Monday, November 25, 2013

Back to Answering Those Questions...

I've let this thread slide far longer than I'd intended, so without any further ado, here are the answers to some more of your questions:

LOgalinOR asked, "I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your historical romance novels. Any chance of writing any more in the future?

The reason I quit writing historical romances was because I was being pushed into a direction I didn't want to go. I enjoyed setting my stories in whatever period or place best fit the romantic conflict I wanted to explore, and I happily ranged all over the place--the American Civil War, Medieval France, nineteenth-century Australia, etc. But then publishers noticed that authors who wrote linked series with 5 brothers/7 cousins/4 good friends sold best, so I was told I had to "pick a time and place and stick with it."  I knew I could never do that; it seems such an artificial way to come up with story ideas, I don't know how people do it (although some do it very well). So I decided that if I had to pick a time and place and stick with it, I'd rather write a historical mystery series in which I could explore the lives and conflicts of my main characters over the course of multiple books. Plus, I understand from authors who still write historical romance that the genre's list of do's and don't is far, far more restrictive than it ever was (they always say to me, "How did you ever get away with the things you did?). So I guess the answer is that as long as the genre is headed in its current direction, I could never write in it. That said, I really, really enjoyed writing the romance that is an important part of WHY KINGS CONFESS.

Lesley asked, Have you considered writing another Jax and Tobie book?

I found being contracted to write two books a year very difficult, and when my mother started failing and we moved her in with us, it became impossible. I didn't exactly decide not to write another Jax and Tobie book--I had lots of ideas for future stories. But I finished that contract first and decided to focus on the Sebastian series since I was still under contract for more of those books. Then the Sebastian series started doing much better, and I wasn't happy with the way the Jax and Tobie series was being published, and after my mother died my grief provoked a serious period of writers' block. The thing about the publishing industry is that you can't let a series slide; after a certain amount of time goes past, publishers think readers have forgotten and so they don't want another. At this point, probably the only way I could ever get them to consider another Jax and Tobie book would be if Hollywood made a movie out of one of the earlier books.

I doubt I'd ever want to be contracted to write two books a year again. But I do think it's important for me to occasionally write something different in between the Sebastian books because I believe an author needs the challenge of stretching and trying new things to stay fresh. So, ideally, I'd like to write other books but not under contract and--full confession here--I did just that last year. I wrote a mainstream historical set in the American Civil War about what happens to the women of a small Southern town when a thirteen-year-old girl kills the soldier raping her mother. The book has received lots of praise from most of the editors who read it, but the topic is touchy and no one seems to know how to market it, so I haven't sold it to anyone. Writing it was not a logical or wise decision--I knew the subject and setting would make it difficult to sell. But I can't regret doing it; it was a magical experience, and I think it grew me as a writer.

The above photo of is of the climbing rose that grows up in my lemon tree. My roses are covered with buds and my lemons and oranges are almost ripe, so I really, really hope this nasty weather headed our way doesn't bring us a freeze.


Anonymous said...

**With your Civil War novel, why not self publish it on Amazon? Readers know a lot more than the publishing industry. The "suits" only look at the bottom line, readers read all the lines.

LOgalinOR said...

Thank you so much for answering my question. I think that most of us do not realize how much pressure and sway the publishers have in the industry. It's sad to see the restrictions they put on authors, that can decrease/alter the whole creativity/plot process. "Bloody hell!" as Sebastian would say. So you're saying I'll (just) have to content myself with rereading (which I have & enjoy doing) September Moon, Beyond Sunrise, Midnight Confessions, Night in Eden (and the others). Highly recommend to all your readers. Any chance of getting all those books (some are) on Kindle? Already intrigued about the book you wrote last year, set in the Civil War era-totally agree with Anonymous.
On second thought, the net result of all this, is the great success of your Sebastian series, which we all know and love......sigh. PS-we'll keep our fingers crossed that the deep freeze does not hit NO, as the picture of your roses and lemons look delectable and vulnerable, indeed.

lmhess said...

Candy, your insites on writing are quite interesting. Since following your blog (as well as a couple of other favorites) I've really gained a greater appreciation for writers and their thought processes - please keep sharing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Faster, faster, faster seems to be publishing's mantra these days.

JustWingingIt said...

That's interesting insight into the publishing world. I had never really thought about who or what drives the trends we (as readers) see on the store shelves. I'm not much a straight romance reader though I love romance elements in the books I read, be they urban fantasy or historical mysteries. A strong plot with a healthy side dish of romance is the perfect mix for me. And on that note, I am very much looking forward to the next Sebastian book. :)

cs harris said...

Anon, that is one option, but unfortunately literary books don't sell well in e-only format--unlike erotica!

LOgalinOR, yes, the realities of the publishing industry can have an enormous impact on what an author writes and how they write it. I am currently squabbling with Random House in an effort to get the rights back to the rest of my romances. Legally, they should let them go, but I've been at this for YEARS.

Imhess, thanks.

Charles, yes, and the result is inferiro books. Quality takes time.

JustWingingIt, yes, I need a strong plot with romance, too, and get impatient/bored with stories that are virtually all romance and sex with just a little plot tacked on. But I know a lot of readers prefer that mix.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. I just happened to notice one of the new covers is showing up in Amazon. It is for What Angels Fear. I tried to click on it to get a better look, but then the old cover (one of my personal favorites) actually still pops up. I think I like it, but am torn as I loved the old one so. This Sebastian's profile is much more in line with my imagination. Did the rest of the covers get redone yet as well? Or just this one? Sabena

Anonymous said...

c-well at the risk of repeating everything that LOgalinOR said I guess I will just keep re-reading September Moon, Beyond Sunrise, Midnight Confessions, Night in Eden,etc. I certainly enjoy doing it! And I also wish you had the freedom to write as you desire. but I'm SO happy to have the Sebastian series to look forward to that I will not complain. loved your rose picture. I saved it on my desktop. hope all is well in kittyland too! and happy thanksgiving!!
best -ali

cs harris said...

Sabena, I had no idea it was up! I thought they were waiting until next February to use it in a promotion for the new release. I like the design of the cover but must admit I don't like the face of the model they used. The original ANGELS cover was always one of my favorites and I was unhappy they wanted to change that one (I would dearly, dearly love to get rid of the What Remains of Heaven cover), but they said the accounts are more likely to agree to promotions if there is something new. So why is it up now?!

Ali, thanks. And Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

Anonymous said...

Yeah - the face looks a little harsh/unhappy, but it is thinner than the one on Kings, which is why it may be more in line with the picture in my head. I think it is up by mistake, because when you click on it to see the details or make it bigger, the old cover comes up. Forgot to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to you and all your blog readers. Cuddles to your kittens/cats. Sabena