Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moonshadows - Meeting Melinda Hammond

Blogging with us again this Friday on Title Magic is British romance author Melinda Hammond. Last time Melinda was with us she talked about her first Regency romance. After the sell out success of More Than a Governess, she now has her first original e-book release, a contemporary/Georgian timeslip romance. That's the gorgeous cover of Moonshadows above.
She joins us today to talk about the book and share the experience of being a Brit published by US publishers Samhain. She's having quite a year, but I'll let her tell you about that.

What an exciting year this is turning out to be. My first Regency romance writing as Sarah Mallory (More Than a Governess) was published by Harlequin Historical in the spring and Lucasta, my latest Georgian adventure romance for Robert Hale Ltd is coming out at the end of September. As if this was not enough to celebrate, my very first e-book, Moonshadows, was launched by Samhain Publishing on 2nd September. Some of my earlier books have been issued as e-books by Regency Reads, but Moonshadows is the first time an original novel of mine has been published first as an e-book with the print version to follow next spring.

Samhain is one of the foremost e-publishers of original romantic fiction and they are based in the USA. I was a little nervous of submitting my manuscript to them and I wondered if the "cultural divide" might be too great. However, I need not have worried: I had a delightful email in reply saying how much they liked Moonshadows. After this, events began to move at a frantic pace. My editor came back very quickly with her thoughts on the story, and from there it was a team effort to polish my manuscript and turn it into a beautifully crafted novel. A few very minor changes were required – thankfully Aston Martin and Porsche are well known around the world (this was for the contemporary story, of course!) and no major revisions were required from me.

Moonshadows is a little different from my usual Melinda Hammond novels because it is a Georgian love story overlaid with a contemporary romance and with a little touch of the supernatural thrown in!

As Melinda Hammond I have written more than a dozen books, all Georgian or Regency romances and many with the handsome, rakish hero reformed by the love of a good woman. However, occasionally I have wondered just what would happen if the divisions between the hero and heroine were so great that they could not be resolved in one lifetime. This was my premise for writing Moonshadows, where Richard, the rakish hero meets his match in an innocent, gentle girl with an indomitable will. Sarah is convinced that if she gives in to Richard it will endanger both their souls, so she can never admit her love for him.

Their story is intertwined with a contemporary romance but by contrast my modern day heroine, Jez Skelton, is a typical career girl. She may not have the religious convictions of her distant relative but she has equally strong notions of what is right and wrong, and there is no place in her ordered life for the devastatingly attractive Piers Cordeaux.

I really enjoyed writing this book – one scene in particular was based on my own experiences: my modern heroine is unblocking a fireplace in her old cottage, something I had done in my own old Pennine farmhouse. Knocking out the first couple of bricks I could see nothing behind the wall but a black sooty cavity, and as the winter light faded my imagination ran riot thinking of all the spooky things that I might be setting loose! Of course, all I really uncovered was large stone fireplace built directly onto the earth. My heroine Jez is very proud of her efforts – just as I am proud of mine, although to date my fireplace has not provided me with any messages from the past as it does for Sarah (hopefully that's not giving too much of the story away).

The staff at Samhain could not have been more helpful to me in getting Moonshadows published: the editing was extremely thorough and I was very grateful for their help in making sure that the novel would be accessible to a North American audience without losing its essential "Englishness". One of the beauties of this technological age is the ease of transatlantic communication. I would work on my edits, on the blurb, or details for the cover art and email everything away, then, while those of us in the UK were partying or sleeping peacefully (in my case mainly the latter, I confess) the Samhain team would be working away at the day job, turning round my efforts and often sending back the finished product for my approval by the very next day.

With its newsletters, author chat-loops and marketing groups Samhain provides its authors with a great deal of support. Their design team produced this wonderful cover for Moonshadows, and I am delighted with the finished product: this is a book I am very proud of (oh, and I hope readers will enjoy it, too!)

Thanks to Melinda for being with us.

You can find her at:


Monica Fairview said...

Congratulations, Melinda! Sounds like a lovely novel. I can't wait to read it!

Louise said...

What a lovely cover! Look forward to reading it. What a great year you are having - deserved!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Melinda, thanks for being with us on Title Magic today. Moonshadows sounds wonderful. I love historicals with a touch of the paranormal. As a fellow Brit I understand your worries about the 'language' divide. I have to Americanise my books, but I'm getting the hang of that now. Love the cover for Moonshadows!

Mel Hiers said...

Hi Melinda! Welcome to TM!

I think you gave away just enough of the story, because the fireplace delivering messages from the past hooked me right in. Moonshadows sounds wonderful, and I wish you much success!

Savanna Kougar said...

Melinda, what a fabulous cover and seems perfect for your story. Your premise sounds delicious, especially with the paranormal touch, and Samhain is one of the best e-pubs over here. Lots of manuscript vying for their attention.
Thanks for sharing today. And lots of success.

Melinda Hammond said...

Hi Everyone

So glad you enjoyed the blog and the info on Moonshadows. I am very excited by this project. Monica and Louise - lovely to hear from you: Helen - glad you like the cover; not sure I shall ever get the hang of americanising my books, so congratulations to you for achieving that and doing it so well, too! Mel - it's nearing the time when we have a fire every evening and that always reminds me of the Moonshadows story. Savanna - I agree Samhain are wonderful - it's been a lovely experience working with them and I look forward to doing it again.


Evonne Wareham said...

Thanks again for being with us. I hope Moonshadows has as much success as More Than a Governess has.

Melinda Hammond said...

I hope everyone enjoyed my contribution - I have had great fun and thanks to everyone for their warm wishes and support. I have just finished my next book for Harlequin - a Regency called the Wicked Baron which will be out in the USA next year and I'm hoping that another Melinda Hammond - The Bargain will be published by Regency Reads later this year. There's certainly no time to get bored!

Savanna Kougar said...

Melinda, congrats on the Wicked Baron. And good luck with The Bargain.
I agree ~ There is no time to get bored if you're an author, or an aspiring author ~ which is one more reason writing called to me.

Melida Hammond said...

Savanna - boredom, what's boredom?

I think that's what makes writers' gatherings so wonderful - they may be many things, but rarely boring!

Writing is a wonderful activity, and getting published is the icing on the cake, but it takes persistence, and a certain amount of luck, which means being ready to grab an opportunity when it arises. So may I wish all of you published writers great success and those aspiring authors the best of good luck.

Melinda Hammond