Monday, February 07, 2011
From the Regency battlefields to your ereader
The Lady Soldier is about to be released on Valentine's Day (14th Feb) as an ebook by Embrace Books and is one of their debut titles. It's a romance but its also full of adventure.
First published in 2005 in hardback by Robert Hale, The Lady Soldier was the first of my novels I ever saw in print. The thrill of holding your first book in your hands never leaves you, and it was the more pleasurable knowing that what had started out as a "fun" project had finally seen publication. I'm a huge fan of adventure fiction and it started as a question "why do the men get all the fun?". The only solution to this seemed to be to place a woman in a man's world and so the idea of Jemima (Jem) Riseley, a woman in disguise in Wellington's army, was born.
I wrote The Lady Solider jointly with Michelle Styles. Both of us were keen writers of historical romance and we had met on an internet board and were both seeking publication. We swapped manuscripts to try and help each other improve. Once you've written a novel manuscript, and then revised it, you send out sample chapters and from those sample chapters publishers then say whether they would like to see the whole thing. We were both thrilled when we had requests from publishers to see whole manuscripts of ours, but then the wait to see whether or not they would make an offer to publish was like watching paint dry. So we started working a project together: the story that became The Lady Soldier. As Michelle lived in the North East of England, and I near London, we used email to send the manuscript-in-progress backwards and forwards. It was great fun. When it was my turn to write I'd be trying to think what twists I could add to surprise Michelle when it was her turn to work on the manuscript next. After six weeks we had a first draft: so it can be pretty quick co-writing a novel. We then had to revise and then it was time to send our baby out into the world. In the meantime good news on our own projects had come back. Michelle had an offer from Mills and Boon and I from DC Thomson. We had some interest in The Lady Soldier but it took about three months before we at last received an offer of publication. We took the pen-name Jennifer Lindsay, but the e-edition of The Lady Soldier restores our own names to a newly designed cover and also some "lost scenes" - additional material that wasn't included in the original edition. Roll on Valentine's Day.