Monday, 30 July 2012

The Return of Love's Bouquet

The glory of e-publishing, as I am learning, is that you can resurrect all your old writing, and send it out into the world to find its readership. That's what I'm in the midst of trying to do with my first crack at a novel.

The genesis of Love's Bouquet was the back of a napkin in 1999. My friend Meghan and I had backpacked around Australia's East Coast, reading tons of old Harlequins we'd bought at a used bookstore. By the time we got to Cairns, we were convinced we could write one ourselves. We came up with the plot on the return bus trip from swimming in a tropical waterfall.

I went off and wrote it up -- typical Harlequin -- Wendy Blake, a plucky florist, falls in love with her womanising customer, James Crofton, hijinks ensue, love conquers all. The novel's first iteration was terrible -- long discourses on Kingston sights and sounds, wooden dialogue, absence of plot. I kept at it however, and slowly I learned how to write. I got rid of all that exposition, I spiffed up the dialogue, I started to think of Wendy and James as real people, not just Harlequin archetypes, and I tried to beef up the plot. Over time, I developed a respect for romance novelists, it's hard to make the same story - boy and girl meet, they overcome obstacles and smooch in the end -- fresh funny and interesting.

Eventually I thought it was good enough and I sent it to Harlequin. By then I'd done some serious research in to the romance field, was a member of the Romance Writer's of American and thought I had a shot of getting published. In the end, Love's Bouquet came close, with an editor asking for a few  re-writes before ultimately passing because the line it was aimed at -- one for humorous romances called Duets -- was discontinued.

Wendy Blake and James Crofton aren't dead yet, though. With the arrival of e-publishing, I'm going to see if those two crazy kids can find their audience. Watch this space -- Love's Bouquet is going to be released as an e-book.

PS I recognize that the title is TERRIBLE, but after more than a decade (!) of thinking about it as Love's Bouquet, I can't come up with anything else... if anyone's got any better ideas, please, lemme know!

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