The Slow Food movement stands for taking pleasure in cooking, eating, and sharing meals with others.
I thought: why not Slow Read Weekends? Theoretically, the weekend is the time to take a break, take breath and savor life.* (I say theoretically because when my children were younger, weekends were sports and activities and a bewildered stare at my husband on Sunday night wondering where the 48 hours had gone.) And sometimes you really want to share the love of a book or an author in a larger space than Facebook.
So let’s start a regular thing here on the blog, shall we? What are you reading/savoring this weekend? (It doesn’t have to be a Nora Roberts or a JD Robb.) What reading pleasures have you explored recently? Sharing recommendations with other readers is the best way to keep the reading community healthy and growing.
I’m devouring Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Legion because I can’t wait for her Archangel’s Shadow this fall (I’ve been waiting for Janvier and Ashwini’s story for sooooo long). How about you?
* Now that it’s spring, Nora savors life by digging in the garden to create her annual palette of color. So share your gardening thoughts as well!
Thank you to everyone who took part in the recent conversations both here and on Facebook. It’s an interesting, fascinating — at times frustrating — exercise to share information with well over a half million people worldwide. You have to deal with a lot of questions and hand out a lot of disappointment along with lovely, satisfying dollops of exciting news and conversation.
The center of this blog and the pages on Facebook are a writer and her books. You may not love every single book. I don’t love every single book. But I do anticipate each one and enjoy the worlds Nora/JD bring to me.
I’ve read Nora’s books from nearly the beginning of her career. Actually, The Law is a Lady was the first book I remember consciously thinking “I want more from this author.” Over the years as a reader then a colleague, I’ve read them all. Some I reread regularly, some I enjoy and then just put away. I’ve got my favorites (Naked in Death, The Villa, Three Fates) and my least favorite — for some reason it’s Born in Ice (I know, people loooooooove that book). But books are a personal thing for me. I don’t share I just enjoy.
In this easily accessible social media life we’re leading everyone has an opinion — Nora/JD included. But the word “opinion” doesn’t come with a gold-plated shield allowing a poster to be rude and presume to know what an author does and why under the umbrella of opinion.
What I saw in Nora’s recent posts was humor and a great deal of patience for and a respectful nod to readers’ opinions and requests. (Please remember the humor and patience have been honed over 30 years — what’s a fabulous question about a book to a new reader is usually one she’s heard many times over.)
Neither Nora nor I expect herd mentality here. Every book will not be perfect for every reader. It’s not a fairy tale world full of rainbows and sparkles. Posts with dissenting points of view stay in the comments. Here and on Facebook.
I’ve wondered over and over how come so many people love the humor of Nora’s heroines, but don’t quite like it when humor is used to illustrate that while readers may pine for certain events in the In Deaths or multiple additions to a series that’s finished (please see the Brides and the Quinns and the MacGregors) those things will never happen. Somehow that’s interpreted as condescension or mocking when all it is is the answer no,
A great deal of my time is spent saying no. The reader email is full of requests Nora outlined in Comas and Kidnappings and Orphans. Oh my! (those weren’t even the most jaw dropping requests) and I can’t answer them with half the humor Nora does. A reader once wrote asking why the FAQ page on Nora’s websitewas so negative. I could see her point because the FAQ is mainly made up of answers to those requests for something more. Those answers invariably disappoint someone.
It’s an endless cycle. Sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it just makes me laugh because readers in general are a hopeful sort. I spent years asking for stories about children in a certain Silhouette series when they got to be adults. Years. And Nora was about to start those stories when she left that publisher. So I feel the pain about wanting, needing more. I really, really do.
Bottom line? Here’s why I can answer those questions with disappointing answers over and over:
Nora has given me three decades of wonder. I’ll bet she’s given that to many readers.
She’s a proven commodity to me and I trust that she will take me to places I didn’t even know I wanted to visit. I trust that I’ll have a fabulous time going to those places and meeting new characters who I’ll miss when I’m done.
Readers will outgrow authors. I’ve done it more than once. I know Nora has too. Sometimes you just need a break and return with vigor. Sometimes you are done and are sad that an author’s books no longer work for you.
That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.
So the request going forward is to share your thoughts. Positive or negative, please express those opinions in ways that don’t go over the line of respectful conversation. If you can’t do that, then please just don’t post. Walk away and find a new author. We wish you only the best and hope you find the stories that you need.
For me? I’ll just continue to trust that Nora will continue to tell me grand stories.
