Writing in the time of COVID19.
If you have visited this site in the last seven years, you know it has lain dormant. The impetuous for refreshing it echoes what I wrote almost twenty years ago when it first launched. I finally found a publisher.
The pandemic is the cause of it all. In February 2020 I became seriously concerned about the spreading virus. At 86 and with an underlying condition if knew I was vulnerable and began to make preparations to isolate. By the first of March I was in a self-lockdown. By the end of the month, I knew if I isolated with only television to watch I would surely go mad.
On my computer were the beginnings of a couple of novels, nothing serious, I thought, just a couple of romances I had fun fooling with while writing what I considered “serious” women’s fiction. If you have read my books you know the first one deals with addiction, the second with abortion and the short stories with all sorts of issues of interpersonal relationships. The romance was just fun and a perfect distraction.
For the next months I was completely absorbed in pulling this work together. Research had never been my strong suit, but I became fascinated with the years 1813-14, the British Regency period of Jane Austen. I loved her books and often read romances by Georgette Heyer and other writers who also liked the period. The research became as fascinating as the writing. A helpful seller of maps sent me the facsimilie of an 1813 map of London which kept me out of a lot of trouble laying the scenes for the book. In addition, I discovered the voluminous works of Harriet Martineau, one of those unsung women of accomplishment of her era. She is known as “the mother of social science.” I was so impressed by the lady she appears in the sequel in a cameo role.
Sequel? Yes. By August both books were written. The more exciting news was, though a friend of my daughter-in-law I discovered a wonderful editor, Caroline Hedges, who was just beginning her editing business in the United States. Moving from England, she arrived about the time to shut down for the virus. She was a jewel in getting the manuscript ready to submit to publishers. To my astonishment I got an acceptance from Decadence publishing. It publishes a wide range of romantic fiction. (Check out their website. You will be greeted by lots of male eye candy!)
In addition, they sent the manuscript to Laura Gardiner who has been wonderful to work with on improving my style, catching those annoying writer’s “tics” that the author never sees, which the reader will surely spot.
Friends and family have been wonderfully supportive. Michael O’Connor with Williams and Connolly and the son of a close friend went over the contract with me. My grand-daughter-in-law is setting me up on Instagram, redoing my Facebook author page and Twitter account. My sons have been cheering me on, more than amused at their superannuated mother writing a steamy historical romance. I told the publisher they could market me as the oldest living romance writer.
All this is background. I’m starting up the old blogs on the website because I believe, when the book is out, you will fall in love with the characters as I did, and if the pandemic still has you at home, I hope it lightens your hours.