Monday, September 17, 2012

Past, Present and Future...

For the past few years I've been writing contemporary romance for the Harlequin Presents/Extra Mills and Boon Modern Romance lines, but that hasn't always been the case. For many years I wrote factual articles for magazines. Then I branched out into historical fiction. This was in the days before the Internet - and although that makes me sound ancient, it wasn't really so long ago! Instead of using a word processor I wrote all my articles and stories out in longhand. Research meant a forty-mile round trip by car to the county library, with the children. There was no pushchair access in those days, so I had to leave the buggy outside and cart babies and notebooks upstairs. While I worked, they played under the table. They spent so much of their formative years surrounded by books it's no wonder they both grew up with a love of reading. After tagging all the way home again, I incorporated my research into the final draft of my manuscript then typed it up (duplicated with the help of reams of carbon paper) and sent it off to the publisher. After time spent first in the postal system and then under editorial consideration, my editor would ring to discuss any revisions then the original manuscript would be sent back for alteration and resubmission. The whole process took forever, and cost a fortune in paper and postage. Things are so much easier now, with on-line research and virtual documents flying backwards and forwards via email.
Recently, I wrote some pieces on my blog http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com about how things have changed and the revolution of epublishing. I had so many interesting comments and emails, I decided to experiment with the situation myself. The result is the re-issue in ebook form of "Lady Rascal", an historical romance which was originally published only in the UK  and Europe by Harlequin in their Masquerade line. It opens in Paris during the summer riots of 1789. That's a bit early to be called a Regency Romance, but publishers love their categories and 'Revolutionary Romance' doesn't strike quite the right note! Madeleine is a chancer with nothing to lose, who dresses up in "borrowed" clothes. When English gentleman Philip Adamson mistakes her for an aristocrat in danger, Maddy plays along. She hopes to benefit from his good nature, but soon finds his sense of honour has put his future in grave doubt. He needs her streetwise determination as much as she wants his sophisticated charm...
I can remember gazing out of my window at falling snow while I was working on the summer night seduction scene of Lady Rascal. Warm starlit evenings in the arms of my handsome OH seemed an awfully long way away. He was working in New York at the time and the baby was tormented with chickenpox. Writing helped me escape to a time when the countryside was green and lush, with a happy ever after guaranteed. I'm really excited to be bringing Lady Rascal to a worldwide audience, and I hope you get as much pleasure from reading it as I did from writing it. 
Do you have an ereader? Do you think it will ever replace "real" books in your affections? One of the very last signed author copies of the original Lady Rascal paperback is on offer for a comment picked at random.

Christina Hollis is a best-selling writer of romance, who lives her dream life with her family in the middle of an English bluebell wood. You can visit her website at http://www.christinahollis.com, and read her blog at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com


*UPDATE*: Lory's name was first out of the hat in the draw for a signed copy of the original paperback version of "Lady Rascal"!
Congratulations, Lory! If you could mail me at christinahollis@hotmail.co.uk with your snail mail address, I'll get your prize into the post asap.

Thanks to everyone who posted. I really enjoyed our "chat" and your good wishes for the success of Lady Rascal. I hope you can all get to enjoy it, whether by way of ereader, or a good old printed book!
Best wishes
Christina x

28 comments:

  1. I do have a Kindle, but I very much doubt that e-books will ever replace tree books for me. I don't feel the same magic & connection with an e-book.

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  2. Thanks for commenting, Marybelle. In one way, I feel exactly the same as you do. There's absolutely nothing like the feel and even *smell* of real books. Although, on the other hand, an e-reader means you can pack a lot of books in a tiny space. That's important for me and my family, as we ran out of bookshelf space in our house years ago!

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  3. I don't have an e-reader and I don't want one either. I want to be able to feel and smell my books, to arrange and rearrange them on my shelves.
    When I look around me, I see that many people have some kind of e-reader, but they tell me they still buy the 'real' books of their favorite authors. I think it's like you say Christina: it comes in handy to save space (on your shelves or so you can take a lot of books with you on holiday) or to try some new authors and see if you like them. But no, I don't think e-books will replace real books.

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  4. Don't have an e-reader, but I have nothing against it, it would be great to have one. But I still prefer buying books, it may sound weird but I love the smell of them. And I feel a certain kind of happiness, elation and contentment every time I look at them neatly piled beside my bed (even cried when termites ate two of my books T_T). :D

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    1. Congratulations, Lory - your name was first out of the hat in the draw for a signed copy of the original paperback version of "Lady Rascal"!
      If you'd like to drop me a line at christinahollis@hotmail.co.uk with your snail mail address, I'll get your prize in the post asap.

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  5. I now have an E-Reader, it was a Mother's
    Day gift from Honey. But I was practically
    dragged into E-Reader World kicking and
    screaming! I suggested to him that, since
    he is the electronic gadget collector in
    the family, we can make use of the Kindle
    together. We have both begun collections!

    Pat C.

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  6. I have a Kindle and I read on my computer as well but I still prefer a real book. The only advantage for me is sometimes it's easier to hold my Kindle than a book when my arthritis is really bothering me. Or I can prop my Kindle on something were I don't have to hold it. So yes it's handy, but I still prefer a real book.

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  7. I don't have an ereader and can't see one in my future. I too love the feel and smell of real books. I can't read for too long on the computer as I get dry eyes. It seems like I don't blink enough when I'm reading on the computer.

