Recently I finished another historical novel which has taken me over a year to write. When I came to think about publishing again, I knew I needed an editor and an illustrator- at least for the book’s cover.
I had been writing to an old university friend in England and I mentioned my novel. She agreed to look at it and soon, went through the whole book with a fine eye to improving the text. I am forever grateful to this friend who made my anticipated editing easier because she vetted it so carefully first. That made me realize how fortunate I am to have a wonderful friend in Ann.
Then I needed a cover and another friend at church offered to draw something suitable. She produced a nice small watercolour for it quickly but I changed the title as I was finishing the book! I know I will use the picture in chapter 1 but my friend has had to work on another idea of two women walking together to fit my later decision. She has a lovely imaginative idea for the setting and I am so pleased with it. What a talented friend to have where I live!
As I was writing acknowledgements, I remembered the advice I had received from our local history group HEIRS. We have a fine resource library which gave me plenty to read when I needed to research people and events. But, it has been the encouragement of several members in our group that kept me plodding away at this longer novel. One dear friend told me stories of people who eventually came into my new story; she gave me real facts and pointed to useful books. The author of Simon, Peter and Polly, Madeline Malott, has since died but her account is so good and personal that I love what she revealed about herself. Others offered articles, encouraged me to read certain books about the period and produced historical pictures. All these good friends enhanced my own ideas and will make my novel more interesting for readers.
One friend, who read part of it early on, even advertised the unfinished novel at a meeting with such enthusiasm that I had two people ask to read it when it is finished. I think I wrote the last 20,000 words quicker because of their combined interest in the story of two women long ago who became involved in events leading to and during the War of 1812-14, a crossroads in our history, I believe.
So, if you read my novel or someone else’s, you may find that the preface and acknowledgements reveal how any novelist needs good friends such as a careful editor, encouragers and an illustrator to set it all off.
I could write even more about the close friends made over 48 years in Canada and how they have enriched my life and added to my joy. I will leave that to next time. I’m off to see my editor in England soon. On my return I will have new insight into my friendly extended family after a family reunion and renewed friendships.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the novel’s title is Two Women at the Crossroads- Tecumapese (Tecumseh’s sister) and Catharine Malott Girty. It will be out by late August or September.