Journeys Beyond Pemberley has taken the first steps toward book shelves near you come September of 2009, and naturally I will be sharing the process with all of you! A most joyous early Christmas present arrived from my fabulous editor Deb Werksman on the 22 nd – an email, quoted here:
Hi Sharon, I’ve just finished reading Journeys Beyond Pemberley, and I must congratulate you! Brava! Your readers are going to absolutely LOVE this book! It really flows, and I love how you used their traveling and other occasionsas a way to introduce some really interesting history (LOVED the birthday cake and the 23 presents!). I have just a few queries. Thank you! And, again, congratulations!
She proceeded to list a mere 14 items out of a 400 page, over 163,000 word manuscript! Most of them were words or phrases that she felt too modern or anachronistic – easy to change. Only a handful required me looking something up, more for my own curiosity than because it was a big deal. And only one question obligated me to rewrite a small section – ONLY ONE! You just cannot imagine how happy I am! We spoke on the phone two days before Christmas, and her praise for the novel was effusive. I was almost embarrassed! But primarily extremely satisfied to have professional validation added to the wonderful praise from my readers.
So, here are the more interesting tidbits she questioned –
1) “Parked” as in a carriage with horses. Easy to change to ‘waiting’ or some such, but of course I was curious! Carriages are referred to as vehicles, so would it be proper to say it is parked? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary as early as 1693 the term applied to arranging military vehicles in a park, but not until 1844 was it recorded as putting a vehicle in a certain place. Since carriages were the prime vehicles at that time, I suppose they can be ‘parked’ – but whether anyone would say this in the Regency, who knows?
2) The idea of a Gentlemen’s Club outside of London was raised for Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. I searched high and low, but could find nothing that spoke of exclusive clubs in the mold of White’s and Boodle’s outside of Town. Nor could I find anything that said they did not exist in smaller communities! But to err on the side of caution, the clubs of Lambton and Meryton were eliminated. Instead I went with what we know to be historically accurate, and that is that menfolk gathered at pubs and coffeehouses for their various intellectual and manly pursuits. Therefore, the billiards tournament that Darcy plays in has simply been relocated without changing the event itself.
3) “Kid” as in a euphemism for child. Again, according to the OED: “Kid as the extended meaning of child first recorded as slang in 1599, established in informal usage by 1840s.” All other references I use verified these dates. So I suppose it is one of those terms that is kind of on the fence, dates-wise.
4) “Spelunking” as in cave exploring did not exist as a word until 1940! Major bummer! You know how I adore cool words, and that one is cool. But, alas, it had to go. Just the word, not the Pemberley cave itself or the exploring and history.
5) It was decided to change the title of the medical book that Darcy and Lizzy rely upon for her pregnancy. Deb felt it should be something more medical and period sounding. After searching through a number of websites with old medical textbooks, including the Mayo Clinic and Yale University libraries, I came up with 2 options: “A Compendium of Obstetrics and Gynecology” or “The Compleat Cyclopaedia of Midwifery and Reproduction” – both seem good to me!
Now the Journeys Beyond Pemberley manuscript is on its way to the copyeditor. She will focus on general grammar and language issues, but may notice additional oddities that I need to address. Anything particularly fun, interesting, or stupid on my part will be confessed to and shared. I promise! Oh, apparently I have a tendency to overuse the word ‘literally’ *blush* I literally did not realize this! LOL! Deb has caught them for me and deleted, but I do want to apologize for those of you who have previously been driven to annoyance by my bad-literary habit. Live and learn!