I have book news! My debut novel, Lady of the Revolution has found a home! It will be published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2017. I am unbelievably excited. Once the deal was official, my wonderful agent, Carrie Pestritto, and I sent each other adorable emails that contained dozens of smiley faces and exclamation marks. I basically kept grinning like a maniac all weekend, and it hasn’t stopped yet.
I also get a new title, since Lady of the Revolution was my working title. It’s not absolutely in stone yet, but most likely I’ll be calling it The Wardrobe Mistress. I think it’s more intriguing and better conveys the protagonist’s position at court. I think coming up with titles is the hardest part of writing (even more than the synopsis) so it feels good to have a shiny new title.
I’m really looking forward to getting started, and my editor is really kind and enthusiastic, with some great ideas for the book. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better, and getting to experience first-hand all the details of the publishing process. I’m even looking forward to doing the probably-inevitable revisions! By now, you know my belief that revisions are never truly over, but luckily I kind of enjoy the puzzle of sorting them out. (I’m weird, I think).
Please stay tuned for further updates! As soon as I know more, I’ll be updating here.
I also included a new excerpt from The Wardrobe Mistress. Links to previous excerpts can be found here, as well as a back-cover style blurb of the plot. In a nutshell, the novel is about one of Marie Antoinette’s undertirewomen, torn between her loyalty to the queen and her growing involvement with a young patriot.
As May closes, I notice a marked change in Marie Antoinette.
The first sign is that she begins ordering new gowns from Rose Bertin again, instead of relying on made-over ones. The new items are not strategically coloured, and she appears to be favouring green and white, as well as purple and black. She also rejects many of the tricolour items in her daily dress choices, instead gravitating to green, which brings out the near-lost warmth of red in her now ashy gold curls, and lavender, which emphasizes the milkiness of her skin, as well as the shadows under her eyes.
Gowns aside, her demeanor shifts as well, albeit in a less noticeable way than her drastic change in colour choices. Perhaps someone who had not watched her so closely as I have been would have remained oblivious, but I observe the way she paces along the long row of windows, gazing outside wistfully, staring as though she imagines seeing past the rooftops of Paris and into freedom beyond. Sometimes she sits at her desk for hours at a time, writing much more slowly than usual, her lips moving as she thinks of the words to write, although she never speaks loud enough for me to hear anything. Indeed, her mouth twitches in concentration only; I don’t think she is saying words at all. Once, she asks to see a list of all the contents of her closet at the Tuileries, and spends two hours poring over it alone. And she sees Count Axel von Fersen every day, murmuring to him with their heads bent close together, locked in their own private conversation.
“I thought this might look well with your cornflower blue gown, Your Majesty,” I say to her one morning, proffering a blue sash, edged in scarlet and embroidered with small white fleur-de-lis. I have sewn it myself, but I do not say so to the Queen. It isn’t my place.
She gives it a cursory glance. “No. I will wear purple today, and that will not suit.”
“Of course, Your Majesty. Shall I put this aside for tomorrow, then?”
I hear the finality in her voice, but since I worry about her, the words spring almost unbidden to my lips. “It is only that it is very fashionable at the moment…”
Her grey eyes flare angrily, sparking with silver. “I make the fashion.”
I bow my head, averting my gaze to the floor. “Yes, Your Majesty.”
She makes me wait for a moment before releasing me, either by stalking away or giving me leave to look up, but when she does speak at last, her voice softens a little. “You are concerned for me, Giselle, and your loyalty is commendable. But our days of planning tricolour outfits together have ended, I believe. The people ceased believing it. They see me as an actress, playing the part of revolutionary and never truly caring for a moment. I would rather dress as myself, be seen as myself, than be seen to be costumed like a charlatan.”
I don’t know what to say, especially as the thought has often crossed my own mind that she does not understand the need for change that drives the revolution, and wishes the whole thing would simply vanish. “I – I am sorry.”
“Do not be. None of this is your doing.” Giving me a strange smile, half kind, but still with a hard edge that thins her lips, she turns and walks away with all the sweeping haughtiness of the queen she is, for all that she is still wearing her nightgown and a deep purple wool shawl.
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