Friday, February 13, 2009

By Carolyn Jewel

I am SO behind on my blogging! I was supposed to get this post up last week, and when that didn't happen I wasn't too worried as I knew I'd get it done early this week. Today I woke up and realized it was Friday already ... ack!

At any rate, I'll get my weekly update posted later, as I don't want to waste another minute ... today's GCC book is a winner and deserves your attention.

SCANDAL by Carolyn Jewel is a historical romance the critics are going crazy over. I first read about it about over on agent Kristin's blog (if you're a writer and you're not already following this blog, bookmark it immediately--it's one of the best for lit agent insights). She linked to a glowing review at Smart Bitches, a site that has some of the toughest critics around. Here's a little snippet:

I’ve recommended this book to both Jane and KatieBabs, and both of them seemed to be as caught by the story as I was. If you like meaty, thought-provoking historical romance with enigmatic characters and a use of history that illuminates the time period in a new and often difficult way, this is a book for you. This is not light, frilly, lace and ruffles romance set in the Regency; this book is marvelously real. It’s sometimes cold and harsh, and at times sad, but there’s a richness and a poignancy that elevates the entire book to a whole other level of “good.” read more ...

In case you're not inclined to read it all the way to the end, know that the last line of the review is "This book took my breath away." Doesn't get better than, my friends!

And now you get to meet this talented and colorful writer via my interview with her. Here goes ...

Hi, Carolyn. Tell me a little about what inspired SCANDAL?

Terror. I'm only partly kidding. Just about all my books are inspired by the terror of believing it isn't working and that, working or not, I won't be able to finish on time. More seriously, Scandal is set during the English Regency period (which was 1811-1820) and I very deliberately drew on my grad school research on a woman who wrote during this time period. Women of the English upper classes had few resources if the men in their lives did not, for whatever reason, fulfill their cultural obligation to take care of their female relatives. Writing novels was one of the few things a woman could do, openly or secretly, to make money. I was astonished to discover that the money a novelist could expect to make in 1815 isn't much different than it is today. The chief difference between then and now lies in the copyright. In 1815, publishers bought the copyright outright. The author was paid once and that was it. Today, authors typically retain the copyright to their work.

Did you have any input on that sexy cover, and are you happy with the finished product?

My editor at Berkley, Kate Seaver, sent me some cover art by someone she was thinking of using to see what I thought of his style. She also asked me for my ideas and for samples of covers I liked. As it happens, I am completely clueless about what makes a good cover (aside from knowing a good one when I see it attached to somebody else's book). My samples were all fairly dreadful. They were great for books that were not mine, though. The people whose business it is to create covers that sell books ignored me, thank goodness, and came up with a very passionate cover that conveys the emotion between my hero and heroine. I love my cover and I am really, truly grateful for the talented people who worked to make it come together so wonderfully.

What's the main thing you hope people take away from SCANDAL?

A burning and insatiable desire to buy my backlist and everything else I ever write for the rest of my life. And to tell everyone they know to do the same thing. OK, seriously, I just hope they enjoy the heck out of the story.

For the writers reading this, what is your process of getting out a first whole draft? How long might it take?

I print out drafts from time to time because the words look different on paper. I rarely have a complete draft. I just have more and more words that make up a mess that needs constant and massive fixing which I do constantly until somehow the story isn't a mess any more. And then it's done.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

In June, 2009, Grand Central Publishing will release My Forbidden Desire, the second of an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance set in a world that includes mages and demons. Indiscreet will be an October 2009 historical from Berkley Sensation.

Congrats, Carolyn! And thanks so much.

To buy SCANDAL, visit your favorite bookstore today. To purchase online, visit,, or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Carolyn's website at

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