Your book. And for me, that's the best thing about an ARC: seeing your manuscript in book form--bound, formatted, and blurbed--for the first time. The realization of your dream, the fruit of your labors, the successful culmination of a year-long (or so) journey. Not even the discovery of minor errata--and let's face it, there's probably no such thing as a perfect ARC, so thank the publishing gods for giving you one more chance to tweak things with galleys and page proofs!--can dim the excitement or the sense of achievement in that moment.
All of which is my long-winded way of announcing that the ARCs for my October release, A Song at Twilight, are finally here! I was especially eager to see this one in printed form. Some books are crystal-clear in your mind from the word "go," flowing effortlessly from your fingers, making you eager to get up every morning and race to the computer, one hundred percent sure of your vocation and your ability to Get Things Done.
A Song at Twilight . . . was not one of those books. More like pushing Sisyphus's boulder uphill--at least for the first third of the way. I sweated, I cursed, I snarled at the screen, most notably during the pivotal "first kiss" chapter that I had to rewrite three times because the set-up repeatedly failed to jell. I berated my characters, especially my exasperatingly secretive and taciturn hero. I looked from my computer screen to my wall calendar, calculated the time remaining on my deadline, and despaired. And kept on pushing until the boulder finally reached the top of the mountain--and suddenly, obligingly, rolled down the other side the way it was supposed to!
And in spite of or perhaps even because of all the difficulties, I came to love A Song at Twilight fiercely. Sometimes, it's your "problem children" who make you the proudest. And this is the book I took more risks with, at first because I did not want it to resemble my first book, Waltz with a Stranger, too closely. And then because the dramatic possibilities associated with those risks excited me for their own sakes. The lovers were older, more seasoned by life, warier and more guarded after the failure of their past relationship. The obstacles, especially on the hero's side, were higher, harder, and at times seemingly insurmountable. It would take guts, brains, and determination for them to navigate their way to a safe harbor and back to each other's arms. I put Robin and Sophie through the wringer--and rejoiced to bring them together and give them the happy ending they'd been denied the first time around. I hope readers will enjoy their story as much as I (ultimately) enjoyed writing it.
For both of my books, I've been fortunate in my covers and my back cover copy, which seems to have been written by someone who read the book! (Isn't it annoying when the summary of your book bears no resemblance to what you actually wrote?). Although I must confess that the cover copy on A Song at Twilight sticks pretty closely to my initial description of the book:
Late in England’s Victorian age, the world is changing–new freedoms, new ideas, and perhaps a chance for an old love to be new again…
A love too strong to let go …
Aspiring singer Sophie Tresilian had the world at her feet–fame, fortune, and true love–until the man of her dreams broke her heart. Now she’s the toast of Europe, desired by countless men but unwilling to commit to any of them. Then Robin Pendarvis walks back into her life …
Four years ago, Rob had hoped to make Sophie his bride, but secrets from his past forced him to let her go. Seeing her again revives all the old pain–and all the old passion. It might be against every rule, but somehow, some way, he will bring them together again…
I've been lucky so far in my reviewers as well. Mary Jo Putney and Teresa Grant, two authors whose works I much admire, have provided the following lovely quotes for the book, although they don't appear on the ARC. (Incidentally, a high point of the recent RWA conference in Atlanta was meeting Ms. Putney, who is every bit as classy and gracious as her books and blogs suggest, as well as a most deserving recipient of this year's Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.)
“Written with a lyrical grace reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher, Pamela Sherwood’s A Song at Twilight spins a powerfully romantic tale of two honorable, star-crossed lovers trying to find their way back to each other’s arms.” – Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of Sometimes a Rogue
“Rich with drama and mystery, Robin and Sophie’s love story is a sweeping tale filled with the drama of the Cornish landscape and lyrical yearning of the music Sophie sings.” – Teresa Grant, author of The Paris Affair
Sound good? Because I'll be giving away a signed ARC of A Song at Twilight to one commenter below, until midnight on Monday, August 19. Please leave your email address for contact purposes if you're interested in entering.
To get things started, discussion-wise, do you like second chance at love stories, and if so, what is your favorite?