Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Answering AMAM (Ask Me Anything Monday): Sequels, Editorial Changes, and E-books

So, chugging right along on my answers....

Becca asked, "Do you plan to re-publish your romance novels? Maybe as ebook?

Yes! I've finally, finally, finally managed to officially wrest the rights back from my original publisher and I've started the process. I'm both excited and a bit intimidated, since self publishing is new territory for me and I'm rapidly approaching the deadline for my next Sebastian book. I'll be doing Midnight Confessions first because it was essentially a historical mystery in romance clothing, and I'm hoping I can use it to draw new readers to the Sebastian series. Next will be Beyond Sunrise. I've already sent both books off to be scanned, and the very talented designer who does my website is creating the covers (deciding what sort of images to use and defining a look that could be used to brand and draw all seven very different books together was hard!) . Then the scans will need to be edited, and the books formatted, and the cover copy written, and a good friend of mine has volunteered to help me actually put them up. Once I do the first two, I'll move on to the next two until I eventually get them all up, along with a contemporary romantic suspense that was never published and that I'm really excited to be getting out there.

Becca also asked: "Is there something you changed in a novel (a name, a story arc, a location, a person's appearance) because you and your editor thought it best but now you truly regret it?"

I was forced to make a huge change to the ending of my first historical romance, Night in Eden. I rewrote the end of that sucker THREE TIMES, but they kept kicking it back. Finally, I was so desperate I just sent a wall of water crashing down to end it all. And even though it's a historically accurate wall of water that really did happen, it's still the ultimate deus ex machina ending, and I've always hated it. But they were fine with it! Also, in Midnight Confessions, at the last minute they decided the heroine's surname was too long for the cover copy (yes, really) and made me change it. They gave me something like an hour to come up with a new name. Character names are hugely important to me and I can spend months agonizing over them. I hated the change, it was traumatic, and I'm seriously thinking about changing her name back when I self-publish the ebook. I could go on and on. I've been forced to change book titles many times and I'm rarely happy with the result. And my editor made me change Kat's age at the time of her first love affair with Sebastian. She said that while it would have been seen as normal at the time, it might offend some modern sensibilities. The problem with that is I later forgot we'd made the change and slipped back into using the original age.

Susan J asked: "You mentioned something about writing a novel set in modern times about Sebastian's and was it Jamie Knox's descendants? Would it be set in England or America?"

Writers are always spinning ideas in their heads, and I should probably know better than to mumble about some of my flights of fantasy in the comments section! But since I did, I actually have two ideas. One is a historical set in the 1840s in the Middle East or Colonial Africa with a certain young viscount named Simon and a beautiful, independent-minded woman whose mother was, ahem, a famous actress in her youth. I'd love to write that book, but I doubt I'll ever get the chance because it wouldn't be very commercially successful. The other idea I have been kicking around for several years is for a contemporary mystery series set here in New Orleans. After what happened to Jamie in Who Buries the Dead, I consoled myself by toying with the idea of making that protagonist his descendant. I may still do that. This book is far more likely to be written--as in, I'm actively plotting it. The problem is finding the time to write it....


JustWingingIt said...

I'd love to read about a grown-up Simon though I'm less enthused at the notion of him being romantically involved with Kat's daughter. While I know that Sebastian and Kat are not biologically related that seems too "in the family" for my tastes. I'd rather Simon expand his horizons beyond his father's family/friend circles. If you had to go that route though, a daughter of Gibson would be cute.

I think reading about Jamie's descendant is an interesting idea as well. Why do you think these would not be commercially successful?


Becca said...

Thanks for answering my question.

Your romance novels and maybe an unpublished novel as ebooks? This is great news and I'm really looking forward to it (finally getting the chance to read two of your older books I was unable to get). I'm also quite intriged by your other ideas.

Regarding the changes in your books: Some of the reasons for the changes are absolutely ridiculous. It also shows what they think of the readers. Why try to be overly pc if it's not good for the story or inacurate for the times the story is set in? It's sad and I dislike that very much because I think that readers do often sense things the writer was not happy about during the writing/editing process for there is a disruption in the writer's "voice".

BTW I think I found the book you talked about before you deleted the post and I ordered the english edition straight away. But when it was delivered the cover looked familiar. After a quick look at my unread bookshelf I found that I already bought the translated (into my language) edition two months ago. Well, I guess that book wanted to be read by me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow - I go on vacation and miss so much. I'm looking forward to getting all the other Romance books for my kindle and now I'm really curious about the original ending for Night in Eden. I LOVE that book. And I like the ending so not sure what was wrong for you.

