Our guest today is a Reading Between the Wines newbie but you have seen her books receive high wine ratings more than once. So we are excited to welcome Shelly Thacker to the blog!
Lexi: Welcome! What is your wine of choice?
Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by the blog today! Let’s see, it looks like sangria is a popular beverage around here, so I’ll take a glass of that. :)
Lexi: Combine all of us and I think we have all varieties covered but we are all in agreement on your writing, we love historical romances! And we love when great historical romances are made even better! The Escape with a Scoundrel Series is comprised of revised novels. What made you come up with this idea and was it difficult to convince your publisher?
I used to write for two of the big New York publishers (Avon and Dell). After I left the trad-pub world, my books went out of print, and I was able to reclaim all the publishing rights. In 2011, I began re-releasing my backlist books in new, revised ebook editions. Everyone advised me to simply scan and upload those books as-is, but I wanted to give readers the best possible reading experience. If I want to win new fans, I need to offer them books worthy of their time, money, and emotional investment, so I’ve been thoroughly revising each book before publishing the new editions. I’m so happy that a new generation of historical romance readers are falling in love with them!
Lexi: Midnight Raider is book two in the Escape with a Scoundrel Series and I also tracked down an old copy from ’92 of Midnight Raider. How did you handle the revision, did you have a specific change in mind, did any of the changes throw the story in a new direction you didn’t expect?
Oh, what an adventure it was! I pretty much completely re-wrote this book. The 1992 edition of Midnight Raider had an “alphahole” hero who was borderline abusive, way too much violence, and not much dialogue at all. It was also an incredibly long book, weighing in at 125,000 words. I think (I hope!) that a couple decades of writing experience have made me a better writer. So I kept all the aspects of Midnight Raider that I liked—the adventure, the heroine, the plot—and gave it everything it was missing—like emotion, humor, and dialogue. I changed the hero so much, I even changed his name: Pierce Wolverton became Marcus Worthington. I performed what may have been the world’s first “alphahole-ectomy” LOL. I cut almost 40,000 words and added about 15,000 words of all-new material, most of it dialogue. This new edition of Midnight Raider is a much faster-paced book at about 100,000 words. It was an incredibly challenging process, but it was one of the most satisfying creative decisions I’ve ever made. This new edition is the book I always wanted Midnight Raider to be.
Lexi: Is there a beautiful blue gown in your novel because I have a great visual courtesy of the lovely cover for Midnight Raider? The blue gown is gorgeous and the feel of the cover matches the first book wonderfully.
Thanks! That gorgeous blue cover is from designer Kim Killion of The Killion Group. She’s the best in the business and an absolute magician. I love this cover so much, I used it as the basis for my website and all my author branding. Kim actually created it when I was just starting the revisions, so I wrote the blue dress into the book! It’s featured in a super-sexy love scene that takes place in a coach.
Lexi: As a reader I adore going back and re-reading books I fell in love with. As a writer what was your favorite part of returning to Marcus and Lady Elizabeth?
I love that this book was a rule-breaker. In the early 1990s, historical romance heroines were almost always young (often teenagers), virginal, aristocratic, and interested mainly in marriage. Elizabeth broke all those rules: she’s a woman of the working class, a widow with painful experience of the harsh edges of life, and she has a goal that was usually reserved for heroes: vengeance. These days, none of those traits would make any romance reader bat an eye. But in 1992, they were considered daring and groundbreaking. This book became my first RWA RITA Award Finalist, an incredible honor since it was only my second book.
Lexi: I don’t know how we can’t be excited to check out your newest release, Midnight Raider! Thank you for stopping by the blog today to visit with us and share the beautiful cover! We will be looking forward to book three in the Escape with a Scoundrel Series!
Thanks Lexi! It’s been a pleasure. I plan to release a sexy new book in the Escape with a Scoundrel series later this year. I have a monthly newsletter, if readers would like to keep up with my book news and get sneak previews.