When your editor asks …

Some of you will know that I’ve written a fourth novel – working title Acts of Rebellion – set in 1870s Paris. It was an incredible experience researching that period of time in French history and I know I’ve shared various photos and other bits here and on social media. However, as it turns out, my publisher wasn’t keen on a novel set in that time period and so the work I did for most of a year is sitting on the shelf (a digital shelf, that is) while my agent decides on next steps. A few tears have been shed.

But as the song says … pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

In the months that followed I developed an idea for another novel, this one contemporary and set in Hong Kong. My editor thought that might work but after seeing the synopsis, recommended that I weave a dual timeline into the story in order to maintain a historical flavour.

Hmmm. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. And not exactly a straightforward request either.

Fortunately, I’d written something in the first few chapters of this Hong Kong novel that sparked an idea.

“A few drops of white blood entered the family when her great-grandfather had an affair with the wife of a British official and, to avoid a scandal that would have ruined the woman, raised the baby as his.”

And now, I’ve just completed a draft outline of a new dual-timeline story. Amazing what one sentence can spark.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

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The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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16 Responses

  1. Although I clicked “like” in support of your work, I am sorry to hear that your Belle Epoque novel is shelved for now. I hope not forever. It seems inexplicable to me. Perhaps you know the reason for your editor’s preferring against this time period but if you feel strongly that it would yield good fruits, I hope you persist to harvest it later.

    1. Thanks, Lucy. My agent is sending it out to other publishing houses so I have my fingers crossed that it will find a home. Ultimately, I’ll self-publish if I need to. Lake Union told me the story is good and my writing is also good – they were hesitant on popularity of the time period. A business decision on what books will deliver the necessary profitability. I appreciate the tradeoffs they’re working with. Hopefully another publisher will feel otherwise. 1870 Paris is an intriguing time of great upheaval.

  2. I was really looking forward to reading your novel on the French Commune – I hope you find a get to get it published!

  3. totally insane that a publisher would determine what period is good or not. Well, if they knew French history, they would know how important that period was. And I would gladly read a book set then, especially as there aren’t many

    1. Many thanks, Emma! Truly appreciate your support and interest. Hopefully it will find a home with another publisher. In the meantime, I’m enjoying being in Hong Kong both present day and past 🙂 It brings back lots of memories from when we lived there.

  4. Disheartening that your French novel is stalled for the moment but no doubt it will find its place in time. Well done on responding so positively to your publisher’s suggestion. Both books sound really interesting. I admire your ability to move to a completely different setting and time period.

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