Also - I remember that Why Mermaids Sing was the first Sebastian book I ever read and I was crazy about Hero from the beginning and hoped like mad that they would become a couple. When she turns up pregnant - I was like woohoo! Now they have to get married.

On another note my cat Pumpkin used sit in my bathroom sink all the time. Wet or dry - she was odd but very cute! Best, Ali

cs harris said...

Veronica, I guess I'm drawn to the idea of Hendon's descendants inheriting his title, even if he isn't around to know it. And I do the contemporary mystery idea is commercially viable; it's the historical that wouldn't be.

Becca, I talked to Penny today and told her about you!

Ali, it was the solution coming from outside by an act of God that bothered me. I honestly can't even remember now what the other endings were. I think I have them in a box around here somewhere. Pumpkin is a cute name for an orange cat! I think maybe the cats like lying in sinks because they''re cool?

Suzanne said...

Wow, so much to look forward to. I am interested to know why the contemporary mystery would be commercially viable but the historical wouldn't.

Charles Gramlich said...

That sounds very exciting.

cs harris said...

Suzanne, There is unfortunately a limit on the number of people who like to read historical mysteries (and that number seems to be creeping downwards all the time; the something happened to historical romances). So a contemporary series starts out with a definite advantage and has a much better potential to hit the big time. My editor (well, my former editor since she's now been replaced) expressed interest in my starting another historical series when I start nearing the end of the Sebastian series, but I'll probably do a contemporary instead because I know they sell better. Sigh.

JustWingingIt said...

That's a shame about the historical mysteries trend. I prefer them to contemporary mysteries myself (though if you write one I will give it a shot). I just started the Charles Lenox series and there are two brand new historical mysteries that debuted their first books recently that I've already purchased and am planning to read soon. Funny thing is though that I've seen authors in the Urban Fantasy and Steampunk genres say the say thing about readership numbers. Well, we all have to be reading something so everyone's numbers can't be going down! lol

I thought that too, about how your idea about Simon and Kat's daughter would bring Hendon's biological descendants back to the title and it makes sense. But it also seems like Sebastian's and Kat's thwarted love affair is a mistake that needs to be corrected through their kids. Or perhaps I'm just overthinking it. :-)


JustWingingIt said...

Oh, and if you're still taking questions I thought of another one. Will Hero and Amanda ever meet? I would so love to see Hero give that nasty woman a verbal slap down. I would find that most satisfying.


Anonymous said...

candy - thanks- I can see what you mean. I might have preferred a duel or something more confrontational I guess. But I remember worrying when I first read the book would the little girl (whose name escapes me) ever come to love Hayden. so in that way the i loved the end. its still my most favorite. and pumpkin was more brown than orange but I got her on Halloween! hence pumpkin. and she was very clingy and hated when i left her. in the mornings she would sit in sink and watch me put on makeup for work. brushing my teeth was a chore.
:-) Ali

Susan J. said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question about the possible modern novel. If it involved plenty of going back in time as the descendants researched or something, I would be interested in reading it. I'm still hoping for that transatlantic romance to be it though! I do love that theme, such as in films like 'A Matter of Life and Death' and 'Yanks'. I suppose I never got over stories of gum chewing American soldiers and airman over here during World War II, jitterbugging to Glenn Miller music with the English girls! My mother was one of them!
Disappointed about the demise of historical novels, I'm glad there are still plenty left to buy in the second hand market. Mary Balogh seems to be still bringing out at least two a year, so somebody must still be buying them though. I just read her next in the Survivors series.

cs harris said...

Veronica, I prefer them, too. And I've heard Urban Fantasy is finally losing steam. It's had quite a long run--nearly twenty years, which is amazing for something I though was a passing fad! But I didn't know Steampunk was also slipping. I wonder what people are reading? Contemporary mysteries and thrillers? Sigh. They all seem so similar to me. And it actually never occurred to me that I haven't shown Amanda and Hero together yet. Hmm...

Ali, poor Pumpkin; she sounds like a sweetheart. At the moment my daughter's cats are very, very clingy (I guess I didn't mention she's in Ireland and I'm cat sitting).

Susan, yes, I always loved the transatlantic WWII tales, too. And they are still publishing historicals; they just aren't very popular any more. At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I think it's probably because so little history is taught today.

Suzanne said...

It is really disappointing if that is happening to historical novels. There are some very good historical mystery series out there, but nowhere near enough to keep me going for the whole year. I have started reading several relatively new ones this year(they started after 2012) and as far as I am concerned there is always plenty of room for more.

