Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Adventure Begins: Avon Buys Lord Lightning

Publishers Marketplace: Dealmaker: Avon (Imprint)

Jenny Brown's debut LORD LIGHTNING, the first in an astrology-themed series ... to Tessa Woodward at Avon, in a three-book deal, at auction, Emmanuelle Alspaugh at Judith Ehrlich Literary Management

Jenny Brown is my maiden name. I'm using it because I've used Janet Ruhl and Jenny Ruhl on other published nonfiction books.

This is a life-long dream come true and my excitement is tempered only by the fact that I have to produce another book as good as Lord Lightning for delivery next June.

What makes me the happiest about this sale, besides the fact it happened, is that Lord Lightning is the kind of historical romance I love to read. The details of the historical setting are accurate. The language has the feel of early 19th century prose, though it flows easily enough that a 21st century reader will enjoy it. My characters are driven by motivations that make sense in the context of their times. My characters are not only passionate and involved, they are witty and intelligent. If you enjoy Jane Austen and the genre of Jane Austen continuations, you will probably love this book.

Even the astrology my heroine uses is real astrology rooted in the techniques used in the Regency period. Astrologers will find birth data at the end of the book so they can create their own charts for my protagonists. But don't let the astrology scare you off. You don't need to believe in astrology to enjoy this compelling love story.

I'm pretty sure that it was the astrological theme that finally made me that rarest of aspiring novelists, the "debut author." That's because it helped me solve what some Regency writers call "the problem of the 10,000 dukes." Thousands of Regency romances have been published over the past 90 years, all of them set in the same, brief time period. Authors have created thousands more noblemen heroes than ever sat in the House of Lords in the Regency period or, for that matter, in all the centuries before or after it. Every detail found in every possible primary source has been worked into a plot by any one of dozens of talented authors and by hundreds of not so talented ones. This makes breaking in very hard, and I am very glad I was able to offer publishers something new, and even gladder I could do it in a way that did not involve zombies.

But none of this touches on what everyone is asking me about. So I'll cut to the chase: Yes, Lord Lightning does have sex scenes--and yes, they're hot. Not all my research has been confined to reading medical journals.

I don't have a firm publication date yet, but my wonderful agent believes it will be November 2010. That seems like a long time to wait, but I'll just have to live with it. I've been waiting to publish a novel since I was in elementary school.

From time to time I'll be posting here about Lord Lightning's progress and on other topics related to the novels and the astrological ideas that play a part in the series.

In case you wonder about the title of this blog, the whole series is tentatively named "Lords of the Seventh House." The Seventh House is the part of the chart that describes a person's marriage. In traditional astrology the "Lord" of a house is the planet whose own placement has a strong impact on how the house expresses itself in the person's life. Regency romance is all about Lords, of course, so I hope the title gives a hint of the fun that awaits readers.

Each of my books will feature a hero with a different Sun sign. Since I take the astrology seriously, the sun sign is only a starting point. Each hero has an entire chart filled with all the other planets that provide nuance and internal conflict.

I wish my readers didn't have to wait SO long to read about my deliciously wicked bad boy Leo, but that's how publishing works.

Meanwhile, it's back to work for me on my second hero, the Scorpio. . . .