In the recent discussion we could call Procreation In Death, readers tossed out a lot of ideas about plot direction, story additions, plot devices. It’s gratifying to know books and characters I created resonate with readers and have them thinking of what ifs and what’s next.
Characters, like Eve and Roarke and the gang, or like Lila and Ash in my most recent book, The Collector, become a major part of my life. It’s incredibly satisfying when they become a part of a reader’s life.
Now here’s the thing. It’s sort of a big, sweeping thing. There are many, many readers with many, many opinions, feelings, hopes, ideas. As we can see, just as one example from the previous discussion, some readers are as opposed to a Baby Roarke as I am at this time. Others long for one.
So who do I listen to? I listen to the characters–and myself. If I listened to the readers I’d go slowly mad as it’s impossible to please all as one readers says this, another says that. Often with equal passion.
A writer can’t write, not well, not truly, with a reader standing over her shoulder. If only because there’s a second reader over her other shoulder saying the exact opposite. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Neither, because books are subjective and personal, and readers are entitled to take exactly what they want out of a book.
But the writer’s the only one who puts the words, the characters, the feelings, the actions, reactions on the page for those readers to take away.
Here’s the even bigger, more sweeping thing.
I’m never–let me repeat–never, ever, ever going to take a reader’s idea and run with it. Not no way, not no how. If it doesn’t come from me, I’m not going to write it, I’m not going to be compelled to follow that path and see where it leads. It’s not mine.
Over the years I’ve had countless suggestions from readers on storylines, character types, and in the case of the In Death books, countless suggestions for direction and plotlines. Comas, kidnappings and babies seem to be the most popular. (Though puppies were off and running this time out.) You’re not going to see Eve or Roarke in an extended coma so Peabody and McNab can run the show. It’s not the Peabody and McNab show. If Roarke got himself kidnapped, he’d lose considerable of his edge. I can spend the next twenty minutes writing out other reasons why these devices won’t work, but above all you’re never going to see these devices because they’re not mine. It’s not how I see the books or characters.
And over the years I sincerely can’t count the times someone has come up to me, or written me hoping I’ll take this wonderful idea for a book, write it, then split the royalties with them. Or maybe I could just edit this book they’re writing and they’ll cut me in on what’s bound to be a major best seller. Or–a personal fave–they want me to write their life story because it’s so fricking fascinating.
To all of these I say, PLEASE, write your own book. I think it’s pretty clear I can come up with my own ideas, so thanks but no thanks for the offer of yours and half the royalties.
And to those who pine for me to write their autobiography, I say here, as kindly as possible, everyone’s life is, or should be, fascinating to them. It’s probably not going to be fascinating to most everybody else. And it’s not my story. I’m never–repeat–never, ever going to write it.
Ideas, honestly, are the easy part of this job. It’s the execution of the idea that frustrates, fascinates and drains the blood from your body. Ideas? I’ve got a million of them. Some of them will never make it to the page because they’re not especially good ideas. Nearly all of them seem like the wrong idea at various points during the writing process when it feels like nothing’s going the way you’d hoped it would or thought it would. But that’s the process.
So don’t look for comas and kidnappings In Death, don’t look for your life story on the New York Times Bestseller list with my name after it, don’t look for your phantom vampire and the international assassin who loves him or your struggling single mother finding love and adventure with the incognito prince as they thwart a terrorist attack on Cleveland.
Hmmm….maybe make her a blogger, and he’s undercover CIA, and….No.
So the big (and simple) and sweeping thing is this: If I didn’t think of it, I’m not going to write it.
I hope you’ll continue to enjoy what I do think of, and where I take you.
Recently Laura posed a question on Facebook asking what people thought Eve and Roarke might do if they had a free weekend without a murder to deal with. The most popular answers from readers were: Make a baby and/or find some young child and adopt, and Eve finds blood kin–a kindly grandmother, a sweet long-long sister.
Here’s why I’m going to disappoint those hopeful readers.
As I’ve said before, babies change everything. They must, they should. I’m simply not ready to change the scope and dynamics of the series.
But oh, you say, people have babies all the time! They adjust their lives, they make it work. Why can’t Eve?
Because she’s not ready either.
But! It would be so funny to see her trying to cope with a baby!
Yes, it would. For a scene or two. I have to think of the big picture here. I would hope if and when Eve and Roarke become parents (and an older child, adoption, fostering mean EXACTLY the same thing as a parent is a parent) they’re really, really good ones. A really good parent doesn’t toss the baby/kid to Summerset while they rush off at all hours to fight crime or work in-house on a case.
