Monday, October 31, 2011

New Life for First Novels

Today we have a guest post from writer Lyn Cote, whose historical and contemporary fiction has won many awards, including this year's CAROL from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her books have also been named finalists for romance writing's highest honor, the RITA, and the HOLT Medallion and the National Readers Choice Award. 
Lyn approaches her historical fiction this way:

I prefer to take history and gently fit my characters into the historical setting as if they were a true part of it. Many times when I do my research for a new story, I find that the true events are more wonderful than anything I could have made up. One example of this was in my WWII book, Bette. I read that before WWII, two Nazi agents were walking in NY City and arguing. The argument became so heated that they walked out into traffic and one was hit by a car and killed. The Nazis were being followed at the time and the FBI agent was able to find important papers on the dead Nazi. So I used this scene in my book. I mean--could I think of anything more bizarre?
Recently, Lyn went back to her beginnings. And for anyone toiling on their first book -- especially while taking care of little kids -- Lyn's story should give you hope. Her first novel La Belle Christiane is now available on Amazon and Nook sites for .99 cents. Print copies  are also available.   
Here's a short summary of this historical romance set in the 1770s:

"Can the beautiful daughter of a French courtesan find a love that lasts for a lifetime? Beautiful Christiane Pelletier is next in a line of French courtesans. Her family has been favorites through the reigns of two monarchs. But the winds of change are sweeping Europe, and after her mother's violent murder, Christiane flees France with her renegade father. Leaving wealth and privilege behind, she survives the Canadian wilderness and later finds herself involved in the burgeoning American Revolution. But through all the changes, one man lingers in her memory. Once he was her friend; now he has become her enemy. Will he also become her destiny?"
Also, check out Lyn's website where she offers tips on writing and self-publishing. 

First Book, Now Available 
                    by Lyn Cote
When I began writing my first manuscript, I literally ran after my two toddlers with a clipboard in my hand and wrote whenever they paused! I wrote that story without knowing anything about writing or marketing fiction. In fact, I told myself just to write the book and then I'd think about polishing and marketing it. The thought of that was overwhelming at that time. It took me three years of writing to finish my first manuscript-1,000 handwritten pages. Whew!
I found out that while it garnered interest from agents and editors, it never found a publisher. I think that's because there are "unwritten" rules for inspirational fiction and I didn't know them or follow them. I still think it's a good story and I've revised it and improved it once more. And now it's FINALLY available in digital and print. I did this because I didn't want it to sit ignored in my files forever. So now I'll let the readers decide whether it deserved to be published or not. I hope you agree with me and let others know about it. 
                               -- Lyn

                                                        First page excerpt from Chapter One

British Canada, July 1774
Tonight, I’ll lie beside some stranger as his wife. Christiane blinked away the bright morning sunlight but could not blink away the dread. Once again she had embarked on another journey that would change her life. She sat between her Algonquin father Shaw-nee-awk-kee and his son in a birch bark canoe. To the rhythm of the dipping paddles, they were gliding farther down the Ottawa River. In the cramped space, she hugged her knees to herself and pressed her forehead against her tattered skirt. 
She glanced sideways into the remorseless current, wishing for time, for control. But instead, the river, shimmering with molten sunlight, gave her glimmers of the past--candlelight on silver, soft lace against skin, frosting on the tip of the tongue. But she’d fled France with her father, here to Canada and then. . . She thrust all thoughts of the past year aside. She had to face today. Tonight, I’ll be some stranger’s wife
The thought brought fear, a rush of sensation—as if the bottom of the canoe, her protection, parted, and she was plunged into the cool water. She fought her way to the surface of this feeling, gasping for air, pushing down panic. She pressed her face harder against her knees. I will not shame myself. Ever.


  1. Thanks! That is encouraging to us yet-to-be-published writers with several projects in the mix. I sometimes wonder if my early stories will ever be published or if they're destined to rot in various notebooks (yep, they're so old they predate my use of a word processor). :-) But it's good to know that published authors can revisit their original writing dreams, brush them up and offer them to their readers in other venues. I would totally pay to read unpubbed firsts from my favorite novelists if they were available!

  2. Abigail, I'm glad Lyn's circumstances encouraged you. With electronic publishing, there certainly is a place for "notebook novels." :-)

    I agree with you about first novels by favorite authors, too. Isn't it interesting to see how/where they began?

  3. Abigail, I do have one early novel that I have NOT kept moving forward with technology. It's on the old hard disks and will stay there. I will encourage you to hang in there! Thanks for having me, Sibella!

  4. Lyn, it was my pleasure. Come back again!