Thursday, 24 January 2008

Wow, who's the cool chick in the deer stalker?

Sunny, highs minus 8

Michael and I are in Toronto now. All showered up and ready for the event tonight at the Toronto Reference Library with fellow crime writer (and McArthur club member) John Brady. Spent all of today doing what I think are the final revisions on book 4. Hope Dellon, my editor at St. Martin's Minotaur in New York got back with her notes. Very few changes, thank God! Still, it took me 6 hours. Granted, a lot of that was re-reading passages and doing my own fine-tuning. Taking out a word here and there. Trying to make it as lean as possible, the meaning as clear as possible. No unnecessary words. My prose will never be skeletal, don't want it to be. But still, each word should have a purpose, if only in setting scene and tone.

It's an exciting process - and I know Hope's and Sherise's notes (Sherise Hobbs, my editor at Headline in London) make the books so much stronger. It's quite unusual to have two main editors. Normally one country buys the book first and subsequent countries simply take the already edited manuscript. But NY and London bought the series on exactly the same day. (Thrilling day for me!) So, voila, two editors. I think we were all a little nervous about how it would work, but it's been fabulous. It angers and saddens me when people say women can't work together. That hasn't been my experience at all. Hope and Sherise really try to accommodate each other, and respect each other, and respect me (which is, after all the MOST important thing).

I remember listening to the wonderful Jacqueline Winspear on a panel and being asked about her editors and she had the best answer. She said that while she was writing the book belonged to her, and her alone. But once she'd finished and sent it off, it then belonged to the team. Of which she was a member - but only one member. Each member (agent, editor, publisher, publicist) had a right to a say.

I loved that. I love collaberation. Perhaps because I can blame others, always handy. But I find it makes for a much stronger book. Not a committee - but thoughtful people working to make sure the story is clear and clearly told. Thrilling.

Heard from Teresa (my agent) today that Estonia has bought the series. Very exciting.

And the event Tuesday night in Montreal was simply (and unexpectedly) fantastic! Snowing like all get-out - tons of the stuff. All day. And blowing. Very difficult driving. Michael and I wondered the best way to even get to the event, which was downtown at the McGill University Bookstore. Parking is terrible at the best of times and this was pretty close to the worst of times. In fact, a lot of people thought the event would be cancelled. But they don't know me and a potential audience! We took the bus. Budgeted an hour and a half to get there, and got there in 20 minutes. always the way.

Lots of people too. Really great atmosphere. Kim Stephenson, who helped organize the event, was fantastic. But you know what really blew me away? The organization of the McGill Alumni. they sent announcements to 65-thousand grads, around the world. Now, the furtherest anyone came was from the West Island (about 10 miles) - and, of course, Estonia. (kidding).

I was so grateful to the 60 or so people who did come. It really was a dreadful night. And people did come from a distance. But I think that added to the atmosphere. We felt like the courageous, or insane, few.

If you were one of the ones there on Tuesday at McGill - thank you!

Still no title for book 4. The trouble is we have a couple of great titles and we're just trying them out. We're close. Will tell you when one rises to the top.

Must run. Am sitting in a bathrobe in front of a picture window almost flashing downtown Toronto. Sauve qui peut.

Taryn, from McArthur, is picking Michael and me up at ten to six. The good librarians at the Toronto Reference Library have arranged a private tour of their quite extensive Arthur Conan Doyle collection tonight before the event! I was such a Holmes buff growing up. Spent first year university in a deer stalker. Can't tell me that's not cool. So this should be fun.

Back to Montreal on the train tomorrow. Nice to know book 4 is finished. (Though I've thought that before).

Be safe, keep warm.

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