Yes, cops have babies/kids in real life. This isn’t real life. Consider the soap opera a moment. A character gets pregnant (drama, humor, pathos ensues) then the baby’s born. We have baby time for a few episodes. Then we don’t see the kid again until he’s ready for school. And THEN we rarely see the kid until he’s grown up enough to have his own story. Because the day-to-day parenting doesn’t make for good drama in a story that’s structured around action, investigation, sex. Think about it, how could they show all the latest fashion if the star has a maya wrap ring sling around here with a drooling baby… Not going to happen.
Also consider the structure of the series, the timelines. Each book normally takes a handful of days in book time, and the next book closely follows. How many of you are really interested in reading about a pregnant Eve for the next few years? I’m not, and if I’m not interested I can’t write it. Yes, I could zip through those months of gestation. Not interested in doing that either.
So, no babies, not now. No charming orphans of any age. No pregnancy scares, no miscarriages, no foundlings, no street-wise kid who needs a good home. Did I leave anything out? If so, fill it in, then answer no.
Now onto the kindly grandmother.
One of the main elements, for me, of the series is how Eve made herself. She came from monsters, yet she made herself courageous, strong, decent. She made herself a cop who’ll stand for the dead, for the victim, for justice. She overcame horrors and had dedicated herself to protecting and serving, is willing to risk everything to do so.
She could’ve made another choice, she could’ve used those horrors as an excuse, but instead she used them as a springboard and became a damn good cop.
There is no kindly grandparent or sweet, long-lost sister in her life. She’s not only made herself, she’s made her family. Roarke is her everything, as she is his. It matters, I think, that these two people who came from abuse and viciousness found each other, helped make each other into better people. Love opened them to more.
Eve has a sister. In fact, she has two. Mavis and Peabody. She has a father in Feeney (and a little bit in Dennis Mira, too). She has a mother in Mira. A kid brother in McNab. She has, like it or not, a father-in-law in Summerset. Family is what you make of it, and Eve and Roarke have made a fine one, and linked it with a solid circle of friends.
The Eve we met in Naked In Death wouldn’t have been capable of opening herself up to that family, to that circle. The Roarke we met in Naked In Death would only have accepted that family and circle on a very surface level.
Love changed them, and that’s more than enough.
It’s now 2 pm — less than 6 hours after the initial post. In view of some to the comments, Nora asked me to add the following:
Adoptions, any age child, would change the dynamics and tone of the series just as surely as conception and a biological child. There is no difference in the needs of or the love given to an adopted child than there is of or to a biological child. Eve and Roarke are NOT having a child, adopted, biological, off the streets, out of an orphanage, out of fairy dust, for the foreseeable future. I’m truly sorry to disappoint some readers, but MUST follow my own vision and be true to my characters.
November 3, 2014
The issue about babies arose again and Nora posted the following on Facebook:
The Eve and Roarke must be/need to be/should be parents topic comes up too often for me to keep repeating why this isn’t happening. I’ve been clear, from the writer’s point of view, countless times. I feel it’s wasting everyone’s time for me to keep explaining my reasons–and it’s senseless for me to find myself upset when adoption is brought up as if there’s a difference between parenting an adopted child rather than a biological one.
I’m sorry some readers are disappointed I’m not taking the series and the characters in this direction, but I’m not. Repeat: I. Am. Not. The readers who insist on telling me why this could/should work are wasting their time. I don’t agree, and I write the books. NR
The Collector is now available in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. This is the place to congregate and chat about the book, so please know that spoilers are very much allowed in the comments. This time, I thought we’d focus with some questions that you can answer in the comments, use as a starting point for your own post or ignore completely.
It’s up to you!
Did The Collector make you curious about the ins and outs of housesitting?
Did you prefer one apartment Lila stayed in over the other?
Did you see any hints of Nora’s trip to Italy last summer in the stay in Florence?
Do you need a spreadsheet to keep track of your extended family? (It’s so clever, isn’t it?)
Feel free to ask questions of your own in the comments. Have fun!
It’s March 25 — release day for Shadow Spell. This second book of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy is Connor’s and Meara’s story. Connor, a man with the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, proudly calls County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a ciircle that can’t be broken. Until a kiss with Meara, borne of reaction to a brush with death, changes how they see each other.
