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WINTERBOURNE is the book that almost never was. Back when I was taking my first steps toward becoming a published author, I was interested mostly in writing Regency romance, but was having little success. An agent advised me to give writing historical romance a try instead.
So I dove in headfirst, ignoring all warnings that medieval novels were not selling well at the time, and no one would ever want to read a book with a crippled heroine. I was already too caught up with the story of Jaufre de Macy, my embittered Dark Knight without Mercy and his gentle lady Melyssan. The tale was set against the backdrop of the last turbulent years of the reign of King John who became the villain of the piece.
I loved the challenge of weaving actual historical events with the lives of my characters. However, I faced a far greater challenge when I had to write my first passionate love scene, a difficult feat for the prim and proper Miss Carroll, I assure you. A devoted fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, the most seductive moment I had ever had to deal with was a stolen kiss.
I remember begging fellow writers, "Can I please just have the candle gutter and go out?" No, came the ruthless reply. I would force myself to write a little more, then plead again, "Now? Now can the candle go out?" No!
Somehow I muddled through the love scenes and the rest of the book. Just as I had been warned, the book received multiple rejections. However, that first sale came at last and I was ecstatic, only to face further heartbreak. The publisher who had bought the book went bankrupt, and WINTERBOURNE seemed destined to languish in my bottom drawer.
Then an editor at Fawcett Books remembered seeing the manuscript on its initial showing and asked to see it again. Fawcett bought the novel about the same time they also purchased my first Regency.
As a first time author, my sales were modest, but I was thrilled when WINTERBOURNE became both a finalist in the Romance Writers of America contest, and was awarded Best Medieval Romance by a New Author from Romantic Times in 1988.
Nearly 20 books later, that seems like a very long time ago. But I have been both surprised and gratified when readers have come to me over the years to tell me how much they enjoyed WINTERBOURNE, and that they still remember my Dark Knight and his lady as if they were old friends.
After the success of my first hardcover last May, The Bride Finder, I was excited when Fawcett told me of their plans to reprint WINTERBOURNE, and with a beautiful new cover. I hope my fans—both old and new—will be as delighted with the new edition as I am.
Speaking of The Bride Finder…for all those who have been asking, yes, the saga of the St. Leger family will continue. Ballantine will release THE NIGHT DRIFTER, the story of Anatole and Madelines oldest son Lance, who possesses a supernatural power even stranger than that of his father. Look for the release of THE NIGHT DRIFTER next May.
I love to hear from readers. Please write to me at 1994 1st St., Suite 123, Moline, IL 61265.
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