How did the book come out?
First of all, thank you, Michell, for letting me come on to your blog and talk about my new book, Winter’s Secrets. This is a project that has been near and dear to my heart for the last several years, and finally seeing it in published form has been awesome. It’s been a long ride, though.
Molly, Schrodinger and Carter’s Cove came into being as part of an Advent story that I first created back in 2010 as a present for my fans. I’ve always loved Advent calendars: we had a large paper calendar when I was a child, a Victorian house decorated for Christmas. Every day, Santa would move one room closer to the living room, where the Christmas tree and all its presents waited for him. I’m not an artist, so I couldn’t draw a calendar, but I came up with a story that I wrote and released every day (well, let’s be honest – it was almost every day).
The story involved a kitchen witch named Molly, and Schrodinger, the CrossCat who lived with her. Someone started sending her Christmas carols, one a day, and she had to figure out who it was, and why. I really didn’t have much of a plan, other than a list of my favorite Christmas carols, so I used that as my outline, letting the songs determine what I was going to write that day.
I had no idea it was going to be so popular. I had some regular readers who followed along, but I figured it was a one-time thing, and that was it. The next year, I was busy, and didn’t get another story written.
Boy, was THAT a mistake.
I got emails. I got private messages on LiveJournal and Facebook. I got direct messages, all asking me when the next Carter’s Cove story was coming out. Suddenly, I had an actual world that I needed to explore more.
So I did another Advent story that second year (after a year off). And another. Then people started asking when I was going to make them available as actual books.
It’s a large step from a first draft blog story to a finished book. When I write the blog posts, I don’t do a lot of editing. It’s pretty much a first draft of a story. Once I finally decided that yes, I was going to publish these as actual books, I realized just how much work I was going to have to do to turn this into a decent publishable piece.
The first thing I did was a full re-read and rewrite. Then, I hired an editor, and sent it to her. She worked her magic, and sent me back a lot of good advice. Then I rewrote it again, and sent it back to her.
My cover was designed by an amazing cover artist, and my book was put together by a great book designer. I paid for both of them. I did the proofreading myself.
You may be wondering why I decided to self-publish these, rather than pitch them to an established house. Well, they’re novellas, for the most part, and they’re rather niche. I could have pitched them to an e-publisher, but I really wanted to have actual paper books. So I decided to go it on my own.
It was a conscious decision, and one that I budgeted for. I’m very happy with the result.
Winter’s Secrets: Year 1 of the Carter’s Cove Advent Series is available via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Secrets-Carters-Advent-Story/dp/1944672028?ie=UTF8&keywords=val%20griswold-ford&qid=1465352889&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1. The e-book will be coming soon. You can find me at www.vg-ford.com, on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/vgford?ty=h.
And yes, there will be a sixth Advent story on the blog this Christmas.
In the interest of transparency, I think I was probably one of those people harassing Val that second year. Carter’s Cove is truly a magical place that I rank right up there with Narnia. Such wonderful stories, I for one am ecstatic to see the stories coming out.
I cannot recommend this book enough!