Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Blue Place - AN

From: Alexandra

I hope this message gets to you,

I just wanted to say how much your book has touched my heart. I was on After Ellen and saw a recommendation to read The Blue Place...and since the last great Lesbian Fiction book I read was Annie on my Mind...and Ruby Fruit Jungle, I had no idea if another book would hit me so deeply. Last night I finished reading by 12am, when I got to the last page and realized that Julia had passed away I was completely in shock! I first couldn't contain my tears and then I felt silly because I know it's fictional...but a part of me truly felt Aud's pain, even for just split second (it was intense!). Although real life is similar...I couldn't imagine meeting the love of my life only to have her die.

I ended up having to call a friend over the phone because I couldn't stop crying...but I have to say, your writing is so beautifully raw. Thank you for The Blue Place, and I look forward to reading more of your novels!

Everything sent to asknicola2 at nicolgriffith dot com gets to me. Sadly, though, sometimes my responses aren't particularly prompt: I start to reply, get distracted and then wander off--but the emails do get to me. I read everything. And every couple of months I comb through my posts in draft and resurrect the ones I abandoned. (Well, most of them.)

I can't imagine falling in love and then being suddenly bereft, either. I suspect I'd become unhinged. (Love in and of itself tends to unhinge a person. As does grief. Both together... Ooof. Cataclysmic.) I felt terrible killing Julia--but once I got about halfway through the novel I knew she had to go. Even so, I tried everything I could think of to avoid it, but that's just how the book had to be. It's what needed to happen to Aud.

My acquiring editor was very unhappy (she bought the novel on chapters and synopsis, and it changed). She and I had a fight. We both lost--she didn't get her way and I got assigned to another editor. It was a difficult time. It made me wary enough about dealing with the publisher that when they insisted, through my new editor, that I change the title, I was willing to discuss it. The original title was Penny in My Mouth. (I liked it, but my agent kept asking, "Who's Penny?") My second choice was Thaw, but no one liked that, either. ("Thor?" they said. " Thor?!") They wanted The Blue Place. I sighed and gave in as gracefully as I could (looking back, probably not very).

One day I'd love to see all three Aud novels published as a matching set with luscious paintings on the covers. I think these are rich, complex books which have been mischaracterised as spare, noir novels. They're not noir, in my opinion. They're luxuriant, and, even at their emotional nadir, lit by hope. At least I think so but, hey, the readers are the ones who really count. So what do you think? Lean mean noir machines, or sensuous and luxuriant deliciousnesses?

Anyway, when that happens--the matching set--it would be tempting to change TBP to Thaw, just to have all three be nifty one-word titles. But my guess is that would confuse and annoy readers. So I imagine it will be TBP for all time. I'm reconciled to that. Mostly.

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