Pat here, proudly announcing:
Susan King's first historical romance, The Black Thorne's Rose, originally published by Topaz/Penguin–is finally available in e-book form in an "author's cut" — to be followed soon by The Raven's Wish, Angel Knight and several of Susan's earlier historicals.
First, to whet your whistle, here’s the official blurb:
The Black Thorne's Rose
A high-born lady…a mysterious forest outlaw … a daring deception
With her castle and lands forfeit, gently bred Lady Emlyn refuses marriage to a cruel lord and flees into the greenwood–where she falls for a bold forest outlaw, the Black Thorne, who courts danger in King John’s England. Caught in a game of passion and daring deception, Emlyn learns too late that the mysterious outlaw and the ruthless lord she despises are one and the same man. Now, for Thorne and Emlyn both, the greatest risk of all exists in the truth…and love.
“Excellent…filled with mythical legends, mystery and mayhem… an extremely powerful story.” — Rendezvous
"Magnificent!" — Virginia Henley
Now, here’s Susan!
Pat: Your debut historical romance, The Black Thorne's Rose is now finally available! Tell us something about the book. Why did you choose to begin your career with a medieval romance?
Susan: A lifelong love of forest outlaws and Robin Hood tales, and bookshelves (and a brain) filled with medieval research sources — what better reasons to write a medieval romance? Seriously, at the time I didn't realize that writing historical fiction was about to become a career for me. I was on an academic track, and took leave from that because I had three sweet little guys at home who needed a full-time mom for a while. And writing fiction was my guilty pleasure then. It was something I loved doing in my little bits of free time. So I was curious to see if I could really write good fiction and actually finish a novel, maybe even see a book published before I resumed the PhD work and teaching.
I had been playing with this particular story idea while working on my dissertation (medieval manuscript illumination and a study of iconography). During my leave, I wrote the story of Lady Emlyn, an English medieval lady (and manuscript illuminator in her spare time!), who loses her family castle to one of King John's barons. Fleeing an arranged marriage, she meets a forest outlaw who has hidden ties to the man she has refused to marry. Emlyn and her outlaw are soon caught up in danger and vengeance, while love develops unexpectedly between them–though not unexpected to the reader!
In Black Thorne's Rose, I wrote the sort of story that I wanted to read myself — an adventure-romance, a Robin Hood sort of tale, with a passionate and layered romance developing between the heroine and her mysterious hero — and a lot of old-fashioned adventure too. The excitement and danger of hiding in the forest, practicing archery, escaping the baddies, jumping off cliffs, risky rescues, mixed with legend and mystery, and even touches of humor (well, I laughed, but hey, I wrote it!). And there's a certain last-minute escape at the end that may still be unique in romance!
Pat: Did you find that the story held up after several years? You've obviously changed and grown as a writer–what was it like to go back to that very first book and bring it out again? And what exactly is an “author’s cut”?
Susan: Reading it again myself, years later, I found that I still loved this story, still had that sense of excitement and anticipation and great fun that I had felt while writing it. So bringing this book back–which received fabulous reviews when it first came out, and for which I'm still grateful!–has been a wonderful experience for me. I look forward to going through my other early romances to get those ready for ebook publication.
Though this ebook version is not quite the same book that was published years ago. This is a new version–the "author's cut," I call it — meaning that the author has cut, trimmed, edited and vastly improved the book! When I sat down to read BTR again a few months ago, it was no longer as a newbie writer, but as an experienced author. Here was my chance to improve on a book I still truly loved. Some of that extraneous language had to go. Out came the red pencil and the "delete" button… I got rid of the "'tis twas, 'twere" contractions sprinkled liberally throughout; cut extra description (how many times do we need to describe the hero's gorgeousness?); and a lot of exclamation points bit the dust. I trimmed language — but the story, the events, the characters, all remained. I'm happy to say that The Black Thorne's Rose is fresh, lean and trim in its new incarnation, and still a fun story.
Pat: Why did you decide to e-publish your earlier books, and what has that experience been like?
Susan: I've been planning to get my Susan King historical romances out in ebook form for a while now, and finally all the aspects came together — the time to review and edit, and the right company with the expertise to prepare and handle the ebooks. Not to mention my own understanding of the whole complicated process – trying to grasp what needed to be done and the best alternatives to choose. The learning curve on getting these books out in this form is very big, and I've been fortunate t
o have the advice and expertise of some wonderfully talented and knowledgeable people. My ebook publisher is ePublishingWorks!, a company run by Nina Paules, one of our own Word Wenches readers. Nina is doing a beautiful job with all aspects of the e-pub process, and with the help of her company, I'm very excited to get these early books out there and into reader's hands again!
Black Thorne's Rose is now available for Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Kobo, iBook, and several other venues, with more options appearing all the time. And I'm happy to announce that my second historical romance, The Raven's Wish, will be available very soon. Raven's Wish was my first Scottish-set historical. Here's a sneak preview of the cover!
Susan has a new Facebook author page – click here to see Susan's page, and be sure to "like" it!
How many of you are eager to see the return of medievals? Raise your hand! Have any of you been straying from historical romance lately? Do you have any idea why?
Update! Nina has offered to give three Amazon gift versions of BLACK THORNE'S ROSE to random commenters. These versions can be read on your computer as well as other devices. I'll call the cut-off time as midnight Thursday, April 28th. Drop a line and say hi and you may be a winner!