Friday, October 9, 2015

Revising a Favorite Book for a Favorite Person

Good authors are known for polishing and polishing their writing before ushering it into the world. But times change, and careers advance, and sometimes a book gets left behind. Such was the case with Secrets and Sensibilities, the first book in my Regency romance mystery series, the Lady Emily Capers. So I rewrote it. Why?

Well, you see, S&S has a special place in my heart. It is actually the third Regency romance I ever had published. Originally titled A Dangerous Dalliance, it hit the shelves in the spring of 1999 through Kensington’s Regency line. Back then, I had a tendency to write my friends into stories, and my heroine Hannah Alexander was no exception. Hannah is based on one of my dearest friends. Her name was Nancy Robak. We met in high school, both transplants to the Tacoma area, and bonded instantly over a shared infatuation with the actor Roddy McDowall. Like Hannah, Nancy was an artist, only she preferred the expression of anime-style charcoal drawings before anime was truly “cool.” Her creativity inspired me, and she honored me with her friendship.

Unlike Hannah, Nancy didn’t get a happy ending. She never met her David (who was based on Brent Spiner, the talented actor who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, another shared infatuation, as was Hugh Jackman). She saw only minimal return on her talent. She contracted lung cancer, though she had never smoked, and passed away many years ago now. But a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of her. 

I originally wrote S&S with sections from the point of view of the villain. I thought that upped the stakes by making the reader aware of things the hero and heroine didn’t know.  But that pattern doesn’t match what I did with the other Lady Emily stories, and I felt as if the villain was actually upstaging Hannah and David’s story. So I cut out those pieces, found other ways to incorporate the necessary information, and added depth here and there. The result is a tighter love story, and a slightly more entertaining mystery.

I think Nancy would be pleased. She loved happy endings.

To celebrate the rebirth of Secrets and Sensibilities, I’ve dropped the price to 99 cents through October 24. Enjoy!


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