When I got home from work an email was waiting for me from my editor at Nimbus. They had put together a draft for the back cover copy and she wanted me to go over it to see if there were any errors or problems. I have to admit when the book came out in the fall catalogue I figured the write- up that accompanied it would appear on the back cover. Apparently I was mistake and if the truth be told I’m not disappointed because there are elements in the story that didn’t appear in the write-up in the fall catalogue. Luckily that has now been changed and what is to appear on the back of the book is totally different. I guess back in the spring the main objective was to get the book into the catalogue.
I genuinely like the back cover copy except for the first few lines which depicts Dalhousie as a “desolate, despondent place” where people generally ”keep to themselves” also a place where the fields are “unchecked.” As you all know, the setting for the book is my own little community, and we are a small community by anyone’s standards, but despondent and desolate sounds a bit too bleak to me.
Even though “Bitter, Sweet,” is set sixty years ago I can say with much certainty that those two words would not be an accurate description of the community. Back sixty years ago people would have had a little family farm and many of them would have made their living in the woods and they were very sociable if given half a chance.
I’m not overly concerned about this issue because I know it can be easily fixed. My editor has been terrific and seems quite keen on making me happy. I know she wouldn’t want any of the good folks here to be offended. When you’re born and raised in a place those roots run very deep. I know because as I grow older I feel a connection to this community that I didn’t feel as strongly when I was growing up. When you have lived in a place all your life you know you belong there, that you are a part of the history and that history is a part of you. In fact, knowing the people of the community the way I do, there would be some who would be highly offended by this use of language to describe the community, present or past.. Now mind you, we are talking about fiction here but I still feel a certain obligation on my part to put forth an accurate and respectful depiction of my community. After all, this is going off into the world and will be read by others. Not only that, I want to feel good about it myself. So problem solved, I’ll just fire off an email and give my editor another direction in which to take this. I’m really not worried.
This is my last weekend with the ms. No more twelve hour days, I’m now in the tweaking stage..I’ll soon be ready to loosen my grip!!