Good day, my bookish people. I’m always amazed by what authors go through to get a book published. As readers, we have a tendency to think it’s simply a matter of the author coming up with a good story, sitting down to write it, turning it in for publication, and voila a published book. Author Shelly Frome has taken time out of his busy schedule to stop by and provide us with a little more insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Thank you, Mr. Frome, for stopping by and visiting with us today.
The Editor, the Market, and the Writer
by Shelly Frome
From what I’ve discovered, once a publisher of cozies thinks your manuscript has potential, you’ve only passed the first hurdle. You’re then assigned a development editor to make sure the storyline is fresh and marketable.
Fresh meaning not at all the same old, same old, like a Miss Marple, with its sedentary armchair detective, homey setting, and unpleasant victims, thus leaving the reader free to focus on the puzzle. But as a writer, words like fresh are a result like scintillating or provocative. And have nothing to do with the basic quest or whatever set the writer off in the first place.
There was a noted creative writing instructor at a Midwest college who advised his charges not to write. If the moment ever arises that you can’t take it anymore, he said, when some basic assumption has been threatened or some unsolved mystery involving disparate forces is haunting you, then you have the springboard. You’re ready to start on a venture with the potential to sustain you and keep readers engaged as well.
By the same token, you can’t follow the narrative structure of some other author, even if you find yourself more or less in the same bailiwick and your counterpart is highly successful.
For example, take bestselling author Louise Penny’s Still Life. Her story starts off with the demise of Miss Jane Neal, a seventy-six-year-old spinster, walking in the woods by the remote village of Three Pines on the Quebec border. The tale immediately pulls back as we get to know Miss Jane’s special world, meet her neighbors and become acquainted with her relationships. Moreover, a flashback takes us to a confrontation over her “Still Life” painting.
In other words, as my assigned Australian editor insisted, you can’t just get on with it. The circumstances surrounding my rambling tour guide’s venture in “the secluded village” had to be established. The demise of Emily’s beloved mentor and father figure was fine as a catalyst, but what’s the underpinning? Where are we? What is Emily’s Connecticut village like? How does she feel about the three eccentrics she’s slated to guide across the pond now that her life has been turned topsy-turvy?
And here we have the crux of the problem. How does the writer want to tell the story? How will potential readers take the dynamics, rhythm and flow? How vital is the writer’s sensibility and style?
Admittedly there are no easy answers. But it does remind me of a touchstone a working novelist used to share. He claimed there were three basic needs. Survival, to love and be loved in return, and the irrepressible urge to rewrite someone else’s story.
The Secluded Village Murders
on Tour November 1-15, 2018
For tour guide Emily Ryder, the turning point came on that fatal early morning when her beloved mentor met an untimely death. It’s labeled as an accident and Trooper Dave Roberts is more interested in Emily than in any suspicions over Chris Cooper’s death. For Emily, if Chris hadn’t been the Village Planner and the only man standing in the way of the development of an apartment and entertainment complex in their quaint village of Lydfield, Connecticut, she might have believed it was an accident, but too many pieces didn’t fit.
As Emily heads across the pond for a prescheduled tour of Lydfield’s sister village, Lydfield-in-the-Moor, she discovers that the murderer may be closer than she thought.
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: September 1st 2018
Number of Pages: 339
ISBN: 1945448202 (ISBN13: 9781945448201)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, and Murder Run. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2018, and runs through November 16, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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