Once upon a time, there was an author who wrote a book about a chef who played a prince on TV, but in real life, he really was a prince. He fell in lust with a blue-haired hairdresser, and after a tumultuous dating experience, they fell in love.
That could be any romance, right?
Probably. Most romances, mine included, fall under the Jane Austen rule of thinking. “Boy meets Girl. Boy loses Girl. Boy gets Girl back.”
The Reluctant Prince was special, because he was a modern prince. And what woman hasn’t fantasized about meeting her perfect man, and to find out he is a prince too? Sounds like a double winner.
It was my second release with Samhain Publishing. Slated to release in June of 2010. I had published Fantasy Girl already with my editor at the time, and it was a joyous experience. I expected this one to be the same.
It should have been a sign.
Looking back on it now, a distance of 8 years, and almost 2 dozen books under my belt, I see the chaos that was there. Everything with that book was chaos.
- Editing — We were literally editing the book on the fly, 6 weeks before release. Not to mention, arguing over a lot of the creative choices I’d made in the story–like how characters behaved, vernacular, and whether certain scenes should be added or removed.
- It was such a mess, it made my husband hate whenever I got a book back for edits for years, because I became so upset. I was too green of an author to realize how badly my book was being handled, or I would have done something at the time.
- The ebook release — While we had promos, blogs and such for the ebook release (at the time, Samhain did not do print until a year after release), it did alright, but everything, and I mean everything, would get screwed up.
- One example? A radio interview, to talk about my book, when I got there, all the reviewer wanted to talk about was the latest news and current events.
- I can’t totally complain, it did sell very well, once we got it out there — and I am sure it was because my cover was so distinct and sexy. The artist had done a great job on it at the time.
- The print release — Mind you, a year later. Still chaos. A final read-through before print? I sent them literally pages of typos that had to be fixed before it went to print. Pages. I am not kidding. I think the formatters must have hated me.
- Book signings didn’t get my book in, and I had the greatest promo opp possible — Kate and William’s wedding was like a week before the print book released. And it did nothing for me.
I could go on and on, but I swear, you’d think I was making it up, all the strange stuff that happened.
So when I got the opportunity to get the book back, I knew it needed a LOT of TLC, and it would take me a while to release it again.
It needed to be set in Barrum, with the rest of my contemporary romances. It obviously needed a proper re-edit. It was also extremely long, over 100K words. That needed to be cut back as much as possible. Threads that took away from the main characters, Hadrian and Sydney were cut. Complications that really didn’t add much to the story were removed. New scenes were written, to bring together certain elements.
A lot was changed.
But a lot remained. I didn’t change much of how Hadrian and Sydney interacted, the spark that made their story special seemed to glow even brighter as I adjusted this and that.
I recently went to dinner with my two best girlfriends, and I was telling them about what I had been doing, and they asked me the difference. How I could tell the first version was so badly edited, and needed to be updated.
I had to think on how to explain it to them.
It was like looking into a dirty mirror verses a clean one. The dirty one will still show your reflection, but the clean one shows you all of your reflection.
The Reluctant Prince is much shinier now. Much prettier.
I hope you’ll check it out, and enjoy it. 🙂