Message From The Author
Night in Eden
It's not often a first novel is met with the kind of fanfare currently surrounding the release of new author Candice Proctor's Night in Eden. But if Ballantine has anything to do with it, that's all going to change! With the release of Night In Eden (October '97), the publishing house has launched "Pillow Talk," an aggressive program for creating word-of-mouth and grassroots support for a book-particularly one by a first-time author-before it even goes on sale. Ballantine hopes to make "PIllow Talk" an integral part of their romance authors' futures.
"New talent is the absolute lifeblood of the publishing industry," says Carolyn Nichols, Vice President and Publishing Director of Romance at Ballantine. "We must develop mechanisms to help people get off to a wonderful start. I'm hoping that 'Pillow Talk' will be one of our main devices for making that happen."
The first beneficiary of this program-in fact the woman who inspired it-is Candice Proctor. When the Australian-based author's Night in Eden arrived on the desk of senior editor Shauna Summers, it already came highly recommended. Proctor had gained representation from Helen Breitweiser of the William Morris Agency and Catherine Coulter had already given the book a strong endorsement. Likewise, the first-time author's sister, author Penelope Williamson, had already proven that the gene pool was to be taken seriously. Summers loved the book, passed it along to Nichols, who likewise swooned, and a sale followed soon after.
The crew at Ballantine were so struck by this book, and so determined that it should get the exposure it deserved, that they put their heads together and launched "Pillow Talk." So began an all-stops campaign to get the word out. NIght in Eden galleys were sent to 400 booksellers, many of whom read the novel and agreed to help sell the book. Then, teaser chapters were sent to over 7,000 romance fans, one chapter each month for three months leading up to publication. Response to the campaign has been overwhelming and, as Nichols puts it, "We're getting the best kind of hate mail any publisher could ask for. People are writing to us saying, 'I didn't know your company was in the business of torture' and 'You must be a very cruel group of people not to send me the entire book!'" When Night in Eden hits the shelves October 7, readers and booksellers alike will be ready for it, and many will be turning right to chapter 4 [where the previews left off] breathlessly.
There, they'll find the tale of Bryony Wentworth. Her life is shattered when she is unjustly accused of manslaughter and sentenced to indentured servitude in New South Wales. Broken in body but not in spirit, she fights for hope and for her life, wanting no part of the man who would save her. But the mother in her cannot turn away from Hayden's needy infant, and the woman in her cannot deny her passion for the rugged, enigmatic man she's bound to serve. Set against the sweeping panorama of a harsh, gorgeous, unforgiving land, two hungry souls learn to trust, to love and to triumph over the danger that shadows their lives.
As wonderful as it sounds, some will want to know what is it about NIght in Eden that inspired such overwhelming support for this new author who might have been left to fend for herself like so many other fledgling writers? "It's uncommon to have a first novel where the writing and the voice are so strong," says Summers, "I also felt Night in Eden was different-it's set in Australia and the heroine is an indentured servant,
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