the zeros in the bank to have a digit in front of them!
An artist wants to paint the next Mona Lisa and a sculptor wants to create the next David but it just isn’t like that. My question to you is how do you know you’ve got the next big thing anyway? JK didn’t know she was sitting on millions, neither did EL or Stephanie.
That’s the hardest part of being an artist (I use the title loosely in connection to me) you don’t know what’s going to be huge and what’s going to tank and it plays with your head until you wonder if everything you ever pen is doomed to be crap. No I’m not saying my work is, I’m just saying, if you’re sitting on the pot of hugeness and awesomeness and fantabulousness, can you tip a little of it’s contents my way? Please? I need a fatter bank account and better sense of achievement… Just today though. Tomorrow I’ll be good =)
For some deluded reason I thought by this time in my life as a mum and wife and author, I would have a better handle on the day to day stuff. I was so wrong… (If you feel a semi-rant coming on, you would be nearly right but I'll to keep it clean.)
Here’s what my weekdays look like right now.
5:00 wake up if I need a shower (because want has no place here.)
5:30 if I need those precious few extra minutes.
Oh wait, I forgot, when hubby’s first alarm goes off, it’s 4:00. He tries not to wake me (some mornings) but I’m a light sleeper. I snooze while he showers (every day, lucky bastard) and goes about getting ready to leave for work at 5:00.
So he slams the front door and I’m up.
6:00 get the kids up (if the door slam didn't already) and get them ready for school minus breakfast.
6:50 we leave for out of school hours care where they get breakfast and get looked after until school starts.
7:30 I start work as a bakery manager in a supermarket.
14:00 I finish a hard days work. I actually pull my finger out and get the jobs done and I don't faff about. I only take a 30 minute lunch break so I’ve been on my feet for a while and awake since 4:00.
15:00 get to school for 15:15 pick up. If I’m even a few minutes late, I can’t find a close carpark and my feet don’t like that.
15:45 get home from school after listening to the kids fight all the way home.
16:00 I’m checking the rabbits and doing a few things that need to be done, like taking the washing in (if I got it out to start with).
16:30 I try to take 30 minutes for a cup of tea and scrabble shots on facebook if the kids don’t need a bath or shower to wash their hair. (There’s that need over want again.)
17:00 in the kitchen getting dinner going.
18:00 eat tea while yelling at the kids to stop talking and touching and dropping food on the floor.
19:00 kids are supposed to be in bed.
19:30 finally get to sit down and breathe a sigh of relief that all is quiet and right with the world. (Mondays and Thursdays, I’m getting ready for yoga 19:45 - 21:00)
But. By this time, I may have managed to pack the dishwasher with yesterday’s dishes, I haven’t done any washing or cleaned anything or picked anything up.
20:30-21:30 sometimes I clean up or fold washing, most of the time I watch the telly for an hour (I love Bones and The Mentalist). Still no new washing though.
21:30 If I’m not in bed by now, I’m so tired, I have nothing left. I can’t write, I can barely keep my eyes open.
This is what I do three days a week. On the fourth I get two hours in the afternoon before school pick up to run errands or do the shopping (still at work) go to the bank, whatever I have left till the last minute because I couldn’t do it with the kids after school. So, minus the weekend because they are never productive, I have one day to write. One day to get my head back into the book and try to get myself back in. Occasionally I steal a few hours on the weekend but the kids want to spend time with me and go out and my hubby works six days a week so he’s not much help.
It’s slow going right now so I hope you’ll bear with me. If you’re a publisher waiting on my next book, it’s coming. It’s good too but it needs to be better. I do have a short contemporary submission in with a publisher and another one requested so I’m still plugging away…
God, I hope 2013 looks better than this! Can we add a few hours to the clock? Or maybe figure out how not to sleep? Anyone know any vampires?
I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing by Alison Stuart (no relation but it would have been cool). I’ve known Alison for a few years through Romance Writer’s of Australia and our mutual love of all things historical. Alison’s next book Secrets in Time is coming out with Lyrical Press at the same time as mine in April! Two great books for you all to read!
According to the instructions, I have to tell you about my next book and then tag a few other authors so they can tell you about their next big thing. What a fun way to share the love and new releases!
What is the title of your next book?
Behind the Courtesan comes out in April 2013 with Carina Press and I am beyond excited! I don’t have a cover yet though. Not a super long read at 74,000 words but I hope it will be memorable.
Where did the idea come from for this book?
Unlike my last book Scandal’s Mistress, I actually do remember where this idea came from. I was wondering what the best kept courtesans and mistresses of the ton did when their gentlemen were off hunting or spending time with their families. Did they party with each other? Did they take the time to follow their own pursuits and what of their own families? It wasn’t like you could dial up your mother and ask her how she’s been. And then I started thinking about how these women ended up in their chosen occupations. Some were run-aways like Sophia and most had terrible pasts.
Sophia ran away from home at the tender age of fourteen after being savagely raped by the then Duke. When her brother asks her to attend the birth of his first child, she decides it’s time to go home and face the demons of her past and the men she left behind. The story is sad and a little twisted but I like depth in my characters and love stories. It always makes the happy endings so much more satisfying and deserved.
What genre does your book fall under?
Miss Anna Campbell is known in some circles as the Queen of Regency Noir. Mine fits in there. It’s regency but so much darker and emotional than most others.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not someone who visualises an actress or actor for my characters. I see them in my head and they’re just there. But. In this one, I totally saw Gerard Butler for Blake. Big and buff and awesome. Can you tell I have a little man crush?
And I love the images of Amy Lee from Evanescance for Sophia. Think wild dark curly hair and big blue eyes only a little more historical and a little less make-up.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This will be my second release with Carina Press and I still could not be happier. My editor is amazing and pushed me really hard to get Behind the Courtesan as perfect as I could, pointing out my plot holes and too modern language. Everything is so fuss free with Carina, just the way I like it!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I have no idea… I like to work on a few different manuscripts all at the same time but I would say about six months. I work a day job and have two full-on little girls so not a huge amount of time left over sometimes.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I absolutely love Anna Campbell and until I read her debut novel Claiming the Courtesan in 2007, I didn’t even know this kind of darkness ‘fit’ into regency. I’d always stuck to the Stephanie Laurens’, Eloisa James’ and Julia Quinns of historicals. To say I was amazed would be an understatement. I am completely addicted to her stories now.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Mostly the above but once I started, I had to tell Sophia’s story. I have a very close girlfriend who suffered three miscarriages over a number of years due to the lack of folate retained in her body (very long story there too). I also once read an article about a woman who had nine miscarriages due to the same issues. When I needed a little extra torture for Sophia, I knew it would fit into the story perfectly. I think we tend to not think about what we conceive as modern problems and how they would have been faced in those periods. Women lost more babies then than they ever would now. At the time, I wanted to show that if Sophia could beat the odds, then so could my girlfriend. She now has a bouncing boy. While Sophia doesn’t have a baby in the story, I like to think it all would have worked out okay for her too.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I like to think my voice and story-telling ability would be enough to pique interest. Perhaps the fact that my courtesan is involved in a tug of war between a peer of the realm and a tavern owner? Or the fact that she has more demons in her closet than you could poke a stick at?
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I'm coming in at the end of the month so here are the next four authors who are going to reveal or have already revealed their Next Big Thing so make sure you take a look!Liz FlahertyAlison StuartCarla CarusoJoanne Ellis Thanks for coming!