The Thrill of It All
Return to Longbourn, my third Austenesque novel will debut here at Austen Authors next week, on the 26th! It’s the follow-up to my Pride and Prejudice sequel, The Darcys of Pemberley, and centers on Mary, Kitty, and the new heir to the Longbourn estate. (See related post, Redeeming Mary Bennet). I can hardly wait to share this story with you; that’s the best part of being an author!
Leading up to the publication of a new book, though, the two most exciting moments for me are 1) my first sight of the completed cover design, and then 2) when I get my hands on the first copy of the paperback. If our books are our darling offspring, I suppose this correlates to the preview ultrasound picture and then finally holding your newborn in your arms.
Even though this is my third book, seeing the cover above (designed to wrap around, front and back) still sent a jolt of excitement right through me! And it left me eagerly awaiting the arrival of the actual book. My fiction-trained brain naturally rendered the much-anticipated event in high drama and living color. In my head, it went something like this (please excuse the little excesses of my fevered imagination, and put them down to artistic license):
Best-selling author Shannon Winslow has once again closeted herself away from the world. She’s in her studio, hunched over her computer keyboard, focusing all her considerable mental energies on her current writing project. The muse is with her today; the words flow effortlessly through her fingers and onto the screen before her.
Suddenly the creative process is interrupted by the sounding of two melodic tones. Ding-dong. Dragging herself back to the real world, Shannon glances out the window to see who’s there. Her heart skips a beat when she observes the familiar, brown, delivery van parked in the driveway. Could it be? She races downstairs and opens the door.
There, waiting on the bristly welcome mat, is a small, very ordinary-looking cardboard box. But the contents, she knows from the senders logo, are far from ordinary. To her, at least. This is the moment she’s visualized, the dream that has kept her going through months of work, sweat, and tears. Her hands shake as she rips open the package and carefully extracts the pristine paperback novel inside. The scrolled lettering nearly leaps off the cover to her anxious eyes. She reads: Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow…
…These were thrilling words, and wound up [her] feelings to the highest point of ecstasy. Her gratified heart could hardly restrain its expressions within the language of tolerable calmness. (Northanger Abbey, chapter 17)
You see how I very easily lapsed into Austen-speak there at the end? And FYI, it’s considered perfectly normal in certain circles to refer to oneself in third person.
Reality pretty closely measured up to the above fantasization, I’m happy to say. The day my paperback copy arrived, the scene above played out for real – with one minor deviation. I was too excited when I saw the UPS truck to wait for the doorbell to ring!