I’m delighted to welcome Nancy Jardine, fellow Crooked Cat author to my blog. Her wonderful mystery novel ‘Topaz Eyes’ is also nominated for The People’s Book Prize. There is still time to vote for that and my ‘Myopia’. Please click on the book covers below to vote for those. Then after Nancy’s guest blog you’ll find links to Nancy’s various websites and books. Pick up a copy of ‘After Whorl: Bran Reborn’.
You might wonder at my topic, today, since Jeff and I have something writerly in common just now- that of wondering how to encourage as many people as possible to vote for our novels in our different sections of THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014. Like Jeff, I’m hoping for a fantastically positive result and have already put in motion the strategies I can think of to encourage votes to be placed. I’m regularly trying to remind people to support both Crooked Cat Publishing and myself, and will continue through to the end of February. Beyond that, I must wait nail-bitingly patiently. However, till the results come through, other writing work is equally demanding of my time.
Those First Edits by Nancy Jardine
Doing the task of First Edits is one that lots of authors seem to hate, and work at with gritted teeth – specifically that of returned First Edits from the editor of their publishing house. I don’t hate edits; in fact, I’m anal enough to almost enjoy them. I tackle them with relish for a number of reasons.
By the time I’m getting back my First Edits, from my assigned editor, I’m champing at the bit to have the novel ‘done and dusted’, having tried very hard to submit a very ‘clean’ manuscript at the initial stage. That can’t be different from most authors, but I can only relate how the process affects me. I’m blessed (can one be un-blessed?) with a very poor retentive memory. That means if someone asks me what the manuscript is about during the time between submitting and those First Edits, I really struggle to remember the nitty-gritty of what I’ve written. The gist will be there, but there’s no way I could verbatim-quote any of my phrases, or paragraphs. However, when I begin my First Edits it’s almost a revelation to me. It’s a personal epiphany in places where I read and wonder who my other self is because I think – was that really me who wrote that? Sometimes this has meant some doubt during past edits but, generally speaking, I’m re-energised about the novel.
Apart from nit-picking during those First Edits, to ensure that the manuscript is as perfect as possible, I’m thinking ahead to other things like – what might my cover be like; what about my book trailer images; in fact, what else do I have to do just now? I’m going to be finalising that short blurb, a tag line and maybe even a ‘longer blurb’ and will be making notes as I go through the returned edits. The dedication and acknowledgements need to confirmed, as does any other information which might accompany the novel – like the explanatory maps, or diagrams, that I’ve already made for submission along with the manuscript. Since this is my seventh novel, I like to think I’ve learned a bit along the way and try to avoid early pitfalls that were made. Nothing different there from anyone else, but it’s being at that ‘forward stage of production’ that’s so exciting!
This week I’ve been doing those First Edits to After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour series of historical romantic adventures, published by Crooked Cat Publishing. The name you see above was renegotiated after submission and may yet be subject to changes- though I’m hoping what you read above is the final one. The ‘After Whorl’ part will remain, since Book 3 is essentially the continuation of the story of Bran of Witton, spy extraordinaire for the Brigante Celts of northern Britain in AD 71 – Bran who is also known formerly as Brennus of Garrigill in Book 1, ‘The Beltane Choice’. Book 3, however, is also the continuation of the story of Ineda of Marske who appears in Book 2, and how she and Bran re-interact. Are you all following? I tend to like my characters so much they just won’t go away and are reappearing as their ‘whole’ Celtic tribal story continues.
As I do these First Edits, I’m able to visualise better how my characters from these first three books of the series will appear, yet again, in subsequent books. I can also check that my historical facts – as known – will suit the timeline for future action as I write new work.
That’s not a glib statement, since history is rewriting itself all the time, especially with regard to my area of focus which is northern Britain during the period AD 71 – AD 84 (the date extending with every new novel in the series). There will be new excavations and exploratory work done during 2014 to the areas of north-east Scotland covered in my novels. Investigation of the Gask Ridge series of Roman forts has been ongoing for at least a decade, but there is to be a specific new exploration at an area not far from Stracathro on the A90 trunk road – a part of the landscape, which is mentioned in After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks. An as-yet-uncovered Roman fort is sought, since at least one fort is believed to ‘be missing’ from the line which stretches from roughly the Stirling area to a little south of Aberdeen. What they find in 2014 may mean what I’ve written is ‘just not quite right’ any more.
For anyone who already knows some details about this era of Roman Britain, this is the point where Roman historian – Tacitus – fails me, and my imagination kicks in good style. However, it has to be said, that Tacitus is taken with a pinch of salt anyway since his anecdotal information does not match with fairly recent archaeological evidence. I’m, naturally, hoping that my ideas aren’t way off beam in comparison to any new evidence theories which might be postulated after the new archaeological work undertaken in 2014. I know it shouldn’t matter since I’m a writer of fiction, but I really like to be as accurate in my depictions as I possibly can – another of those obsessive things about me!
My First Editing processes will be to ensure a perfect manuscript, since my readers deserve the very best from me; even if the prices charged for the ebook/print versions are relatively cheap. I’m invigorated just writing this guest post so… off I go to ‘dust off’ those First Edits and hope I don’t have much to do after that!
How do you feel about those First Edits? Like them, or loathe them? I’d love to know.
My thanks to Jeff for inviting me today; it’s been lovely coming to witter on about my preoccupation this week.
After Whorl: Bran Reborn is available from Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1bNcpNk
After Whorl: Bran Reborn book trailer video URL