My latest completed novel sees me travel into the world of Jane Austen or 1814 to be exact. Stepping into this world felt like a relief to me in some ways. I believe that from the first moments I turned the pages of Pride & Prejudice at the age of fourteen, I fell in love with all that was Regency. After reading as much of Jane Austen as I could get my hands on in that year, I found myself re-reading her novels on occasion over the years. Perhaps I knew, that one day I would write a novel set in Regency England.
I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get here but after years of trying to ignore the story I truly wanted to write – if nothing else but for my teenage self – I found that, come last August, my mind would settle on nothing else. I completed the first draft of Lady Beth Goldsworthy in a shockingly short two months. Before you all roll your eyes, let me just say that although I can occasionally work fast, this was most definitely the quickest my fingers had typed in a long, long time. To give you an idea, my last novel took almost four years from the first shady paragraphs to the finished product.
I think the first draft of Lady Beth took so little time to write simply because the idea had been bubbling away in the recesses of the brain for so long, ignored but developing all the same. When it came down to it, the protagonist’s voice was so strikingly clear in my head that it was all I could do to shut her up. It was a fresh burst of imagination that took me away from the seriousness of my adult novels and into the youthful rush of teen romance and nostalgia, and I loved every minute of it.
Here is a wee blurb to whet your appetite:
To the outside world Beth Goldsworthy has it all; a huge house, designer shoes, all the clothes a sixteen-year-old girl could want. But in a year that will all end if her parents have their way. They think it will be character building for Beth to step into the world unaided financially. But Beth has no desire to free herself of the comfort and trappings of wealth. What’s wrong with having others make your decisions and spending your life in luxury? It suits her just fine. Or it does until an ancient clock transports her to Regency England and into the world of the annoyingly arrogant but equally handsome Earl of Mendhip Heights.
Suddenly Beth’s life feels tighter than her corset and she finds herself drawing on all of her modern day skills just to survive the gauntlet of Bath’s social circuit and avoid falling for the yummy Earl in the process.
The completed novel was something that I was proud of, if only because I felt that I had been true to the story and to myself as a writer. I do not think I compromised on the authorial tone, the narrative standpoint or the pace and rhythm of the dialogue that was spoken at the time but (there is always a but) I am told that the young adult readership of today are not very interested in time-travel/historical novels. Sigh.
After going through a gauntlet myself – that of the submission process – I have been fortunate to have some high praise of Lady Beth. Some agents loved it but felt they could not take it on as they thought it impossible in the current market to sell such a genre to an editor. Cue many, many tears from me. Apparently, the teen of today is all about dystopian (although I hear the market for that is almost saturated) futures and gritty contemporary wrist-slitting characters in pain. And not historical romantic adventures that border on comic.
But I can’t agree. I know that the teen of today enjoys a gritty story, I did too when I was one but I also enjoyed lighter reading. I enjoyed romance, I enjoyed horror, mystery, literary and contemporary hard-hitting novels. A person is allowed to have varied tastes in literature, are they not? So I am venturing out to find these readers on my own. I hope you will join me.
My goal is to publish Lady Beth Goldsworthy in December 2014, possibly on Jane Austen’s birthday, the 16th (date to be confirmed). My aim is to take you, my readers, through the self-publishing process. It might be trial and error in some departments as I am still learning but I hope to share each success and error with you. I’ll be publishing Lady Beth under the pseudonym: Olivia Bright.
Deciding to use a pseudonym is tough choice nowadays but I feel it’s the right thing to do as I plan to continue to write for adults, I am already working on a children’s novel and I feel in my bones that I have not heard the last of Lady Beth Goldsworthy. So for ease of differentiation I believe it wise to use a pseudonym for my YA/teen & children’s novels.
So please join me on my journey through the publishing process as an independent author and maybe with a little help from friends Lady Beth can find her readers.