November 26, 2013: The car’s in drive and the book’s on the shelves!

I’ve been a bit of a wreck all week knowing that Alias Thomas Bennet was to go on sale any day now. It really wasn’t warranted, but I think it’s traditional.

You see, the people at Meryton Press are so fantastic there was little to worry about, even if I’m a control freak and agonized over the times I had to stop and wait and let them do their jobs.

I had a lot of interaction when it came to editing and layout with Gail Warner and Ellen Pickels, as well as incorporating Janet Taylor’s ability to interpret and enhance my vision of the cover. My opinions were taken very seriously, and I think the only place I grumbled was when I wanted to keep a double negative (Austen used them, you know!) and Gail said she drew the line there! I’ve been told by other authors that I’m lucky I was allowed to be so involved with the process, since most publishers pretty much leave the writer out of the loop. Instead I came away from it with some new friends.

Then there are the invisible people like Zorylee Diaz-Lupitou and Michele Reed who work the marketing and production and strategy and who knows what else. It all happened with selective input by me, which felt strange because usually I’m the one in charge and on top of every detail. But being new to this, I had no clue what the details entailed, and thank goodness someone else was there to handle them.

I was cared for. That’s really a lovely feeling. I got to be the author. The one who was being helped, being pleased. Peel me a grape.

The silly thing is that my mind was dwelling on things like “Should I use a different picture on Amazon?” “What if there’s a problem getting the book on the market?” (Don’t go there, Suzan, even if a self-published friend had a few issues last week!) “Should I have cut ‘those’ scenes so I wouldn’t have to blush when my mom reads it?” and “How many copies do I need to give away to family and friends?” because “What if no one likes it?”

And there lies the classic author’s insecurity.

But see, I like it. That’s the thing. I’m very pleased with a plot that was supposed to be a rather simple “what-if” and turned into something I’ve been told over and over again is extremely unique. I love my new characters, and especially how they pushed their way into importance in the lives of the Bennets. I think I succeeded in the way I used the traditional characters from Pride and Prejudice and changed their actions because of their circumstances but stuck with the base personalities that Austen created for them. And I’m proud of how I put the words and scenes together to create something new and decidedly different.

When I look back and see all I learned as a writer through working with the betas for the original series on A Happy Assembly, and then with Gail on the book, I’m grateful that I had that chance to grow and to make Alias Thomas Bennet the kind of book I’m proud to share with the world. I get to go forward with more confidence and skill as I return to work on my next novel.

And while I’m writing that next book, my readers are getting to find out what’s behind that cover and blurb, like:

“What’s with the boat? Is it coming or going?”

“Who are these people?”
(A good guess is that it’s Jane, Elizabeth, and their father.)

“What is little Jane looking at?”

“Where is this quay that they are standing on, and why are they there?”

“What is the significance of the house on the back cover?”
(Which again a good guess would say is Longbourn.)

“If Jane and Elizabeth are really young, how much of the traditional time period of Pride and Prejudice will we see?”
(The main story is played parallel to canon in 1811-1812, with a few short flashbacks.)

“So if this story is about Mr. Bennet, what about Darcy and Elizabeth?”
(Don’t worry, it’s still all about Darcy and Elizabeth; in fact, our favourite couple’s slightly simpler romance makes for some prime snogging, and there’s a particularly steamy carriage scene!)

“So what is this mystery about the Bennets being recognized and Darcy being important to it all?”
(Okay, I started this post off okay but then got into the habit answering the questions a bit too easily. You’ll have to read the book for this one!)

Heh heh heh.

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Let me know what you think!

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