This is the place for conversation about Shadow Spell — so spoilers are allowed here. Reader beware! Have fun.
It occurred to me that most readers probably have no real idea what goes on in a writer’s day. Days can vary, of course, but I had a good one yesterday, so it sort of illustrates the sort of day I like best.
Here’s how it went:
I’m up at about 5:20. This is no longer annoying, it just is. When I had babies and then little boys I had to get off to school I actively dreamed of the day I could start sleeping in. By the time I got there, my body clock was set, and I’ve learned to accept it. I am, sorrowfully, an early riser.
I get myself a giant glass of water–hydrate after a night’s sleep. I let one of the dogs out. The other isn’t interested. Fine with me. I go up to my office. I read some emails, poke around see what’s what in the world. I play some games.
It’s nice, it’s quiet. The phone doesn’t ring, and my brain is starting to wake up. At some point I hear my husband get up. He lets the other dog out. I hear his coffee machine.
I go down get my version of caffeine. Diet Pepsi. Ah, NOW that’s better! Morning fog lifts. We can work now.
Speak with husband first–it’s only right. Kiss him goodbye as it’s unlikely I’ll be back down before he leaves. And I get to work. It happens I’m working on the last part of the second draft of an In Death. I’m not sure I have the pathology of the villain quite right, so fiddle as I go. I enjoy these people, and the second draft gives me the chance to fix any mistakes I find, expand where it needs to, contract if it needs that, add some color and texture where I might have skimped just trying to get the story down.
I eat Cheeze-Its, drink DP, play with Eve and Roarke and the gang.
At some point–I don’t pay much attention to time in my office–I go down, refill glass with water. Realize I haven’t brushed my teeth. Good God. Do so immediately.
Go back up to my office. Allow myself to play for a few minutes. Check email, answer maybe. Maybe not. Back to work.
Annoyed that the phone rings, don’t answer TeleFund one time, Out Of Area another, Private Caller yet another. Stop ringing! Go away.
I’d really like to get a good chunk of this draft done, be sure the story’s moving as I want–or more accurately, as it wants and it should. Pretty happy with it. Work. Let dogs in. Work. Let dogs out. More water.
Brain getting tired. It’s time to stop. About four–good time to stop. Time to work out. Down into my little gym, pick a DVD. decide to mix it up. Some cardio, some resistance with weights, some mat work. An hour of that, and it’s good for the day. Let dogs in. They have me trained. Whatever time I finish a workout–a morning one, an afternoon one, doesn’t matter, they wait, watch for me. I let them in, and they rush like maniacs to the kitchen closet where we keep the dog biscuits. Their eyes are mad with joy and anticipation. But their butts hit the floor, as that’s the rule. Good dogs! And as is habit for unknown reasons to the human involved, they go to separate corners, devour said biscuit then must immediately be let out so they can run like mad things. What’s in Milk Bones that causes this? No one really knows.
My husband has requested pasta for dinner–this pretty quick pasta dish I make, and that works as it’s already after five–and he’s home early because he’s working on a project in our great room.
Pour some wine–yay! Talk to husband, start dinner. Let dogs in who now collapse, exhausted from Milk Bone mania.
Cook dinner, approve the on-going project. Eat dinner. Good pasta. Have another glass of wine. Yay.
He’s brought home books from the bookstore for me to sign–it’s Monday, and three days a week, I sign books after dinner. Sign books while I watch TV. Have another Diet Pepsi. Let dogs out. Watch TV, play with IPad. Let dogs in. Why aren’t I in my pjs? Remedy that. See that I forgot to call in the galley corrections on Festive In Death as they’re still sitting beside the bed where I worked on them the last several evenings. Damn it.
Must do that tomorrow, because I don’t want to go back up to my office now. Happy The Blacklist is back. Love me some James Spader.
Watch a little Jon Stewart, go to bed.
So this is a pretty good day for me. Few interruptions. Probably about ten hours ass in the chair, and about seven of that actively working. A couple hours of play in there, and some time going up and down for fluids and dogs. A good workout, an easy dinner prep, and good TV.
Some days don’t go so well, but when they do, this is a pretty typical one for me.
Long time In Death readers are familiar with the story of how Nora started writing as JD Robb. But as I learned yesterday, maybe we don’t know all the nuances. At the 2012 RWA conference in Anaheim, Nora sat down with filmmaker Laurie Kahn whose current labor of love is The Popular Romance Project: Rethinking Love and Romance.
