tgobWe’ve been following Connie Brockway’s Adventures in Publishing for some months now and – ta da! – the wait is almost over.  One week from today The Other Guy’s Bride, her eBook of the sequel to As You Desire will be available from Amazon, with the print edition following one month later.

But, for five lucky readers the wait might not be that long.  AAR and Amazon are giving away five copies of The Other Guy’s Bride.  And, just to make sure everybody is happy, winners can choose whether or not they want the eBook edition or a print copy.  Those who choose the eBook will get their prize right away.  Winners who choose the print book will have to wait until early December to receive their copy.

To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment to this post by Thursday, November 17th at 11:59 p.m., eastern time. Since this giveaway is designed to get early books into the hands of those who might not otherwise have access, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Also, due to high postage costs and geographical restrictions, this giveaway is open only to those who live in the U.S. or Canada.

Ready for the next chapter in Connie’s Adventures?  Let’s hear from her:

Connie, The Other Guy’s Bride certainly felt to me like a true sequel to As You Desire since it’s got the wit and the romance that the first book was so famous for.  Could you tell our readers a bit about the plot?

Young, semi-gifted archeologist Ginesse Braxton takes the place of “another guy’s bride” in order to make her way to a fortress deep in the Sahara desert, a fortress near where she is sure she will find the lost city of Zerzura. Paying off a debt of honor by escorting the onerous Colonel Pomfrey’s bride-to-be is adventurer, ne’er-do-will, definitely hot American, Jim Owens. Neither of them have time for love, and honor insists they ignore the growing attraction between them, but fate, and Ginesse’s propensity for getting into trouble, keeps offering up passion filled opportunities that their hearts can’t refuse.

How fun was it to revisit Harry and Dizzy?

A blast. I don’t know about you but when I get together with college friends I am always  amused at what sort of parents they ended up being—especially since most of them swore they’d never have kids. So it was fun to imagine what type of father Harry would be to a pack of miscreant sons and how Dizzy would mother her offspring. I also wanted to know what time would have done to them. Would Dizzy be in the kitchen stirring pots of Brunswick stew or scarab aging elixirs? Does Harry go legit or does he continue straddling a murky legal line?

A typical Connie Brockway (well, in your lighter books, anyway) is brainy and a bit out of step with the times in which she lives.  Your heroes tend to be…well, kind of guy-like. Are these your favorite characters to write?

Spot-on! I enjoy writing about a brainy heroine for the simple reason that I have to spend months and months in her company. Characters with lively imaginations, who are inquisitive and a little uncomfortable in their worlds are interesting. They offer up more potential for conflict and turmoil, especially when paired with a “guy” hero.

I love guys.

There’s such a neat simplicity to a “guy” —an elegant simplicity, really— a sort straightforward thought process that, while direct and clear-cut, can so easily be de-railed by the unexpected. Like a woman. Or falling in love. I like guys’ decency, their sense of irony and self-deprecation. And their abs.

I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of TOGB and I loved it.  What’s the early reader reaction been?

First, thank you, and second, pretty much what you said <G> Good. Really good! Starred reviews fro Library Journal and Booklist. Which is especially nice as I went into this project with a good measure of trepidation. I was concerned about whether I could create unique characters that nonetheless echoed something of Harry and Dizzy in As You Desire. After all, Ginesse is their kid. It only makes sense that she would have some of the qualities that made readers fall in love with her parents. At the same time, those characteristics —impulsiveness, romanticism, Harry’s insecurities about his education (trying to make sure there’s no spoilers here) etc —would manifest themselves in different ways.  And being the eldest in a pack of wild younger brothers Ginesse would express herself in more physical ways then most young ladies. (Yup. I walloped my brother.)

You’re venturing into a Brave New World with the publication of this book by Amazon Montlake.  Could you tell us a bit about the process of working with Amazon as opposed to traditional New York publishers?

The writing part is essentially the same. I wrote the book, sent the manuscript off to my editor, the wonderful Charlotte Herscher, who read it carefully then returned a detailed editorial letter. I then made the editorial changes and back it went to Charlotte who signed off on the manuscript. From there it went to the copy editor’s desk. She did a line edit and returned the manuscript (this is all done via PDF) with notations. I made the copy edits. Back it went to Amazon where changes and stets were incorporated. It was then turned into an e-galley, my last look-see before it was turned into production. See? Exactly like New York.

As for the marketing part of publishing, the part that includes cover design, added material, back copy, outreach etc. My experience with Amazon has been much more of a collaborative one. I was told from the onset that my vision of the book would always be the most important one. And that’s pretty much held true. For example, I wasn’t satisfied with the cover’s initial incarnation. I felt it didn’t relate enough about the book’s tone or time period. Amazon not only listened, they actually hired the cover artist I suggested. I also wanted old photographs of Egypt to be included in the eBook and by heaven, they made it happen.

That part, creating the “added value” part of the eBook experience has been creatively so gratifying. On my Web site I’m getting ready to launch a mini The Other Guy’s Bride page, where you can read some of Ginesse’s journal entries and postcards. I’m also challenging you to see if you can spy some strange person in Ginesse’s hoard of old photographs.

Now, I realize this is a honeymoon situation with Montlake, but it is extremely gratifying to be kept apprised of what is going on with your book step by step. It gives one a false sense of empowerment. Which is good enough for me.

What is the best thing about working with Amazon?

Best? I would have to say their ability to reach readers who might not have otherwise heard about me or read me.

You took a detour a few years ago abandoning historical romance (sob!) and wrote a few contemporaries.  Was this your choice or was it publisher directed?   And, on a secondary note, did you ever feel creatively constrained by traditional publishers?

It was completely my choice and wonderful Claire Zion at NAL supported me a hundred per cent.  I had written fifteen historical romances, almost all of them set between 1815 and 1890 and in the British Isles, and felt the need to work with a fresh voice.  I loved writing those books and I’m very proud of them.

As to your second note, yes. I would be surprised if any moderately successful author didn’t feel the pinch of reader expectation or the grim spectator of past success nipping at her heels, especially when she’s in the process of writing a proposal. But I do want to make clear that no one has ever told me I had to write a specific story. Whether or not to follow a suggestion to write a certain type of story that historically sold well was always my decision. But it’s a Catch 22 proposition, because in order get the exposure you need to be successful, you also need to write stories that sell and in order to sell, you need to have exposure and what with the closing of so many bookstores and the shrinking shelf space that’s very hard to do.

So, what’s next?  And can you promise that Giles book is coming?  And when? Pretty please?

Yes, ma’am! I’m fully committed to writing Giles Strand’s story. Will it be next? That I don’t know. Believe me, I fuddle daily with Giles’ story but I’m not going to write it just to get it done and out of the way. I have to find the prefect form to hang the story on. The question now is, how dark do I want to go? Well, Sandy? How dark is too dark?

Thanks so much, Sandy, for giving me a forum in which to document my Adventures in Publishing.

You’re very welcome, Connie.  Following your Adventures has been truly Adventurous!  Readers, remember to comment by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday for your chance to win one of five copies of the fantabulous The Other Guy’s Bride.

– Sandy AAR

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