This is an odd one, this book. It was one of those rare occasions (for me) that was inspired by a small new article in Time Magazine. Grandmothers were being murdered in France. For some reason it caught my attention, and I came up with a bizarre explanation and plot that grew even more bizarre as I wrote it. The love story is most definitely secondary. France is the star of the book, the feel and smell of the place. There are approximately 36 different points of view, all held strictly (I never do more than one POV in a scene) and it's intricate and complex. When people asked me what I was writing at the time I'd tell them it was a nasty book.
In fact, I think it's simply a suspense novel, rather than romantic suspense, and the oddness of it was that I don't like suspense novels much. I like love and sex and happy endings. I like violence for a reason, and I like it punished. But for some reason this dark and twisted story fascinated me.
This baby won an award from Romantic Times back when they didn't have awards for everything. In fact, I think it was one of the earliest reviewer's choice awards (Melinda Helfer loved it). And it's a good book, I have proof <chuckle>. My foreign rights agent was able to sell the rights to France. He told me how very unusual that was, because the French in general hate to buy books written by foreigners that were set in France, but nevertheless they bought mine. That's not the proof it's a good book. The proof is that I'd never been to France at the time, and yet ultra-picky French editors believed it and bought it. It's like I carried off a massive con, but then, maybe that's what writing fiction is all about. Conning people into believing in a different world, for the few hours they're in there.
This was one that ended up with no editing -- I got the revision letter, was busy, then called and said "when do you want the revisions?" The answer was, the book had already gone into production. Oooops.
It ended up with a deliciously horrible cover, so that this was one of the books that sold 5k copies (I think there were three of them altogether. (The third Maggie Bennett was one, BANISH MISFORTUNE was the other -- more about that later), though it did end up in hardcover in England. How's this likely to entice you to plop down your heard-earned cash?
So don't look at is as a romance -- it's not, though my complicated heroine does end up with a HEA. And they finally found out who was killing the old French ladies, and the real story was only slightly less bizarre than the one I concocted. They even turned it into a movie,J'ai pas sommeil (I Can't Sleep),
o, since it's absolutely free you might want to check it out. This was my first contract with Pocket Books -- I had another one 25 years later for the Fallen Angel books, which failed to find their audience. Though Jenny Crusie always tells me it's not my failure, it's the publisher's. My job is to write the best books I can, and I do. Their job is to sell them.
It's a comforting thought when the wind is howling and the volcanoes are erupting and the wolf is at my door.
Oh,and I finally sent out the books and audio tapes. Keep your eyes peeled - there'll be more than bills in your mailbox.