Thanks so much for having me, Katie! Since the theme is secrets, I thought I’d share a behind-the-scenes look at my publishing experiences. Here are three bite-sized tidbits for all of you busy little bees out there.
1. I’ve never written a book that kept its original title. My debut romantic suspense novel for Bantam Dell was once called Cutback, after a surfing maneuver. I know, it wasn’t catchy. My editor suggested Crash Into Me, which is also the title of an awesome Dave Matthews Band song. She came up with my second title while watching a Gossip Girls episode that featured the song “Dark on Fire” by Turin Brakes. I love her titles.
2. Crash Into Me and Set the Dark on Fire were both chosen as “Red-Hot Reads” for Cosmopolitan magazine. It was very exciting! A sex scene was selected from each book and rewritten to include a bit of plot and story conflict. What appears in the pages of the magazine is called an adaptation, rather than an excerpt. Before the adaptation for Set the Dark on Fire went to print, I was given a copy of the rewritten scene to look over. I noticed the following phrase: his musty scent. Giggling, I sent an email recommending that “musty” be changed to “musky.” The final copy read “smoky.”
3. Another funny thing happened during the copyediting stage of Set the Dark on Fire. Copyeditors do sentence-level corrections and make minor suggestions. I had a male copy editor for that project, which was really interesting. Some of his comments cracked me up. There’s a scene near the beginning of the book, for example, in which the hero and heroine are sprayed by a skunk while hiking. They jump in a creek to wash off and then stretch out to dry on a flat rock. The hero, Luke, is lusting after the heroine, even staring at her armpit, which looks sort of delicious to him. Then he feels embarrassed/perverted for wanting to kiss her there.
The copy editor made a comment about Luke’s mental dialogue. He didn’t seem to think there was anything strange about armpit kissing. Is this proof that men are just dirtier than women? I think it is, my friends.
So there you have it. Three musty, skunky secrets from the armpit of publishing. If you’d like to judge the underarm-sniffing scene for yourself (pervert!), leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of Set the Dark on Fire. Open to everyone.