Jennifer's Journal


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Writing Secrets

In 1982, I was discussing book projects with a good friend.  When I told her I was thinking of writing about a prince, her instant comment was: "Why not?  Every woman deserves a prince!"  Since the truth of that was immediately obvious, I began to consider possibilities.  Rolfe would be his name, since I was using "R" names for heroes at the time and it was a variation of the strong-sounding "Wolf".  He would arrive in Louisiana on a mission, but where would he be from?  Looking at the map of Europe, I found a province called Ruthenia somewhere in the area that had once been known as the Balkans.  Hmm,  Rolfe of Ruthenia.  It had a fine sound.  Being fearless back then, and supremely certain I was writing for an American audience who would have little idea of what or where Ruthenia might be, I proceeded.  Rolfe's story, "Royal Seduction" was published in trade paperback in 1983 and became a New York Times Best Seller and, later, a best seller in Europe.  Called by some "a classic of the (historical romance) genre", it's seldom been out of print in some form since that time.  Recently, the agent who handles my foreign sales requested a copy because of renewed foreign interest in the book.  I suspect the possible publisher may be in Eastern Europe, either Poland, Rumania, Russia or the Czech Republic, since these countries have been buying other titles.  The kicker here is that Ruthenia was once a part of Czechoslovakia but was annexed by the USSR in 1945 so became a portion of the Ukraine.  More than that, many people from Poland, Austria and Austria-Hungary are known as Ruthenians.  Uh-oh.  I only hope these good folk aren't offended by my fictional kingdom set down among them!
So what's the writing secret here?  Be careful what you write about because you never know who may eventually read it. 

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