Okay, I'm back from 16th century France.
At 10:43 on 8/15/08, I finally finished the edits/revisions to The Confessions of Catherine de Medici . This was without a doubt the most challenging edit I've ever done, not only in terms of the volume of sheer work, but in all the subtle adjustments that had to be made both mentally and emotionally as the novel morphed into its current incarnation.
At times, I honestly thought the book would crumble apart and found myself ruing the day I decided I could tackle such a difficult subject. Catherine led a long, eventful, and unbelievably complicated life; the decision during this revision rapidly became one that often put me, as they say in Spain, between the cape and the sword. I had to make very tough decisions between what must stay and what must go; and when you're writing a historical novel that covers an actual person's life, that is not an easy thing to do. In fact, I had an agonizing few weeks when I wondered if I could even do her justice, given the constraints.
Nevertheless, by the end I had cut 193 pages; wrote 10 new scenes and revised 35 others; removed 5 secondary characters and 2 major ones; and, much to my surprise, fashioned what I think is a far more concise and accessible book, one that can be enjoyed by every reader, including those without knowledge of the history of France at this time. Go, figure.
The manuscript is now off to my agent, who'll read it and let me know if I've done my job. I desperately need fresh eyes. Working so intensely on a book as I have these past months ends up blinding you to its flaws. Living with Madame de Medici has been an immensely rewarding, demanding, exhausting and exhilarating journey. Now, all I want for the moment is bad TV!
I also have some great news to share: THE LAST QUEEN will be going into a second printing. Also, I've posted event photos throughout this post for you to chuckle over. These were taken on 8/7 at Bookshop West Portal. We had a Last Queen cake, wine, cheese and lots of people celebrating the book's release. Wish some of you could have been there!