I thought I'd blog today about my first published novel, A Most Unusual Governess.

My path to publication was fairly typical. I had always written as a hobby but when I decided to try for publication, I had to decide what kind of book to write. I loved Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, so I decided to write a Regency. I had heard somewhere that publishers would look at the first 3 chapters of a book and so I wrote 3 chapters and sent them off to a well known publisher. Back came a letter saying that the heroine was too young and the hero was too nice.

In fact, the seventeen-year-old was not the heroine, the hero was going to end up with her older sister, but it was clear from the letter that there was no point in saying this. If I wanted them to look again, I had to write another novel.

Then followed a frustrating few years as I had positive feedback but nevertheless rejection.

Then I sat down to write A Most Unusual Governess. I took on board all the advice I'd been given. My hero was not too nice, my heroine was spirited, I had included an adventure - in fact, I did everything the publishers said they wanted. I loved the book and sent it off with high hopes, and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.

Anyone who's ever tried to find a publisher will know this feeling!

After three months, I sent a polite enquiry. Back came the reply, they hadn't had time to look at it yet.

After six months, I sent another polite enquiry. Back came the reply, they hadn't had time to look at it yet.

After a year, I sent another polite enquiry. Back came a rejection letter. They didn't want adevnturous sub plots any more, they wanted the book to be entirely about the hero and heroine.

At this point, I decided to give up. Any advice I was given was out of date by the time I had written the book, and they had had time to read it.

But I still loved my hero and heroine, and so I decided to make a list of every publisher who might look at the book. And then, if they all rejected it, I decided I would go back to writing for myself.

Luckily for me, the next publisher I tried - Robert Hale Ltd - loved it. And so began a long and happy association, stretching over ten years. My UK hardbacks still come out with Hale!

I am still very fond of Sarah, my outspoken governess who was forced into the role when her parents' death left her poverty-stricken. And I am still very fond of James, whose arrogance masked a good heart, a heart Sarah uncovered.

The hardback is now out of print, although you might be able to find a copy in your local library, but I'm pleased to say it has just been reissued as an ebook / Kindle.

Here's the opening of the book:

‘Out with it, Constance!’

Lady Constance Templeton, startled out of her reverie, almost dropped her porcelain teacup in surprise. ‘Really, Isabelle!’ she retorted, once she had recovered herself. ‘I don’t know what you mean.’

The two ladies, both vigorous despite being over seventy years of age, were taking tea in the splendid drawing-room of Templeton House. It was a hot afternoon in the summer of 1814, and the tall windows were open to let in the cooling breeze.

‘How long have we known each other?’ demanded Isabelle, fixing her friend with a shrewd eye.

‘I don’t see what that has to do with anything,’ returned Lady Constance evasively.

‘Oh, don’t you?’ snorted Isabelle. She put down her cup with a determined clatter. ‘We have been friends for the best part of fifty years, Constance, and I know instinctively when something is wrong. And something is wrong now. No, don’t bother denying it,’ she said, with a firm shake of her head. ‘I won’t be put off. And I won’t rest until I know what it is. Although, from the way your eyes keep drifting to the portrait of your nephew, I can guess. It is my belief it has something to do with James.’

As she spoke, her own eyes turned to the large portrait that hung above the magnificent Adam fireplace. It was of a strikingly handsome young man, with black hair and coal black eyes. High cheekbones and a determined chin defined his face, in the same way that long, firm limbs and a broad chest defined his body. Strong hands held the reins of the stallion he was riding, and although the animal was rearing he controlled it with an air of arrogant ease.

The cover on the left is the hardback, and on the right it's the ebook cover.

A Most Unusual Governess A Most Unusual Governess by Amanda Grange A Most Unusual Governess by Amanda Grange
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Published on August 13, 2011 00:41 • 611 views • Tags: amanda-grange, governess, regency

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Amanda Grange

Amanda Grange
A blog about writing, my books, Jane Austen, the Regency and more
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