This has been an exciting week. A touch of stomach flu one day, a new book released a couple of days later. Up and downs, just like real life. I’m especially partial to the new book release. It’s been in the works for months, unlike the flu, which came and went in twenty-four hours and I say good riddance.
I have three published historical novels—a series about the Mennonites in South Russia from 1914 to 1924—which came out in 2002, 2003, 2004. This trilogy was a dream come true for me, an opportunity to create characters who would tell the stories I’d heard and read about since I was a kid, sitting in my grandmother’s house with the extended family, listening to the adults talk about their memories and experiences.
Just yesterday, my next historical fiction was released: a new set of characters, a new setting and a slightly later time period. This story is called Other Side of the River, and involves a young Mennonite couple from western Siberia circa 1926-1930, and their struggle to survive under the hammer and sickle.
It’s been a stretching experience to bring this book to publication. In the nine years since my last book was released, the publishing world has transformed and the learning curve for me has been steep. For one thing, traditional publishing houses are constantly amalgamating, phasing out, going broke, etc., and digital publishing is becoming more popular by the day. I confess that most of my reading is now done on my iPhone. It’s just so handy.
What happened with Other Side of the River is that I queried a publisher called Helping Hands Press who said they were interested in publishing my story digitally. But not as a complete book. I was confused, of course, until Mr. G explained that my “virtual bookshelf” would look more impressive with more volumes on it. If they published my book in segments—volumes—I would have eight to ten “books” on the shelf instead of one.
After that rationale sunk in, I worked on rightly dividing my book into segments that ended with some form of tension, thus leading the reader to want the next segment. We also spent a lot of time talking about a cover, and again, Mr. G
came up with an excellent cover that incorporated some of my ideas held together by color and shadow and texture of image that I could not have created myself.
So that’s the story. I invite you to take some time to read the first volume of Other Side of the River, titled The Winds of Change, review it if you would, and follow it through the course of the story to the other side of the river.