Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Coming off Haitus and First Sale Story by Joy Nash

Greetings. It has been a long time since I posted here because over the holidays we had a death in the family. That entailed a trip out of town and an incredible number of things to do, things you don't even think of until it's suddenly necessary. Through it all, I've had to keep writing, because I have several books due, although my editors have been incredibly supportive.

Once I get my breath back, I think it would be good to blog about writing through stress!

While I recover and finish my due ms., I'll post author Joy Nash's first sale story. Joy writes historical romance set in Celtic Britain, and she is also part of the Immortals paranormal romance series I created at Dorchester publishing. Her latest book, Deep Magic, a historical romance with ties to the King Arthur legends, was released this month.

How did you sell your first book?

Joy: I sold my first two full-length novels at nearly the same time. In 2004, I had a fantasy romance, Crystal Shadows, under consideration at Ellora's Cave, and a historical paranormal, Celtic Fire (a 2004 Golden Heart Finalist), under consideration at Dorchester. I'd gotten the request for Crystal Shadows after making a contact with an editor at a Romantic Times convention. The request for Celtic Fire followed a contest win in which a Dorchester editor was the final judge. Crystal Shadows sold first, and came out in ebook format that same November. Celtic Fire sold soon after, but since the lead time for print book production was longer, it didn't appear in bookstores until June 2005.

You had some small press/e-press sales; what do you like/dislike about small press vs. large NY press?

Joy: Yes – in addition to publishing Crystal Shadows with Ellora's Cave, I also published two novellas and a short story published by New Concepts. Working with small press was a very good experience for me. The shorter length of my New Concepts work gave me a chance to experiment with different types of stories and develop my voice, and the wider opportunity for publishing slots was encouraging. There's also an anything-goes quality to small/epress publishing that's very refreshing. I feel very fortunate to break in at Dorchester, a big press with a reputation for pushing the envelope in the romance genre—the editors there are open to a very wide range of innovative story types. Large presses also have the advantage of a very wide distribution network. My print runs at Dorchester have been fantastic. More books out there leads to more sales to more readers.

Do you have an agent? and if so, why?

Joy: I do have an agent. She's invaluable when negotiating contracts, which leaves me free to concentrate on the creative side of writing. I signed with her in 2004, and she was instrumental in getting Celtic Fire read quickly by, and subsequently sold to, Dorchester. A manuscript—even after you've sold the first one—can languish a loooong time at a big publishing house without a good agent to push things along.

What do you think about the market for historical romance these days?

Joy: I'm really encouraged to see a huge rebound in historical books. It seems a few years ago, everyone was claiming historical romances were dead, but like Mark Twain's mistaken demise, the rumors were premature. What's happened is that the narrow focus of the historical market has widened, making room for different time periods, different locales, non-traditional heroes and heroines, and more paranormal elements. All of which is breathing life into the subgenre.

Tell us a little about your latest book and what you're working on now.

Joy: My latest book, Deep Magic, was released on Jan 2, 2008. Deep Magic is the second book in my Druids of Avalon series, which has been compared by reviewers to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon and Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy. The Druids of Avalon series follows the lives of the Druid ancestors of King Arthur as they struggle to pave the path for the great future king. Deep Magic, in which I tell my own version of how the great sword Excalibur was forged, follows the first book in the Druids series, The Grail King.

Right now I'm hard at work finishing the urban fantasy Immortals: The Crossing. It'll be out in October 2008, close on the heels of Jennifer Ashley's Immortals: The Redeeming in September. (Joy's Immortals: The Awakening is the third book in this series.)
Thank you, Joy, for taking time to send me your post, and for your interesting insights on small and e-press. Good luck with all your projects!