I just turned in the copy-edited manuscript for Without a Summer and am now starting work on Shades of Milk and Honey. What? Haven’t I written that book already? Yes, but Constable & Robinson is bringing out a UK edition and when my editor there, Sarah Castleton, asked if I wanted to make any changes I jumped at the chance. There are anachronisms in the book that I didn’t catch when I was writing it, or even when the paperback came out that I’m going to tidy. Most of this is language stuff.
The thing that I’m really looking forward to though is the new ending.
Yeah. I thought that might catch your attention. Here’s what happened. When I wrote Shades of Milk and Honey originally, I wrote it as a standalone and tied everything up in a neat bow. Liz Gorinsky, my editor at Tor, worried that it was too tidy and that people might not realize there were sequels. So I cut stuff. Most notably, what happens to Mr. Dunkirk and Beth.
In hindsight, I should have just rewritten the very end because it wraps up too quickly now. Some of that is my roots as a short story writer, where my training is to dismount, stick the landing and cut, but with novels, people want to see you walk off the floor. It’s a way to ease back into the real world, which is wanted when you’ve been immersed for so long. I’ve said before that if I had a chance to do it over, I’d rewrite the ending, and now I’ve got that chance.
Currently, I’m just running it through my Jane Austen spellcheck dictionary. Who knew that “cornflower-blue eyes” were an anachronism by nearly 100 years?
Oh… and it gets a new cover, too. More on that later.