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September 2008: The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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michellemoran
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Postby michellemoran » Fri September 19th, 2008, 11:27 pm

Actually, Julianne, my publishing house had nothing to say about it! I kept asking my editor, "Is this okay?" and, "Are you sure this is going to be all right?" but Crown Publishers allows its authors to explore any historical avenue they choose so long as their books are compellingly written.

Other authors I know are overruled by their editors and told not only what sex the narrator of their books should be (always female) but what POV (almost always first person). I find this appalling. I don't know how widespread the practice is (hopefully not very), but I can tell you with certainty that it happens. Thankfully, it doesn't happen (that I know of) at Crown.
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diamondlil
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Postby diamondlil » Fri September 19th, 2008, 11:35 pm

Almost always first person POV - very interesting!

I know a lot of readers who don't particularly like reading books written in first person.
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EC2
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Postby EC2 » Fri September 19th, 2008, 11:39 pm

"diamondlil" wrote:Almost always first person POV - very interesting!

I know a lot of readers who don't particularly like reading books written in first person.


The received wisdom is that it is harder to sell - not just to readers but to editors in the first place - although obviously it is done.
As a reader I don't mind either.
Michelle, I'm glad that Crown don't interfere with your muse!
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For never will cowards fall down there.'

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michellemoran
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Postby michellemoran » Sat September 20th, 2008, 12:23 am

HA! Thank you EC. I believe you're right and it is a harder sell. Plus, as Diamondlil points out, many people prefer third person. I suspect it has something to do with the success of authors like Philippa Gregory, Tracy Chevalier, Anita Diamant, and Arthur Golden, all of whom wrote their biggest books in first person. Of course, there are just as many authors who write in third person and do wonderfully, but it's what's on publishers' radars.
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Divia
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Postby Divia » Sat September 20th, 2008, 12:48 am

That is interesting!

Its also nice to see that your publisher lets you be an artist and do what you think is best for the book. Refreshing I think!

And I think you are right about the first person and the latest hits espically with Gregory. She seems to overshadow the entire genre. I like what she did, but I'd like something different thrown in there too.
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Julianne Douglas
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Postby Julianne Douglas » Sat September 20th, 2008, 2:18 am

I was wondering whether Crown had wanted the Moses episode to be more prominent in the book. It really doesn't surface until pretty far in, and even then, it's always secondary to N's quest to be named Chief Wife. I thought perhaps they might have wanted you to exploit it as an angle to widen your readership to people who were familiar with that story.

I posted some comments on first and third person in the poll thread. I've noticed, too, that many of the HF books that have done extremely well have been written in first. I've never had an editor say they wished mine was in first instead of third, but I was wondering whether I should try to write the second one in first. I don't know if I could pull it off, though. My third person is so close it's almost first, but I still retain the ability to get inside other characters' heads in separate chapters.
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Telynor
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Postby Telynor » Sat September 20th, 2008, 4:32 am

Well, I found the Moses bits interesting if a little jarring (out of courtesy I will refrain from saying anything), and I kept seeing Anne Baxter as Nefertari in this....

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michellemoran
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Postby michellemoran » Sat September 20th, 2008, 5:13 am

Hi Telynor: I'm sorry to hear you found them jarring. And no need to be courteous. If you didn't like it, I understand.

Julianne: Truthfully, Crown wouldn't have cared if I had left out the Moses story all together. After all, there is no archaeological evidence for Moses's existence, so my including him (or someone like him) was purely creative license.

As for first versus third, my advice is to write what you write best. I know that's terribly cliche, but I think it's true. Look how far your voice in third has already taken your career. It's only the beginning for you!
Last edited by michellemoran on Sat September 20th, 2008, 3:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Susan
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Postby Susan » Sat September 20th, 2008, 4:03 pm

Michelle, you have me hooked! I got The Heretic Queen the day after it was published and I am already halfway done. I rarely read this much during the school year. Last night I went to bed by 9 PM exhausted from a week of teaching. I woke up at 1 AM and spent the next two hours reading. I really did not want to stop reading, but I knew I had to get some sleep.
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Susan
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Postby Susan » Sat September 20th, 2008, 4:09 pm

"Telynor" wrote:I kept seeing Anne Baxter as Nefertari in this....


I don't think that is all that odd! Whenever I read about Eleanor of Aquitaine, I see Katharine Hepburn. I haven't pictured Nefertari as Anne Baxter because the character starts out as a 13 year old. And thanks to Michelle's description of a red-haired Ramesses, I have not pictured Ramesses as Yul Brynner!
~Susan~
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