Who is your publisher?
BearCat Press published Floats the Dark Shadow. Tess Collins is a writer who had a lot of frustrations with the industry and decided to reprint her books and start her own publishing company. The books she’s chosen are all good. My novel won some Indie awards. One of her books and a short story collection she published were up for ForeWord awards. BearCat is still very small, but she’s hoping to make a success of it. She’s a smart business woman, and very ethical, so I’m hoping the second book will be with BearCat too.
Publishing horror story?
Well, mine aren’t horrific compared to some I’ve heard, but certainly horrifically frustrating. When I wrote romance, my books were bought twice by editors who loved that they were different and wanted to make me a star. Three months later they’d be gone and I’d have four more editors, bing bam bim, ending up with someone from Harlequin who’d want something light and breezy and would just want me to disappear.
My second romance will be republished with the title I wanted, just Marian, since she’s very much the center of it, caught between Robin and Guy of Guisbourne. That was rejected at the time. I thought A Vigilant Heart would be fine, what with “Heart” prominent in the title, but someone didn’t know what vigilant meant and someone else thought it sounded like a mystery. So that got tossed. My Marian’s very tough, a warrior, and they kept insisting on titles that focused on Robin, or were too sweet or wimpy. I was spared Thief of My Heart, but forced to compromise with The Thief’s Mistress. It’s not a bad romance title, but it doesn’t do anything to conjure my book, it’s very swashbuckling. In my mind, it has lots of petticoats. Maybe Gypsies. Not Robin—he’s so much more than just a “thief.”
Who designed your book ?
It’s collaborative. Beth Tashery Shannon designs the layout for the interior and exterior of BearCat’s books, and also works independently at her own site of Frogtownbookmaker.com. One of the great things about working with BearCat was being able to realize my books almost exactly as I’d pictured it. Early on I discovered the perfect images for the front and back covers, and I found the Art Nouveau title font I wanted and used it in my book trailer. This was when I was still thinking I’d try the traditional publishing route, and doubted the finished book would match my ideas. But BearCat was fine with using what I wanted. We even have an original font for the text, designed by the talented Juan Casco. I don’t know if he’d ever want the hassle of doing a text font again, but he loves doing display fonts for covers.
How did you find your cover?
I happened on Michel Colson’s photograph by chance, just browsing the internet, probably searching for pictures of Montmartre. It was almost exactly what I envisioned, though nothing I could draw or paint myself, since I can’t do realistic architectural drawings. I thought it would be too expensive, so I didn’t ask about it, but then I couldn’t find anything that didn’t look too modern.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
There are wonderful organizations for most every genre. Sisters in Crime, and its sub-group, the Guppies (a play on the Great Unpublished, though many are published and stay in the group because it’s chatty and fun and supportive). Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America. Recently, there was a blow-up in the fantasy and Sci Fi community over on-going sexism, so perhaps it’s not so true there, though there must be a women’s support group as well. There are sub-groups in almost all the on-line media sources like Facebook and Linked In, which have talk focused on craft. So there’s an amazing network available. I’m also a member of the very supportive Historical Novelists Society
There’s an endless supply of advice, much of it really good, but there’s always bad advice too, so you always have to develop your own critical faculties and question and test what you read. There are endless “rules.” Just hearing the word makes me bristle.
Young American painter Theodora Faraday struggles to become an artist in Belle Époque Paris. She’s tasted the champagne of success, illustrating poems for the Revenants, a group of poets led by her adored cousin, Averill. When children she knows vanish mysteriously, Theo confronts Inspecteur Michel Devaux who suspects the Revenants are involved. Theo refuses to believe the killer could be a friend—could be the man she loves. Classic detection and occult revelation lead Michel and Theo through the dark underbelly of Paris, from catacombs to asylums, to the obscene ritual of a Black Mass. Following the maze of clues they discover the murderer believes he is the reincarnation of the most evil serial killer in the history of France—Gilles de Rais. Once Joan of Arc’s lieutenant, after her death he plunged into an orgy of evil. The Church burned him at the stake for heresy, sorcery, and the depraved murder of hundreds of peasant children. Whether deranged mind or demonic passion incite him, the killer must be found before he strikes again.
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Genre – Historical Mystery
Rating – R