I suspect what is really happening is that more and more people aren't reading at all. I used to work in a department full of young women who had never willing read a book in their lives and they thought I was very strange because I read. I can understand their hating the books they were forced to read for school, I did too, but it put them off books for life, which is really sad.

Lynne said...

The demise of historical novels and mysteries really breaks my heart as I do love my history as a backdrop. Much of contemporary fiction is just so much sludge and not very well written either. Suzanne's comment about so many non-readers is spot on, Candy. I carried a book to work with me everyday and have to admit most people that I worked with thought I was crazy. Gossiping on their phones seemed to be more fascinating. But I know that lots of people still read historical mysteries like yours because the request line-up at the library is always long. For the books that I don't buy, I put my name in several months in advance to be sure I get it fist. So the market is still there and I hope that you and others will continue in this vein.

cs harris said...

Suzanne, it is sad the way people have lost the habit of reading. I saw that recently when I underwent physical therapy for an injured leg. In all the months I was there, I was the only person who brought a book, despite the fact that it involved lengthy heat and cold treatments. Everyone else just stared into space.

Lynne, that's encouraging about the library requests!

Susan J. said...

How depressing to see all the comments about people not reading, I can quite believe it though, I watch a quiz show called 'Eggheads' and whenever the subject 'Arts and Books' comes up, there are groans from the various guest teams, even though most of them have usually had a so called university education. I couldn't live with out books, I live to read.
Your comment about history not being taught nowadays was so true also; I believe this is a deliberate policy to keep people ignorant. When I was about fifteen I learnt at school about the Enclosure Acts (which you mention in one of your interviews) as well as child labour, the Chartists, the Corn Laws, the Poor Law etc and to be frank it made me a lifelong believer in Socialist values. I would never, ever vote Tory. Even though I can't help liking the Duke of Wellington, I hate his Tory politics. The Peterloo massacre in 1819, in fields just outside Manchester, where working people who went to attend a peaceful meeting were mowed down by the local Militia soldiers with sabres, was a disgrace and every British schoolchild should be forced to read Shelley's poem 'The Mask of Anarchy', in which he denounces the shame of it.

Susan J. said...

I meant 'Masque of Anarchy'!

Lynne said...

Susan, your "Eggheads" sounds like our "Jeopardy", a trivia quiz show. I'm always appalled at the questions people cannot answer and, like you, believe that it's directly related to a lack of interest in reading. People also don't try to exercise their memories so don't absorb much information or retain it. Truly a shame since my favorite line is "So many books, so little time!".

Susan J. said...

Lynne: Yes your 'Jeopardy' does sound a bit like 'Eggheads'. On Eggheads there is a resident team of professional quizzers who are mostly middle aged, although have recently been joined by a younger woman. Each week they come up against a guest team who have to try to beat the resident team to win £1000 and if the guest team loses the money rolls over. There are three possible answers given, so sometimes they can get the correct answer by guessing. Sometimes the guesses they make are hilarious, like one week they asked which battle ended Saxon rule in this country and it gave a choice of the Battle of Hastings and two other battles from other eras. I kid you not that the idiot actually had to think about it before, thankfully, opting for the Battle of Hastings! Probably the most famous battle in British history and he had to think about it! The cameras switched to the resident team and the look on their faces spoke volumes!

Lynne said...

Susan - believe it or not the very same question was on Jeopardy a few nights ago. The contestants were all teachers and no one got the answer! I couldn't decide whether to laugh hysterically or scream. How funny!!

Susan J. said...

Lynne: At least they had the excuse of being American, it's not their history after all, but to be British and not know the answer is terrible. I felt so ashamed. I watched a programme on TV about two young actors looking for the roots of Shakespeare some time ago and it was awful because they went to America and more people there could quote from Shakespeare than they found in Britain! How terribly sad.

cs harris said...

Susan and Lynne, I recently saw where a startling percentage of Americans didn't know if Mexico is to our north or to the south. You can't make this stuff up.

Susan J. said...

How amazing, I would have thought the climate would have given them a clue!

Lynne said...

Candy, you could have gone all day and not told me that. I am just horrified some days at the things people don't know. One of my favorite things used to be Jay Leno's segment on the Tonight Show where he would ask people on the street in LA simple questions. The level of knowledge was not very complementary to the average American. I never know whether to laugh or cry.

And yes, Susan, you would think the climate would be the clue. Sigh...

cs harris said...

Susan, clueless?

Susan J. said...

Clueless, yes! Very good!

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