Do you prefer a puzzle at the outset...
What kind of mystery do you prefer--the kind that presents a puzzle from the outset, or one that reveals the puzzle during the investigation? Let me know!
Check out my post on this topic over at A Bloody Good Read!
Some exciting news... A Murder at Rosamund's Gate is available for pre-order at Amazon and eventually where all books are sold.
Mark your calendars...the book will be released April 16, 2013.
All-knowing Amazon also informs me of the specs:
The biggest secret I ever kept from my husband was that I was writing a novel. We've been together close to 15 years and I'm sure from time to time I'd murmur something about 'having done some writing today' but I never talked much about the content.
I guess at some point he knew I was working on a mystery of sorts, and maybe that it was set in seventeenth-century England, but really, that was about it, until a few years ago when I began to write in earnest.
I didn't set out to keep my novel-writing a secret. The truth is, I wasn't writing every day (I do have two young children and well, a whole other career), but I also didn't view myself as a writer, let alone as an author. Sure, I "author" academic publications, but to call myself a "writer" felt somehow pretentious, even precious.
I also felt that if I talked about my story, I would somehow lose it, that it would slip into the ether. And I still feel that way! (Case in point: my husband has now read the second book in the series, From the Charred Remains--the only person who's done so-- but he's yet to read the entire other novel I wrote while A Murder at Rosamund's Gate was out on submission to agents).
So when I was writing Rosamund's Gate, I never really knew any other writers...or so I thought. I wasn't taking writing classes; I'd never participated in a critique group; and I hadn't yet encountered the vibrant online writing community that I now know about.
So I've been pleased and surprised to discover, when I finally started telling people that I had written a book, how many other people were thinking about--or were actively engaged in--writing novels too. Childhood friends, neighbors, family members, colleagues, parents of my kids' friends, random acquaintances at the coffee shop--sometimes I wonder who's NOT writing a book.
So what's YOUR book about? And I'm just so curious--what stage are you at? Brainstorming, dreaming, plotting, most of a draft done...or even further? I'd love to know!
The other day, I experienced one of my odder moments as a writer. When I came home from work, I found a much anticipated package containing the page proofs for A Murder at Rosamund's Gate (that's not the odd part, that's the extremely thrilling part).
the inside cover page
At this point, I can only make very minor edits. A word here and there, typos, minor grammatical changes--that's about it. The book is nearly ready--all 340 pages of it. A heady and strange mixture of emotions regularly accompany this realization.
But the odd thing? Later that same evening, I happened to be poking through some old files and I came across the very first handwritten draft of this novel, which I began in 2003. All scratched up, full of non sequiturs and dangling thoughts, somehow this mess became an actual novel. Holding that handwritten draft alongside my proofs was definitely a surreal moment, and it was hard not to compare the original version with the final.
To be sure, some things were different. My heroine was originally named Abigail, although somewhere along the way, she became Lucy. Another main character saw his name changed several times too, from Thornton to William to Adam. I also had a prologue then (which I've since eliminated, as I've mentioned before), and even more interestingly--I had an entirely different adversary than the one who crept into the pages later. In fact, the main crime was different, although I had written emphatic notes to myself--'Must take place during seventeenth-century plague and Great Fire of London.' So the setting never changed, nor did my original inspiration.
The book took me ten years to write. Honestly, I never thought when I began this story that I would even finish it, let alone that it would be out in the world. But the proof, I guess, is in the proofs.
I can't tell you how excited I am to see the cover of my first novel!!!
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate.
I think the artists at Minotaur captured the essence of my story beautifully.
The opening (and closing) images of my novel are of Lucy standing at a door.
There are some other clues about the story tucked away here, but you'll have to read the book to discover them for yourselves!!!
(1675) Wing / 1298:09
Oh Ale-Wife! Oh, Coffee-Man! Can't we all get along? I promise, I'll divide my time among your fine establishments!
I'll be taking a short break from writing my blog for a while, well, to get some writing done. I'm about halfway finished my copy edits for A Murder at Rosamund's Gate. I'll also be working on the second draft of From the Charred Remains soon, gnashing my teeth over the feedback from my alpha reader.
In the mean time, I'll leave you to contemplate how the ale-wife and coffee-man, long embroiled in cantankerous railing (stealing each others' customers!), came to enter a "friendly consultation." The ale-wife promised that "any person being reelingly drunk may be entertained in a coffee-house to make himself sober..." (Essentially, she promised to get her customers as drunk as possible and send them over to the Coffee-House, to improve the coffee man's coffee sales.)
Similarly, the Coffee-Man agreed to send any of his customers who were tired of "superior speech" and "prittle prattle" over to the Ale-House. This way, they could get on with the business of "honest drinking." See, everyone wins!
All this to say, if you need me, I'll be at the coffee house. Or at a tavern. Or on a seventeenth-century walkabout. (Okay, maybe grading papers. Maybe doing my day job.) Certainly writing. But I won't be on my blog. At least, not for a few weeks. Cheers!
Yes, it's true! We've changed the title of my first novel to....
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate
My original title, Monster at the Gate, was deemed by the good people at Minotaur/St. Martin's to sound a little too harsh, a little too supernatural--and more importantly--a little too different in style from the type of book I had actually written.
I get that, actually. In one of my first blog posts, I talked about how the word "monster" was understood in seventeenth-century England, back when it didn't carry the supernatural "Frankenstein's Creature" connotation that it does today.
But you know what? I love my new title. I think it captures the essence of my book better than the first title did. And hopefully, you'll see why, when my book comes out in early 2013.
For now, you might imagine strolling through the beautiful garden pictured above. Birds, trees, seventeenth-century stonework...and oh no! a body...
Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.