My Connection to Island of the Swans

June 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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The novel Island of the Swans that’s been reissued after twenty years takes place primarily in Scotland, with the social season also set in London. I loved researching and writing about both Scotland and England, perhaps because I  have family connections to both.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I come from a Scottish-American background, as you can guess from this picture in June 2009 at my son and now daughter-in-law’s engagement party.  Spending all those years researching Swans deeply connected me to my Scottish roots.  Additionally, it turns out that my husband of 33 years, Tony Cook, is also of Scottish-American derivation.We learned long after we were married that his family name had been MacCook and that we shared several other Scottish names in our family tree:  Bell, Alexander, McAllister, Hunter and Forester.  We have loved being part of this “community” and for a while we were members of the MacLeod Scottish Country Dancers!  I mean, talk about living your research….

Island of The Swans is filled with historical details that make it interesting, I hope, for the historically enthused readership I’ve always wanted to read my books.  However, after the year 2000, the historical market fell into the doldrums for several years, and since writing is not a “hobby career,” I had to turn my hand to more lucrative forms of word-smithing—which in my case turned out to be the nonfiction work of mine Rightsizing Your Life: Simplifying Your Surroundings While Keeping What Matters Most—published in 2007.

At any rate, I’m not surprised that many readers may not know about my second historical novel that will be reissued by Sourcebooks Landmark in October of 2010:  Wicked Company, is also set in Scotland and England about a group of “uppity” eighteenth century women playwrights whose works were produced—as in real life—at Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres!

Wicked CompanyThe true story of this, my “orphaned historical, is that  I was changing publishers right at the time the first edition of Wicked was published back in 1992, and the book was given short shrift when it came out as a result.  I actually am tremendously proud of this historical novel and believe it’s among my best work.  I am thrilled that this “orphan” has found a new home with Sourcebooks/Landmark and will appear on their Fall, 2010 list!

What I find so fascinating is the way books are truly categorized by their covers.  My other novels are as richly researched and steeped in history—even the dual story historical/contemporary titles like A Cottage by the Sea, Midnight on Julia Street, and A Light on the Veranda—but they were saddled with some God-awful covers during the period where every book was thought to have a better place in the marketplace if it was “genre-ized” by emphasizing the romance more than the history.  Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca or Frenchman’s Creek would be thought to be pure romances if she’d had the covers I was given back in the eighties and nineties!  Bless Sourcebooks/Landmark for creating covers that match the contents of my historicals!

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