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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

O Joy! First Sale Of The Year!

Remember that bushranger story I was working on, for which I used Irish music to write by? 

Paul Collins was very pleased with it and so it will be going into his next anthology in the Trust Me! series(he may give it another title and a different style of cover, because people get the second anthology confused with the first.) I already have my contract to sign.

It's a relief as well as a cheer-up after the disappointment of Cranky Ladies Of History. See, I put a lot of research into that one. The Victorian era is not one with which I'm really familiar. When I was working on it, I asked a couple of historians about things I needed to know. And I knew that if it missed out, I had nowhere else to send it, but I had a go anyway. And then it was rejected for reasons unconnected with the quality or the historical accuracy. It's a very good story I'm proud of, but historical fiction is hard to sell. Almost impossible, in fact, unless someone decides to publish a historical anthology. Well. It will sit around for a while. You never know. I have had three stories that sold after lying in the proverbial bottom drawer, rejected, for some years. And a novel! ;-) It's a matter of waiting for the right market. 

I'm explaining this because it made me anxious about this one. It's historical fiction for children. Again, I had an era and place that I was not really familiar with - the 1860s in the New South Wales gold rush. I had written some non-fiction about it in Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly, so I knew the true story, but it's not quite the same as telling a story from the viewpoint of someone who lived there. But Paul has been good to me over the years. I knew that if it wasn't quite what he wanted he would give me a chance to fix it. I decided to take a chance. 

After I'd written three drafts, I decided it was time to submit the thing once and for all and get it over with. If it was accepted, then I'd get the story checked for historical glitches. I already knew who to ask. Monissa Whitely, a former member if the ASIM collective, is very much into this era and collects books about it. Furthermore, she has been shopping around her own bushranger novel, set in the same era, the 1860s. If it wasn't accepted... Well, I hoped that wouldn't happen. When Paul's email arrived with a contract attached and opened with "Well done you!" I heaved a huge sigh of relief!  

So yay! 

Monissa read it for me and asked about a few very minor points. In one case, she asked me if I was sure the boy in the story - a real historical figure - would spend a whole pound given him by the bushrangers - the equivalent of about $200 - on lollies. I assured her I hadn't made it up - I got that from the account he wrote as an old man, right from the horse's mouth. But there were two terms that she thought anachronistic and I fixed them.

Other than that, it looks like I got the history right. So only the editing to do, when Paul contacts me about it. 

I think writing historical fiction is a bit addictive. Pity it's not more saleable!

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