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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Story of a B-O-O-K...BY THE SWORD

(Excerpt from BY THE SWORD by Alison Stuart)

Jonathan lifted his hand to her face, tilting her chin so she looked at him. Her eyes swam with unshed tears. Tears he had caused.
‘So many deaths. Too many, Kate. Believe me, it’s not always easy to be the survivor. I may not be dead but I have lost all that is important to me. It’s a hollow victory over death.’
So many deaths...Marston Moor and afterwards, Oxford. He had run at life, stumbled into the path of innocent people, and he had survived while they had died.
‘Jonathan?’ She touched his hand. The merest brush but she may as well have branded him with fire.




Once upon a time a little girl went to visit an old house in an obscure corner of Worcestershire, called Harvington Hall. The house creaked and groaned with a history dating back to the Middle Ages. The little girl had never seen anything so old... so mysterious... and she began to imagine a world of people who may have lived in this old house called the Thornton family.



AS aged 11 on her first visit to Harvington Hall in 1969
The old house and the cast of imaginary inhabitants lived on with the little girl as she grew up and over the years she scribbled, sketched illustrations, drew family trees, floor plans and breathed life into the imaginary world.


The original Seven Ways folder complete with illustrations!
The folder became lost in the bottom of the drawer and forgotten until one day she dislocated her shoulder in a skiing accident and left alone in a ski lodge all by herself she began to write... and in no time at all she had written A B-O-O-K but she didn't know if it was a good book or a heap of rubbish.

She entered it into a contest called the Emma Darcy Award run by the Romance Writers of Australia and it came second, so she began to think maybe this book wasn't a terrible story. She entered it into a big contest in England called the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize and it was long listed... but alas none of the publishers she sent it was interested. "It's a terrific book," they said, "but its set in the English Civil War and we can't sell stories set in that period of history."


Just in case you wonder what an actual manuscript looks like...
This made the writer of the B-O-O-K very sad and she put the story away in the actual sock drawer (this was in the days before cyber sock drawers) and then a little miracle happened - called Ebooks and suddenly there was a publisher who liked the B-O-O-K and so it was finally published but there was a problem. No one had invented ebook readers... and even though it won the Epic Award for "Best Historical Romance",  not enough people bought the B-O-O-K and after a little while it went back into the sock drawer. 

Still the little girl inside the author dreamed about the old house and its imaginary family... Not just one story but the story of the house and the family on through the ages.

Then one day she mentioned it to her lovely publisher (Escape Publishing) and her publisher thought it was a good story and they had an idea to make three interwoven stories - THE GUARDIANS OF THE CROWN series.

So today, March 22, BY THE SWORD - that little story begun so many, many years ago, begins a whole new life as the first in a trilogy spanning the years of the Interregnum from 1650-1660.

It will always be the B-O-O-K of my heart... I hope you enjoy reading about Jonathan and Kate's adventures as much as I loved writing about them. 

TO BUY:
BY THE SWORD is available as an ebook only from all reputable book stores:
Barnes and Noble (Nook)
iBooks
Kobo
For a complete listing visit Escape Publishing







8 comments:

  1. And the author and the characters lived happily ever after. It's a wonderful story Alison!

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  2. Thanks Elizabeth... I am having fun paying a visit with them in Book 3 at the moment :-) I think there is a store house of Thorntons of Seven Ways stories to be explored.

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  3. Hurrrah. A must read! Oh lordy, so know about sock drawers!!! I have a full back list of pre-published novels awaiting reincarnation, and although the spirit is willing, time marches and I have new characters holding sway on my every waking hour: when they're not plaguing within dreams. Plus I love reading, so will now look forward to meeting Thomas Thornton's distant relatives... ;) Best, F

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    1. I think that is so funny that we have independently written about characters in the same era with similar names! They are sure to be distant cousins :-)

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  4. Definitely on the list. Great story of its rebirth, alison!

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    1. Thanks, Dee :-) Like a phoenix it keeps rising back up, although hopefully in a slightly better form!

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  5. Wonderful! Congratulations on holding strong and getting into print. That is another happy ending. Looking forward to sharing your characters world. (:-)

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    1. Thanks, Susan. So ironic to be published by a Harlequin imprint... when Harlequin Historicals rejected it all those years ago. A reflection on how the publishing industry has changed.

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