I know every author gets excited about release day. And release day for each book is special, each in its own way.
But this is huge for me.
Seeing Rogue’s Pawn enter the world of readers is an emotional moment for me, the end of a long and often painful journey. You’ve all heard these kinds of stories – how long it took to write, even longer to sell. You always hope for the happy ending.
This is mine.
See, I first had an idea for this story back in 1995. Maybe it was before that, but I’ve found notes and fragments of scenes that date back to that year. I wrote them on my ancient Apple computer wedged into the corner of the bedroom. I had pitiful writing habits, little understanding of craft and no idea how to write a novel. I finally – and proudly – finished a draft nearly twelve years later, in 2007. In between that time, I’d gotten proficient at writing essays, had published them in big magazines like Redbook, and published an essay collection with a university press – but I’d never forgotten this haunting idea. So, I’d drag out the novel yet again. I learned to write long.
Yeah – I hear you all groaning for me.
I actually did amazingly well with the agents for right off the bat – they liked my concept and my credentials – but they all came back saying that it needed work and that it was too different.
So I worked on it. I did two major overhauls and countless minor revisions. I kept sending it out. Some agents read it twice. Though they stopped saying that it needed work, they all told me they had no idea how to market it. It wasn’t sword and sorcery fantasy. It wasn’t paranormal romance. It wasn’t urban fantasy. Nobody was sure what it was – just what it wasn’t.
This story I’d worked on for so long, that I loved so much – was just too weird to sell.
Fortunately I had the benefit of good friends. Early readers told me what they loved and to keep going. Contest judges told me it was a hard sell, but that I’d do it some day. Catherine Asaro, a pioneer in science fiction from a more feminine point of view, told me I’d written a nearly classic fantasy, but from a very female perspective. She said selling it would be like wading through waist-deep snow.
I swear – I nearly got frostbite.
And then Carina Press bought it. Bless their adventurous spirit! From my fabulous and insightful editor, Deb Nemeth, to the very savvy excutive editor Angela James, and all the Carina acquisitions team, especially the inimitable Malle Vallick – they all have the courage and vision to take on books like this. Stories that don’t fit the mold.
Rogue’s Pawn hit the reviewers a month ago.
I held my breath, afraid that readers really would find it just too weird.
And I’ve gotten comments like:
“I adored the absolute creativity and rareness this supernatural romance offers its readers; it definitely is not your average Fae story.”
“It brought a new life to both the story and character that I haven’t seen in many novels to-date.”
“…a very unique read…”
“This book really took me by surprise by how much I liked it even though it was pretty unusual and quirky.”
All of this just does my heart good. I even love the reader who didn’t like it because she thought it was too “Fifty Shades of Fae” – if only she knew how long ago this story started!
So, all of this is a long-winded way of saying thank you. Of offering my immense gratitude to everyone who believed in this book and encouraged me. And now to all you readers, for receiving my weird book with such open-hearted love for something unusual.
Blue stargazer lilies for everyone!
Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves. Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, will be published in July, 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.