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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Writing two books at once can be a nervous business...

They say that a man who tries to catch two rabbits will lose them both, but of course he has to watch both absolutely simultaneously.
I had started on book four of the Charity School series, Marianne's Misanthrope, because I thought it was going to be book 3.  Then I became aware that with the timeline I'd mapped out, Abigail's Adventure would be over before Marianne got her man, even though it started later.
So, a dilemma.
I was enjoying writing Marianne, which I've couched as an epistolary novel, after the manner of 'Daddy Long-Legs' and its sequel, 'Dear Enemy' by Jean Webster both of which I enjoyed; save that I decreased the number of letters and increased the amount of 'live action' through the book as I felt that there was a forced and false feeling in having the main letter-writer writing to the object of their love and telling him about the tender moment they shared.  I mean, you'd think he would have noticed for himself without prompting.
However, enjoying it as I was, I found I needed to cover the events of 'Abigail's Adventure' so I went back and wrote that, having opened and gotten to chapter 3 of it earlier.  And I'm glad to say I managed to complete it well inside a month.
And the proof arrived a day after my mother died, and how cross that may have made her, I can't guess because she always was my biggest fan and top proof reader.
However, it's live on Amazon as a physical book or Kindle HERE.

Orphan Abigail is surprised to be claimed as a relative of Mr and Mrs Heltham, a well-to-do couple from Bath. The Helthams invite Abigail to leave school and join them for the Little Season in Bath. In Bath Abigail meets Richard, the Helthams’ son who acts more like a young child than his 19 years.
Uncle Frank and Aunt Caro press gifts and treats upon Abigail who finds their generosity oppressive. Although a bluestocking Abigail is able to help poor Richard when he is unable to cope with the trails of life, giving the boy love and affection.
It is not until Abigail meets Richard’s cousin Renn, Baron Chisterley, that Abigail becomes aware of the insidious plot that stands between her and happiness.

Canal-building, the obsequies for a dead princess, and a nervewracking climb out of a window also feature in the book. 

I used the following pictures for the cover:
 First of all, a window, which had to be painstakingly emptied of all view through it to put my own there.
 Then a view to be used, which was the wrong season, so it had to be made into late Autumn
 the figure I liked most for Abigail was the foreground figure here, who had to be separated from the others
Then a figure for Renn, who had to be made blond. 

The whole needed to be brightened up and made warmer. 


  1. I love to read about your process, Sarah! And I admire you for being able to write two simultaneously and keep all the facts & the timeline organized. From my own experience, it can be a bit overwhelming at times in terms of keeping the small details straight for each story.

  2. To be honest, I have called Marianne 'Abigail' a couple of times and had to correct it; what I AM proud of is keeping separate the two very different personalities. Abigail is quite forthright and a bluestocking and won't take any crap from anyone; Marianne is more diffident, practical rather than academic, not very well educated before she got to Swanley court, and inclined to sensitivity.
    I'm not sure I'd want to do it again, though.

  3. and I am especially dazzled by your ability to produce the covers to go with your stories.....

  4. Thank you! I always claim I'm an artist who writes, I'm also too parsimonious [spelled m-e-a-n] to pay someone to do what I can manage for myself [in fact, I'm moving into freelance cover art].
    It has to be appropriate for the period.... and so many commercial covers you see publishers imposing on their artists show Regency men in button up shirts [no], ruffles at the wrists after 1803 [no] or tanned young ladies [not unless the plot demands it which has to be unusual] and I froth at the mouth.... and this is one of the reasons I'm indy...

    1. Impose on their authors I meant, I had a cat in my face interfering with my thoughts