I’m always in the garden when the pages arrive hence the floral décor! This is the first time I’ve seen the manuscript soon to become a real book, the last step before the novel goes to print. I carefully read through all 377 pages to make sure there are no flaws, nothing that is out of place, to the best of my ability. And I am over the moonbow delighted that Revell added the river scene to the title page and before each chapter!

By this stage, a lot of editing and grooming have gone on within the story. It takes me a year to research and write a novel now. Once I submit it, my head editor reads it. This time, she asked if I would consider changing the heroine’s name which I gladly did. I wasn’t quite sure Paisley suited her, even if our heroine hails from Paisley, Scotland. At this point the working title was changed too, from the very plain The Spinster Swan to the very fitting An Uncommon Woman.

Next my copy editors and proofreaders have their day/say. I’m very grateful for this stage as it gives me time apart from the manuscript to ponder the story. Distance is a great friend! I also take advantage of several months away to ask two savvy first readers to take a hard look at the story and what works and doesn’t work for them. This nets a much improved novel!

And so here we have the pages. This is the hardest part for me as an author. Months of intense work of bringing you the best story I can is done and now I’m reading for only typos, no other changes. Yet, I still see things I wish I could change. A little more suspense here, a little more romance there. But word counts are word counts and THE END must come.

I do love this particular story because it springs from a lifelong fascination with Indian captivity narratives and the very strong women who stood their ground on the frontier, come what may. West Virginia makes an incredibly picturesque, historic setting and I’ve included a great deal of that region’s pioneer history within the novel.

On January 7th you’ll meet our uncommon woman of a heroine and clan. She even has five rascally brothers:) And there’s our hero. Sigh. Enough said. He’s as earthy and heroic as his name. Here’s the novel’s first line which was rewritten a few times and moved around till I got it just where I wanted it…

 

Why could she not quit pondering that flounced petticoat?