I delivered the first draft of my new novel, Beauty in Thorns, to my wonderful publisher Meredith last week and received the most beautiful email back from her once she had read the manuscript.
I don't think she'd mind me sharing just a little of it with you - it's the loveliest email ever!
It was headed:
Someone should have told me I would cry my way through the last chapters
Beauty in Thorns is wonderful, thank you. Such a beautiful story told with love and respect and intelligence and heart. The layer upon layer of research and appreciation of the art and lives of the Pre-Raphaelites are evident but in no way impede an emotional and heartfelt reading of the novel. You are a genius ...
(Yes, she really did write that! I love my publisher so much!)
There were times when I couldn’t help but hate our genius artists, or be frustrated by these brave and wondrous women putting up with so much ... I cried tears of joy and relief (for Margot and Georgie) and sadness (for Topsy and Georgie’s grief at the death of Ned). Truly I cried for almost the whole last section ...
You are a wonder.
I cried reading her email, as I'm sure you can imagine. I have poured my heart & soul into Beauty in Thorns and have such high hopes for it. Everyone is fascinated by the Pre-Raphaelites, aren't they? Their art is certainly soaring to new highs on the international art market, with one of my favourite Edward Burne-Jones painting's Love in Ruins selling a few years ago for $22 million!
And the good news is that she had very few suggestions for the manuscript - mainly cutting it back, which I knew the book needed badly.
I worked like a demon all week, and did absolutely everything she suggested (I really trust her instincts), and have sent her back the book already. It must be the fastest turn-around in publishing history.
Now we are moving straight to copy-editing, which will be my last chance to make any changes before publication.
It's all very exciting!
For those of you who are new to my blog, Beauty in Thorns tells the extraordinary story of love, desire, scandal and tragedy behind Edward Burne-Jones's obsessive painting and re-painting of the Sleeping Beauty fairy-tale over the course of more than forty years. Here's a link to my blog which shows most of his Sleeping beauty paintings.
And here is a short video I made about the writing of the book: