This Crumbling Pageant – A&N
A Note to My Esteemed Readers…
… or, thoughts on the cherry-picking nature of my research.
You might say I’ve been Cherry-picking all my life.
My sister’s name is Cherry, and I have spent a lifetime picking at her, partly because it’s my nature and partly because it’s in the Younger Sister’s Code of Conduct. But that’s a different type of Cherry-picking.
I have friends with bookcases full of research materials that they have absorbed, itemized, formed their own opinions about, and used to build the fictional worlds in which their characters live and their readers indulge. I love the books that are written by such writers and love seeing how real history and the writer’s imagination mesh with such delicacy and precision.
I will never be one of those writers.
Don’t get me wrong. I have bookcases full of research materials for The Fury Triad. Some are translations of ancient writings; some are the thoughts and beliefs of the occult during the era of my world; some are the most current academic thinking on Regency times. I have used the indexes to find specific information, have skimmed looking for inspiration, have gotten sucked into books just because. The one thing I have not done— and will not ever do— is become even the lightest-weight authority on the times. Instead, I look for the bits and bobs of real history that I can assemble to create my own world.
I never met a fascinating fact that couldn’t send me off on a flight of fancy that led me into a wondrous new subplot or significant detail.
So, there you are.
I hope you enjoy Persephone Fury’s world, and if you have questions about specifics, feel free to email and ask me about them. I may address your questions in my blog, and who knows— it may even be that the significant detail you question is documented and a part of real history, rather than my muse’s imagination.
I was once asked, “How do you stay so motivated and enthusiastic about writing when it’s such a grueling business, filled with so much rejection?” My answer is two-fold. First, my Dallas friends and my family keep me grounded. When I am with them, we talk about things ‘not writing,’ have an entire world and life beyond the business, and besides that, they are amazing people I dearly love. Second, my students are the true source of my energy. Every semester they walk into my classroom full of dreams, not yet beaten down by ‘the business,’ still fueled by ‘the creation.’ Seeing such faces semester after semester, keeps me infused with joy. If you have ever been in my classroom, I owe you a debt of gratitude. I hope you are still writing with joy, and if you aren’t, get after it!
In the beginning, Mara Stein was cheerleader and midwife, reading every single word of This Crumbling Pageant’s first draft as it was written— and then again, when it was complete. As I type, she is reading the final. It has been a long haul, and I sincerely couldn’t have done it without her.
So much of this was written in the war room, I must thank those who share their frustrations, their goals, their enthusiasm, their thesauri— and all to a 30-minute timer: C.E. Murphy, Laura Anne Gilman, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Chrysoula Tzavelas, David J Fortier, Robin D Owens, Mikaela Lind, and more than I can list.
Incredibly, Yvonne Hewitt, Linda Furlet, Cindy Sloan and my sister, Cherry Werner also read the unabridged 230,000-word version. Ladies, I owe all of you chocolate chip cookies for life! And then there was the next draft, 80 pages shorter but still a massive effort, and yet once again beta readers were willing. Jodi Allmond Davis and Valier Smith Barricklow, you rock.
David D Levine and Nolan Isaacs, thank you for being ‘the guys’ who helped me determine whether this book might appeal to a male readership.
I also thank a wonderful friend and writer, Candace Williams, for writing and playing bridge while I wrote and especially for handing me one of the best character names ever.
Finally, Sherwood Smith stepped in with her brilliant insights and helped me refine Persephone’s story and finally make it work.
I have a bad habit of choosing to write about things of which I know nothing. First choice, the entire fantasy genre was largely unplumbed by me when Persephone grabbed my heart. Thank you, Iain Brown, for giving me the thumbs up and a few directional pointers in the beginning. Sorry— I used wands, anyway! Judith Tarr helped me find my horse, Hades, a Kladruber, and also helped with certain technicalities of writing about horses. Her book, Writing Horses, The Fine Art of Getting It Right, was published after my book was finished. I am relieved to have it at my side as I continue writing my tale! Needless to say, all errors in and horse culture are my own.
When I began Persephone’s journey, I was part of an amazing community of writers, and can’t begin to express how much I drew from their enthusiasm and generosity as we shared our love of the written word. Leigh Anne, Erica, Tricie, Karen, Kristy, Stephanie, Annie in Oz, the Barrister in London, and the amazing and much-loved Theresa in Portland have my thanks.
To single out names of those members of Book View Café who have helped me in recent years would be impossible. Their assistance was not on this project, but everything I learned from them about the business of publishing in this new and glorious age has been invaluable, and I’m proud to be a part of this professional group of writers.
I fling thanks with abandon at the Story Spring Publishing team— Melissa Smith, Chris Hagberg, Barbara Tarbuck, and the editors they brought in to make this happen: Deanna Noga and Michelle Montgomery.
Special thanks must go to Jessica Aldis, whose tender, loving red pen slashed and burned through the manuscript in ways that went beyond the call of duty, and for which I am ever grateful.
Finally, Diane Tarbuck, without whom this would not have happened. Her passion for Persephone’s story and her meticulous eye for detail— along with her friendship— are vital components of the product that is now in your hands.
And now, I move onto the next book in the series, The Dead Shall Live. As always, my family will bear the biggest burden of dealing with a writer in the throes of creation. Sam, Douglas, James, Scott, Valier, Amanda, Amy Nohealani, Hatlyn, and Isis, you are my heart and my support. May all your endings be happily ever after.
March 31, 2014
Burroughs, Patricia (2014-04-29).
This Crumbling Pageant (The Fury Triad Book 1) (pp. 594-596).
Story Spring Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.