Giving Birth to an Elephant


Writing a novel is similar to giving birth to an elephant: the gestation period is very long, and when the dear thing finally pops out, you hope nobody notices that it has long, floppy ears.

Well, I’m in the final stages of labor.  My new novel, The Governor’s Lady, debuts August 29 at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC.  My first four novels were birthed at the same great store, where owners John Barringer, and later Sally Brewster, have nurtured and supported my scribbling from the beginning.  You might call them the delivering physicians.

This book has been more than ten years in the making, and there were times I wondered if I’d ever finish it, and if so, if it would ever see the light of day.

The book publishing industry has changed dramatically in the time since my fourth novel, Captain Saturday, came out.  It’s mostly a bottom-line business these days, and midlist writers like me, even with decent publishing records, have a tough time placing a new work.  So many books of merit that used to get published with little problem now have a much slimmer chance of finding an audience.

I’m incredibly fortunate.  The Governor’s Lady will be birthed by a wonderful house, John F. Blair Publishers in Winston-Salem, NC.  Yesterday, I held the first copy off the press and marveled at the beautiful presentation Blair has made of my story.  Carolyn Sakowski and her staff have done everything right and given the work its best possible chance to succeed in the marketplace.  They’ve arranged an extensive promotional tour ( where I’ll get the opportunity to present my book to booksellers, librarians, and readers.  It will also have an e-book edition for those who are making the move to devices like Kindle, Nook and Kobo.  I’m proud to be a Blair author.

Now, it’s up to me and my little elephant.  Readers will decide the merits of the story, and I’ll do everything I can to help the cause.  It’s where art meets commerce.  I’m proud of the work – the characters and the story -- and immensely grateful to everyone who has provided wise counsel and guidance along the way.

If you see me on the street pushing a very large baby carriage with a long-eared little darling inside, at least honk and wave.  We’re on a mission, and we need your good wishes.  A few bucks for the book would help, too.