Thursday, November 17, 2005
Three years ago about this time of year I'd just been reading about a lady who got away with being in the Russian cavalry disguised as a man for ten years (1806-1816) - Nadezhda Durova. Hers is an amazing story of determination and courage and it got me thinking about whether there had ever been a lady soldier in the British Army in Regency times... and the idea for a novel was born.
I was an unpublished writer but I'd come to the end of a novel which had some interest from a publisher. I'd really raced to get it done, dusted and sent off, and I wanted a break. My critique partner, Michelle Styles, was in the same boat, and, partly for fun, we thought we'd try out writing a story together. I suggested 'the lady soldier'.
Writing The Lady Soldier was fun. Michelle sketched out a plot but we changed and developed much along the way (to surprise each other I think). It was finished in early in 2003, and then followed six months of doing the rounds with the script among publishers and agents. There was some intertest, which kept our spirits up, but we got many rejections before Robert Hale finally picked it off the slush pile. We chose the pen name 'Jennifer Lindsay' as Jennifer is my middle name, and Lindsay is Michelle's.
It was published in May this year in hardcover in the UK and in August in US/Canada. It's been my first book in print and every time I hear that someone has read it and enjoyed it I get such a thrill to think that a story I've co-written has captured other people's imaginations and given them pleasure. Especially when men read it and love it! Just as soldiering should not be left to the boys to have all the fun, historical romance is not just for girls!