January of 2010 is when the third book in The Darcy Saga series will debut. I know, I know…. that is AGES from now. Not! In the world of publishing things must be planned waaaaayyyyy in advance. That is why Deb was so anxious to lock me in on further books right now. But I shall talk more on the future in a bit.
First, let me tell you where we are with The Darcys at Year’s End.
When I met with Deb in February, her goal was to talk seriously about the Saga. Rain and craziness prevented the deep discussion I might have liked, but we covered a number of topics. The big one was how to handle Year’s End. Keep in mind that at this point Deb had just finished reading Loving Mr. Darcy and had not even glanced at Year’s End! Yet, she was content that it was filled with worthy material. Her only concern was how MUCH material! I’ll try to put it into perspective: The average romance, pocketbook-sized novel is anywhere from 80,000-100,000 words on average. Historical literature novels – my category – are generally larger, so I am good as far as that goes. Mr. and Mrs. FD is ~118,000 words and Loving Mr. Darcy is ~165,000! Far bigger than the normal romance, as you can see, but fine for a historical, although Loving is stretching the limit a tad. The Darcys at Year’s End, as I had self-published, is over 200,000 words. Say it – Wooza! This is getting into the realm of epic Tolstoy, ya know!
The bottom line is that Deb felt that it needed to be streamlined in some way to make the finished novel more manageable. And also not so daunting to potential buyers who may hesitate to pay the higher price for a huge novel. I completely agreed. My choice was to either cut parts out OR split it up. I opted for the latter, which made Deb very happy because she did not want to see any of my writing lost. In truth, there is nothing I would want cut from the book. Of course I am a bit prejudiced! But I honestly feel as if the story, as told, flows well and is complete. Considering I had already written nearly 145,000 words of what I was calling “Darcy 4” you can see that I have a LOT of story!
So, without giving too much of the story away to those who have not read the POD version, after careful deliberation I concluded The Darcys at Year’s End shortly after the birth of the Darcy firstborn. Roughly one-third of the book was set aside to be the beginning of Darcy 4. The decision was based on a logical halting point that brought the main theme of this novel – i.e. the birth of the baby and the conclusion of one year of marriage – to a satisfying wrap up. The original title (and I am happy to say it will not be changed) reflected both the end of one year of marriage and the chronological year. By taking away the events surrounding Christmas I have changed the duel conceptualization of the title, but it still works. Cool!
Once I made that decision I had a deadline of March 31 to get it together in manuscript form and back to my editor. Now you know another reason why I felt overwhelmed during those months! Of course, writing is the best part of being a novelist, so it was great. I started at the very beginning and went line by line to find any errors and edit/add as I wanted. Then I set to the task of rearranging portions from the later chapters that needed to be in this book. This got tricky at times, keeping the timeline intact and rewriting some parts to fit better, but it came out really nice. Once I did that I discovered I had a novel that was now around 125,000 words. This gave me some room to play! I allowed creativity to flow and wrote entirely new chapters and passages here and there, all designed to add a bit more depth to the tale and delve into some areas that were in my heart. Bearing in mind that all the edits are not done, click HERE for a tasty sample of new stuff.
I ended up with a novel roughly 135,000 words. Nice size. Off it went to my editor, who greeted it with enthusiasm and by mid-April had finished reading and editing. Her words: “congratulations once again on a wonderful book!” and then she went on to list all the stuff she loved! Edit-wise I had a few odd words or phrases to change, but only 3 areas that needed minor rewrites. Mainly that had to do with clarifying historical facts. It took me only a few days and has now gone on to the copyeditor. Naturally she will point out more things to look into or rethink, as well as correcting any grammar issues. I expect that back by the end of May, give or take. Whew!
That is the big news on The Darcys at Year’s End. The design team at Sourcebooks is looking into finding a better painting for the cover. We all agree that a painting reflective of autumn or winter would be more appropriate. Unfortunately they are having a difficult time finding a winter scene that is not overly gloomy. I suggested a seascape as the first portion of the novel takes place in Norfolk on the shores of the North Sea. I have faith that something better will be found, but as I have said, I do not HATE the cover as is. I just feel it is not as properly thematic for a novel that takes place entirely at, say it…. Year’s End! LOL! However, due to time issues, the cover as it is will be appearing in the Sourcebooks catalog for buyers and in other marketing venues. I’ll keep you posted.
I refuse to go to Amazon – am forbidden, in fact, by my editor! – due to the nastiness that abounds there and Amazon’s disregard for rules of decency that ignores bad language and personal assaults. One “reviewer” said my editor should be shot! That is just wrong and should not be allowed, IMO. I only bring up Amazon, hesitantly, because right now it is the only place where both Loving Mr. Darcy and The Darcys at Year’s End can be pre-ordered. Barnes & Noble has Loving Mr. Darcy listed, so I would recommend going there. Naturally I will keep you informed as other marketplaces begin listing my novel for advance sale, placing links as I find them on the Purchasing the Novels page.
OK, I think that covers where we are right now. Lots still to come with The Darcys at Year’s End. I am already anticipating a hectic year’s end for me with two novels releasing 4 months apart! But at least I now have a better idea of what to expect. Next up, an update on the Darcy Saga future!