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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Jean Brashear: Rewriting The Past

  We all have times we wish for do-over, right? Only life seldom lets us. But recently I got my shot in the process of turning my first backlist book into an ebook.

Many writers re-release their classic romances unaltered, and maybe I should have followed suit. My first book, thankfully, received a lot of awards, including Romantic Times Top Pick, Drake Cullinane chosen as W.I.S.H. Hero, etc., so I knew the story was basically solid...

But.

As I re-read, I began to realize a) my writing has grown.

b) The ending is not the one I wanted.

And c) don't get me started on the title (The Bodyguard's Bride—nobody seemed to care that she's the bodyguard!)

My typing fingers began to itch.

Here's the deal: in 1998 my kickass heroine (so commonplace now) raised some eyebrows. I was asked to tone her down for fear that she'd be too strong for the hero. ::snort!::  I was green and I sure did want a second contract, but...

Keep in mind that this was a woman with the cojones to break into an arms dealer's compound as a job audition so she'd be in position to kill him to avenge her sister's murder. I was asked to have her leave at the end and wait for the hero to wrap everything up, then come tell her what happened.

I don't think so!

Eventually I worked out a compromise I could bear, but it was far from the ending I wanted.

Voila! Second chance!

My original ending had gone missing altogether, so I started over...but I think Jillian would like this one way better (instead of wanting to kick my a** for not being more like her in the first place)...and, trust me, Drake's still more than a match for her. J

Would you like to compare the endings? I have one copy of the original print book I will send to the winner of today's drawing!



She’s driven by vengeance; he’s driven by guilt. She’s out to kill the man he’s sworn to protect. White-hot attraction…dangerous secrets.  Only one can win, but both could die, depending upon…THE CHOICE

USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of 28 novels in romance and women's fiction, a three-time RITA finalist and Romantic Times BOOKReviews Career Achievement Award winner, Jean Brashear knows a lot about taking crazy chances. A lifelong avid reader, at the age of forty-five with no experience and no training, she decided to see if she could write a book. It was a wild leap that turned her whole life upside down, but she would tell you that though she's never been more terrified, she's never felt more exhilarated or more alive. She's an ardent proponent of not putting off your dreams until that elusive 'someday'--take that leap now.

***Jean picked BETH as the winner!  Congratulations, Beth!  Please email Jean at jean@jeanbrashear.com with your full name and mailing address so she can get the prize in the mail to you!***

17 comments:

marybelle said...

You were ahead of your time. That's brilliant. I'm sure readers would have embraced your heroine as you initially created, without toning her down.

Beth said...

I think it would be great if you had both endings available. It would be very interesting to see how in just a short time (1988 was not that long ago for some of us, lol)attitudes have evolved. It would be a great piece to add to a women's studies course for instance.

Liz Fielding said...

Brilliant to get another crack at a book, Jean. Things have changed so much. Good for you.

Jean Brashear said...
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Jean Brashear said...
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Jean Brashear said...

Thanks a bunch, Liz! Beth, LOL on that not being that long ago...but as I worked on the book, it sure was instructive to see how much things have changed! I'd post both ending, except that it's a romantic suspense and the dance between the two of them, the dicey decision of whether they'll let the evidence of their eyes overcome the longings of their hearts...I mean, yes it's a romance, but the journey is the point.
It sure might be something to think about, though, posting the original ending on my website...hmmm....

Jean Brashear said...

Marybelle, I completely agree with you--haven't we all seen evidence that readers are far more open-minded than publishers expect? The paranormal phenomenon is a prime example...for years, readers of it were assumed to be a tiny minority, yet authors who wrote it knew they were the tip of the iceberg.

JV said...

It's so great that you were able to "remake" your story ending to better suit your vision of your heroine. Ultimately, if the story doesn't suit the writer, then it's just not right. While, of course, you want to sell your work and please readers, we can't ignore that art is ultimately for the artist. If the artist, in this case the author, doesn't do work that pleases herself or himself, the art suffers, I think.

Now that digital books are commonplace and, I'm sure, the contracts specify ownership of the digital rights as well as print rights, I suspect that authors won't get the opportunity to do that for new works.

Jean Brashear said...

Too true, JV. New contracts are going to be a challenge, for sure.

Kaelee said...

I like the idea that you could get a do over. i'm sure the heroine in your original book was still a strong person as you tend to write strong heroines.

Michele L. said...

Wow! What a neat concept, a do-over! Well, I think your original plot was downright kickass and sexy. Heck, everyone has second thoughts about their own work. What a neat idea to be able to compare endings. I will still love it no matter which way it is Jean!
A big congrats on your new book! Woohoo!

Desere said...

Fabulous idea ! Never would have thought of it ! Thanks for the chance to win !

Desere

Jean Brashear said...

Kaelee, I appreciate that. I think all women are more powerful than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. Some of mine have begun in a very bad place (I'm thinking Ria in FORGIVENESS and Roan in A REAL HERO, particularly)and even Jillian in THE CHOICE is acting tougher than she feels inside...but I think that's one of the beauties of romance novels, seeing women come into their own. Anyway, it was fun to give Jillian the ending she deserved (wish I could have remembered how my original went, but hope she'll still be happy with this one!)

Jean Brashear said...

Michele, thanks for the compliment--the tensions between Drake and Jillian were cool fun to write...on the surface they're working on the same side, a level down their goals are diametrically opposed, yet at their base, they want the same thing: Hafner out of action...only she wants him dead and that will ruin everything for Drake if he dies...and then the powerful sexual draw that expands to encompass their hearts...
It was a dicey and exhilarating dance to write!

Jean Brashear said...

Thanks, Desere! Glad you like the idea!

ztalady80 said...

It is amazing how stories have changed over the years. What is now expected in our heros and heroines was not back then. You have a chance most people don't have. The chance to go back and make changes. Changes, that you wanted from the very first. Kuddos to you. Would love a chance to read this one.

Jean Brashear said...

Thanks, zt! Things really have changed enormously over the years, haven't they?