Yesterday, Laurie’s team sent us this clip in which Nora discusses how a projected trilogy has expanded to 38 books with February’s Concealed in Death: Creating JD Robb.
Since we’re all busy this holiday season, I’m going to pair up the 3QQs with the six authors who are signing at Saturday’s Turn the Page Bookstore event from noon – 2 pm.
First up? Jill Shalvis and Sarah Morgan. TTP customers have been saying for years that they would love to meet Jill at a signing and we were finally able to find a place in her busy schedule to fly east to sign the latest addition to her Animal Magnetism series. Sarah’s flying west from London for the big event where she’s signing copies of her first single title book.
As luck would have it, Jill was one of the earliest readers of Sarah’s “big” book and she provided the cover blurb. But these two talented writers only met in person at Nora’s RWA party this past summer (where they hit it off quite nicely) . Let’s meet them and see what they have to say in 3QQ. Actually, it’s going to be more than three.
Jill Shalvis’ official bio describes a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of nearly 50 contemporary romances. But the bio doesn’t capture the warmth and fun of Jill’s daily blog which gives readers a glimpse of a life full of kids, dogs, and even bears. Jill easily admits she’s a misplaced city girl living in the Lake Tahoe area, but somehow you know it’s grown on her. Nor does that bio say that she’s found some interesting photos of inspiringly gorgeous men – which has gotten her into some trouble with Facebook at times, yet manages to delight her readers everywhere. I pried her loose from her current obsession, Sleepy Hollow, to ask her 3QQ.
1. Rumor Has It is the newest Animal Magnetism. It’s the story of Griffin Reid, who’s back stateside after being injured in a blast, and second grade teacher Katie Evans, who takes care of everyone but spouts scientific facts when she’s nervous. I’m not sure what to ask: A) What is it about a wounded hero that’s so appealing? or B) How do you find out those facts for Katie?
I find a guy in uniform (or out of it, as the case may be) appealing. It implies he’s strong of heart and spirit, able-bodied, and … well, tough. Now you take a guy like that and injure him? Well, that’s just yum on yum. (in my humble opinion).
As for Katie’s facts, I just loved making her so smart, and yet so utterly socially inept that she spouted science tidbits whenever she got nervous, which was just about in every scene she had with Griffin. Thank you, Google.
2. Always on My Mind is your latest Lucky Harbor book. This is the story of firefighter Jack Harper and pastry chef Leah Sullivan. Which is more appealing: a fireman or a pal who gives you pastries?
A firefighter is always appealing. Hello, the uniform itself guarantees it. Again, you have a hero who is, by the very nature of his job, willing to put life and limb on the line for perfect strangers. That’s the definition of appeal, if you ask me. Now that said, a friend who will bring you pastries? Well, that might be the one thing that is hotter than being a firefighter… just sayin’.
Sarah Morgan is an equally accomplished author, but again her official bio about 11 million books sold and winning back to back RITA’s ( she’s first Harlequin Presents author to receive a RITA) doesn’t give us a full picture of the effervescent woman who lives near London, England and vacations in fabulous places like Corfu. This fall, after years of writing extremely popular Harlequin Medical Romances and Harlequin Presents, she took the leap into single title release with the first book in her trilogy about the O’Neil brothers of Vermont.
1. Sleigh Bells in the Snow is set in a fictional Vermont ski resort. Where’s the best place you’ve ever skied? And were there any O’Neil brothers lurking about?
The best place was Zermatt, high in the Swiss Alps at the foot of the Matterhorn, probably one of the most famous mountains in the world. The old part of the village has cobbled streets and a mixture of artisan shops and high end boutiques. There are horse drawn sleighs, an ice rink, and some of the best skiing in Europe. You can ski high up on the glacier with views of the Matterhorn or weave your way down through pine-scented mountain forests. There is nothing better than a perfect blue-sky day in the mountains after a fresh fall of snow. Sometimes I’d take my skis off and sit and look at the view, or if I wanted extra comfort I’d find a mountain restaurant. Hot mulled wine flavoured with cinnamon and spice tastes extra delicious when you’re outdoors with the cold stinging your cheeks and mountains stretching in front of you.
There were no O’Neil Brothers, but I was there with my husband who is an expert skier and did his best to teach me. I spent a lot of time flat on my face in the snow but I was very happy!
2. What has been the best part about writing about three brothers and their loving, nosy family? What’s been the hardest part?
