Why did I co-author a Historical Adventure novel as my first published novel? I’m insane, okay, only a little. All the tests aren’t back. Those that really know me know how close to true those previous sentences are.
After I read The Blue Diamond: The Razor’s Edge by PS Bartlett, she and I began to talk a lot about writing and book promotion. In my opinion her book was not receiving the push it deserved, but not every book does. The idea for a sequel came up and then prequel’s to generate more interest for The Blue Diamond, a fantastic book or I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now. There was one character we decided needed his own story before the sequel, and he would be great for me to write.
The Blue Diamond and the prequels are classified as historical romances. I’m not a historical romance writer. Romance-yes. Historical-yes. Put the two together—not so much. That made this the perfect vehicle for me. There was no reason for Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling to be a romance. My strengths are history, research, and relationships.
I have a degree from the University of Georgia in history education; have been writing for a couple decades, so the only thing that was a difficult for me here was the names of the specific parts of the ships of the era. That’s where Bartlett came through and did a great job. She’s written several books now with the ship lingo in them, so she knows what they’re about, and now I know more for the future when I write a planned trilogy of my own. Yes, I’ve caught the bug.
Historical plays to my strengths. I love to do the research and finding those little details that send you off on a two or three hour reading journey that may never end up in a book but you learn so much to add to the storytelling you can provide.
One big reason I wrote this book is that I wanted the experience of the book process—from beginning to end, and how it all works, how to get it to where it needed to go to, including all the goods, the bad and the ugly pains. With Bartlett, I knew that this being a book that would help promote her series, she would make sure it made it all the way through to the end. She also knew another big reason I wanted to have a book published was so my son could see his father’s name on a book, not just any book, a good book, or as Bartlett says, a great book.
I’ve written several books myself and I could put them on Amazon—do whatever, but I want to try the traditional route, as we all probably do once before we end up publishing our babies we love without anyone changing them. This time around taught me a lot I need to know for the future.
On LitWorldInterviews.com, we all give some sort of advice in the writing, publishing, or reviewing areas. Most of my advice is about how to write, how to do technical setups for blogs and social media and things of that nature. Going through this … this writing process, publishing it, everything, there’s a different viewpoint of it all. My area of advice has expanded. I never thought it was going to be easy, but I do think that I see it as not the nightmare we all think about, and that coming from someone who did not have a 100% fun time.
Getting the book to publishing is a lot more difficult than some people may think. Why? Because those that think it’s easy skip the needed steps. I emphasize the word needed. The one thing I believe people need to pay attention to is putting out quality. We could’ve had this out at Christmas, but our purpose was quality.
As some may know, I review many books for my LitWorldInterviews.com site and it’s easy to tell the books thrown out there to sink or swim from the ones given the right care. I don’t give seaweed covered books good ratings. The story idea may be great, but when punctuation and grammar problems take me out of the story, there’s a problem. I didn’t want that with this book, neither did Bartlett, by the way Bartlett is what I call PS Bartlett, it’s just how I refer to her.
I wrote my initial final draft of the book about a year ago and handed it off to Bartlett. Once she made it through some of the prequel projects, she worked on putting her touches and story ideas in place that would help with future books she has planned. Then we had some beta readers go through and give suggestions. Once all those came in, we discussed it, or maybe fought, made some adjustments, and then off it went to a professional editor.
Once the edits came back, Bartlett updated with needed changes and then back to the editor. After Bartlett received the new edits, she went through the book three times, as she always does, and then passed it to me and I went through it looking for typos, continuity, and things like that. Since I wrote the original story, any kind of problems would jump out at me, and I had the freshest set of eyes.
In all honesty, it wasn’t as fun as you might think. Nothing that turns into a job can be 100% enjoyable at all times. Writing — loved it. New drafts — loved it. Editing, the going back and forth between two authors, the give-and-take on your creations, your ideas and things you put your heart into — that can be a painful experience.
I’m honest with you when I say Bartlett and I… we really had some tough times. Some were due to me, some due to her and some due to misunderstandings since we dealt with emails rather than actually speaking. It’s possible they were all due to that last reason. Now we are at a good place, everything is fine again. We came back to where we were to begin with because we are both professional and had the same goal.
Entering into a book project in the right frame of mind, with the right level of expectations, and with the right goals set, I think anyone can have a good experience with it.
This book is a story of a man on a mission, a crusade, who sees it through to the finish and you find out what happens in the end as far as the mission and Gabriel Wallace. He doesn’t end the book the way he entered.
This book Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling is a historical adventure that allowed me to use my research discoveries. Gabriel becomes a pirate during the book after having been a captain in the Royal Navy, but he’s a pirate by situation. You get the adventure but not so much the swashbuckling ‘argh’ stereotype thing. Bartlett’s solo ventures are not as typical of swashbuckling pirate books either. Neither of us likes blending in.
Gabriel Wallace, a captain of the Royal Navy in 1705 has been court-martialed. The court-martial is an unusual situation that has more going on behind it than one realizes at first. (There may be a bonus story coming at some point to explain it all in the near future. I have it started.) Even if you don’t catch hints in the beginning and along the way as to all of the reasons for Wallace’s mission, it doesn’t take away from the book itself. The hints are little morsels a reader enjoys at the end, by realizing “oh, that was why…” Wallace wants the destruction of Adm. Chambers and his circle of friends, of business associates. Members of the Royal Navy call Adm. Chambers the Chambers of Hell because he fits the name.
Wallace travels to Colonial Boston with a character from Ivory Shepards future, to the Caribbean—where he meets a legendary pirate who gives him a nickname that lasts, the Spanish Main where anything can happen, and then we see what happens to the man known as Gabriel Wallace.
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