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  8. Thanks for commenting, Stefanie. I'm glad to hear you say you don't think e-readers will replace real books: they're a great gadget, but handling and reading a book is a pleasure in its own right. It's something that doesn't require any sort of power source, either - other than imagination.

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  9. Lory, how dreadful to have termites eat your books! The worst that happened to me was when my treasured copy of T.H White's "The Goshawk" finally fell to pieces through over use, and age. It was a very cheap edition, and the paper became fragile. The burden of sellotape became too much for it. In the end there was nothing solid enough to tape together.

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  10. Hi Pat, thanks for dropping by. It's funny that men often start out keener on gadgets than women, but once we've taken the plunge, women often make better use of the technology. Maybe we're more single-minded!

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  11. Hi Linda, thanks for commenting. I know someone who finds exactly the same thing - his hands are badly malformed, and holding books for any length of time causes him great pain. He finds computers and tablets etc. much easier to use.

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  12. Hi Kaelee, thanks for commenting. Someone else who likes the smell of "real" books! Walking into a bookshop - especially a little independent one-man set up, is a lovely experience. There's a lovely bookshop owner in Tewkesbury who really enjoys his work and offers a wonderful service. He'll hunt down any book and get it delivered, often within twenty four hours of a request. That's the kind of personal touch that's endangered now we all do so much shopping on line. It's such a shame.

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  13. Hi Christina and congratulations on the release of 'Lady Rascal'. What a great cover! I'm not an ereader myself as I love the actual hard copy books and I spend so much time looking at a computer screen I've avoided anything like that. I suspect though that I'll get an ereader soon, for travelling at least.

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  14. Hi Annie, thanks for commenting - I'm glad you like Lady Rascal's cover. Ereaders are the perfect way to solve that perennial holiday weight problem - whether to take one big book or several smaller ones, but for everyday (and those stolen moments in the bath)I think it's got to be a "real" book.

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  15. Nope - don't have an eReader. I know I'm going to have to get one someday - I keep seeing interesting books that are only digital. I'd love a print copy of Lady Rascal - not many books take place in this pre-Regency time period.

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  16. I do have an ereader and I really love it, but I don't believe it will ever replace "real" books in my affections:) I love the smell and feel of a real book, so I treasure those that I have and will continue to buy real books from my favorite authors. Even when they are all old and worn I will still love my real books:) I understand that authors have to get with the times and trends with the ereader evolution, but it is sad to see prints not being done unless it is a popular demand and even then you have to wait awhile for it to come out. I guess that's price we pay for convenience.

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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  17. Hi Di - that's what attracted me to the period. All the details I'd read about the French Revolution were so grim, I wanted to invent something glamorous in the period. Thanks for commenting!

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  18. I agree with you, Yadkny. It's sad to find so many books being produced only as ebooks. I'm hoping the word can be spread about Lady Rascal to create a demand, so it's possible to bring out a print version too. Thanks for commenting.

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  19. I am a book hugger! I love to be able to smell the pages of a new book, read the author's notes/bio/acknowledgements, ooh and ah over the cover art, etc. My books are reverently displayed in my rotating book shelf that currently holds over 500 books. I love my books!

    So, the answer is no, I don't have an e-reader.

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  20. Christina -

    Congratulations on the release of Lady Rascal! I'm thrilled you decided to venture into historical romance and that's it's available ia an ebook!

    If you had asked me a year ago if I would have bought a Kindle I would have said no becaues I love the feel of a real book in my hands and being able to turn the pages on the sections I wan't to re-read and re-read again. That was the case until they closed our only local bookstore, Waldenbooks - part of the Border chain. After I bought my Kindle I found out that I now had the option of pre-ordering books so they "magically" appear on my Kindle on release day! I also don't have to worry anymore that if I don't have a chance to get to the bookstore when books are released that they will sell out. Another blessing is no shipping charges! YEAH!

    I love the setting of Lady Rascal and the time period. It really sounds as if you've brought something new to the Regency period and I'm looking forward to reading your story for a different point of view!

    Good Luck on the sales of Lady Rascal!

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  21. Lady Rascal sounds like it's musty.

    I do have an ereader, which my DH quickly appropriated for himself. I read ebooks off my computer, but definitely prefer the real book in hand. It seems like the real book is easier to read than on an ereader.

    kscathy@yahoo.com

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  22. Congratulations on the release of Lady Rascal, it sounds very interesting! I do have an e-reader, and although I prefer "real" books, these days I find myself buying more and more books for my iPad since I want to read them now whereas in the past I had to wait for weeks for books to arrive from England or USA by post to my remote part of the world. But I always buy a copy of the book by author I really like.

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  23. Hi Michele, thanks for commenting - I really love the sound of your rotating bookshelf!

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  24. Hi Jeanne, thanks for your good wishes. That's one great advantage of ebooks - being able to upload/download (I'm never sure which term to use!) direct from the comfort of home. With so many local book stores closing down, that's invaluable.

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  25. Hi Cathy, I'm glad you like the sound of Lady Rascal. You aren't the first person to have had their ereader appropriated! Thanks for commenting.

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  26. Hi Host, thanks for commenting. Waiting for delivery has always been a big problem with "real" books and I think fast online response times are spoiling us all!

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  27. I'm going off to pick a winner of the signed book now, and will post the name asap.
    Christina x

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