We have two sons and the interaction between boys fascinates me. The three O’Neil brothers are all very different and I enjoyed exploring their relationship with each other and with other family members, as well as with the women in their lives. There is plenty of brotherly banter which was so much fun to write.
The hardest part will be ending this series because I’ve enjoyed writing it so much. The place feels real, the characters feel real and moving on to something else will be a real wrench.
3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
I love Christmas and we have lots of family traditions but my favourite is choosing the tree. We wrap up in lots of layers and go to the forest. It’s usually freezing cold and occasionally snowy, but the foresters always have a fire blazing in a clearing and they roast chestnuts and sell creamy hot chocolate so the whole event becomes a seasonal party. When it comes to choosing the tree itself, our family tradition is that the boys and I pick an enormous one, and then my husband points out we’ll have to move house to accommodate the tree so we choose a slightly smaller one. But only slightly smaller.
Bonus Q — You’ve been to NY, Anaheim, Atlanta, but not Maryland? What do you expect to find in Boonsboro?
I can’t wait to visit Turn The Page Bookstore! Like most writers, I love all bookstores and I can’t imagine anything better than a store crammed with Nora’s books. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Inn BoonsBoro,, complete with Christmas decorations. Maryland is a new place for me and visiting new places is always an adventure. Like most writers I’m endlessly curious. If I have time I’d love to put the toe of my boot on the Appalachian trail and then bring my family back to explore it properly at some point in the future.
Since Jill and Sarah were asking me so many questions about what to expect at TTP, I shot out a speed round of questions. First up, Sarah:
1. What three words come to mind when you think of Jill Shalvis?
Warm, funny and super-talented (that’s four words but never mind. I always talk more than I’m supposed to).
2. What is your definition of hot (as in “is he hot?” – one of Sarah’s favorite questions)?
Mm, the body, the smile, the look in the eyes………
3. How often do you see the Queen ?
I see the Queen as often as the two of us can make time in our schedules (HAHA only kidding).
1. What three words come to mind when you think of Sarah Morgan?
Sweet, fun, special, fellow cookie lover (yes that’s more than three words, I don’t tend to follow directions very well)
2. What is your definition of hot? (See above and add a British accent).
Hot is a wicked and naughty sense of humor, a twinkle in the eyes that says he can back up said sense of humor, and … don’t judge me for being shallow … a sexy bod.
3. How often do you see a bear? (Which are probably more scary than the Queen).
ALL THE TIME. There is one in my yard right this very minute, sitting there with my trash like he’s Winnie-the-Pooh with his pot of honey.
Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.
And where else can you find Jill and Sarah besides the signing? Check out Jill’s Facebook page as well as Sarah’s. And you can follow them on Twitter: @SarahMorgan_ and @JillShalvis. Enjoy!
A reader posted a comment on Facebook that started out:
Why is it that you not writing very many new books but publishing older books under a different title. This should be called fraud. When your fans think they are buying a new book and start to read it and find they just bought a book they had already read…
Nora saw the comment and took the time to answer a little more fully:
Though I’ve addressed this issue before, it’s been some time. I realize there are many, many readers who don’t know how copyrights work, and when there are so many reprints, repackaged, with title changes, the confusion and annoyance leads those who don’t know to assume I’m doing it.
I get that, but . . .
As long as a publisher keeps a book in print–somewhere–they retain the rights. A book must be out of print for a certain number of years, contractually, before the writer can ask for the rights back. I don’t have the rights to the books Silhouette repackages, reprints, re-titles. I have no control, at all, over the reprints. Changes in copyright laws mean that–I think it’s 33 years after initial publication, whether or not the book is in print– the author can request, during a certain window and in writing, for the rights back.
At this point, I’m simply not in control of the rights or the publication of the Silhouette titles. We do everything we can to let the readers know what’s new. The new titles are listed on my website. The new titles have the NR logo in the corner of every book. I also encourage readers to check the copyright page, see when the book was published.
I understand, absolutely, the upset of thinking you’re buying a brand new story, then realizing you brought a reprint, repackaged with a new umbrella title. I hope you’ll understand I can’t do anything about it.
It’s great for a brand new reader to discover an author through a reprint. Not so great to feel you got stung, as a long-time reader, because the cover and title changed on you. Please, look for the NR logo, check noraroberts.com for the list and schedule of new releases, and flip to the copyright page if you’re just not sure.
Believe me, I value readers, and don’t want any to feel I’m taking advantage of them.