About That Historical Hiatus

This began as a reply in the comments.  But once it reached five paragraphs I figured it should probably be its own post.  So here it is.

My apologies on any anxieties I might have caused with my previous post, mainly, probably, this particular graf.

You might wonder why the heck was I in such a hurry to do everything.  Well, various reasons. But the main reason was that I believed I was leaving historical romance for the foreseeable future, and wanted everything wrapped up nice and neat before I dive into the second and third book of the YA fantasy trilogy.

First, I should never blog in the middle of the night–and post right afterwards. There is a reason I need such stringent editors and so many rounds of editing and that is my first drafts rarely actually mean what I want to say. 🙂 Usually for blog posts I will finish writing then come back half a day later and edit before hitting the publish button. But this time I just wanted to tick another item off my list and so I not only rambled, but rambled incompetently.

Two, as His Hawtness would tell everyone, “foreseeable future” for me means next week and not much more beyond.

Three, my agent is itching for me to write more historicals. We happened upon each other in San Diego this summer–she was in town for Comic Con–and when I moaned about not having anymore ideas for historicals, she said very calmly, “That’s what you say after every book.” And, well, she has a point. Not every book but after His at Night there was a serious, serious idea drought.

Four, I always come back to historicals. Even before I published, I would write other stuff between historicals. I have on my hard disk several science fiction romance partials, a complete martial arts epic, a Star Wars novelization (ha!) and goodness knows what else. But I always come back to historicals. So the pattern hasn’t changed. Just that now I would like to come back not because a contract makes me, but because I am so excited by an idea I don’t want to do anything else but write it.

Three full length historicals–plus a novella–in a row took a toll. I just need some time off. I already feel more refreshed after THE BRIDE OF LARKSPEAR, simply because no one pours tea.  Although one can make the argument that the books in the trilogy are each very different, they still take place around the same time and revolve around the same people and rather similar settings.  And therefore, endless cups of tea were poured.  At one point, I seriously thought I would burst a blood vessel if I had to write one more cup of tea.  🙂

Or at least one more cup of tea that isn’t in a context of mayhem, as there happens to be multiple instances of tea pouring in the YA fantasy–THE BURNING SKY, I need to get used to referring to it by name–but those are usually surrounded by @#$% getting serious and protagonists in mortal danger.  You see what I mean?

I am an action-adventure girl at heart–heck, I managed to insert a Jules Verne-esque airship journey into an otherwise most Downton Abbey-ish book*.  But the historical romance genre tends to put a lot of restriction on action-adventuring.  For example, the last time I got fed up of tea pouring and went far afield–Not Quite a Husband, that is–I paid for it in sales.  Wal-Mart would not carry His at Night, my next book, even thought everything about that book–virgin, lord, spy–is perfect for Wal-Mart.

Thankfully in this age of digital publishing one can now sell a lot of copies away from Wal-Mart.  But I’m still not sure how well an exotic setting historical will do overall, and that, at the moment, is the only kind of historical idea that excites me to any degree.  (And that’s not enough in and of itself, just to be excited about guns and danger and rough terrain, without a plot or a concrete conflict.)

I digress.  What I mean to say is that writing different things refreshes me.  By the time I was done with the first draft of THE BURNING SKY, my head spinning from plotting and world-building, I was so ready for drawing rooms, tea, and intricate scenes where the only danger was that of the heart.  So it is quite likely that by the time I finish the sequel to THE BURNING SKY, I will be ready, indeed, yearning to write a historical again.

*Ravishing the Heiress

40 thoughts on “About That Historical Hiatus

  1. That’s great news for all us historical lovers. And I’ve been dying to see that older manuscript of yours — here’s hoping Berkley jumps on it!

    I laughed about all the tea-pouring. But I hear you on that!

  2. Sherry, thank you for the update! I’ll happily follow you into any genre you choose to write in, and I’m very intrigued by THE BURNING SKY–but I’m so glad you’ll return to historicals one day. Best wishes for the MS your agent just submitted.

  3. I’m so glad you clarified. I was trying to be all happy, cheerful, it’s-Sherry’s-decision-so-just-live-with-it about the earlier post. Whew!

    Also, I’m still anxious to read about a rifle-totin’ heroine, no matter what the genre 😉

  4. NQAH is still my all-time favorite of yours, which is saying something since I love all your historicals so much. I hope you get to write more in exotic locales someday. Thanks for posting such a very interesting post! Can’t wait to read the YAs.

    • I agree NQAH is one of my all time favorite books. I thought the exotic local, the female doctor the angst was so well done that, I’ll now read anything with your name on it.

      • I second…third(?) this as well! I LOVED LOVED LOVED Not Quite a Husband. It’s one of my all time faves as well. It wasn’t even the exotic locale that did it for me, but the non-traditional dynamics of the book: older heroine younger hero, doctor heroine, divorced couple, etc. Of course, the fact that most of the drama happened outside of the drawing room was a definite bonus.

        What I’m trying to say, basically, is that I hope you DO write more stories that are out of the traditional genre because they’re somehow absolutely gut-wrenching and heartwarming at the same time (not that you’re other books aren’t).

  5. Haha–now I’m sorry for prodding you about writing a blog post–you didn’t know all our heads were going to explode over your off- the-cuff comments! 😉 Of course three full length books and two novellas would be enough to put anyone off tea pouring for quite a while! (Though it was Disneyland for readers like me.)

    I do wonder about writers who stay in the same time period for decades, coming up with endless story lines revolving around the same six-ten years in history. The truth is–for me– only in the rarest of cases do they stay fresh and original and exciting. So I am glad to read all the types of books you will put out in the future. But the thought of you going away from historicals forever literally had me tearing up–get a life, right? 😉

    I did not know about NQAH/His at Night and Wal-Mart. That is crazy. Do people at Wal-Mart actually sit down and read all the books they decide to put on their shelves? If so, they have a lot of ‘splaining to do. Melisande’s yellow dress alone qualified it for a spot on the shelves.

    To sum up, thank you for the clarifications and enjoy your time away from your tea cozy. 🙂

  6. Not Quite a Husband is one of my very favourite romances. It is the book that led to me buying your entire backlist and putting you on auto-buy. I have no idea what criteria Wal Mart uses, but their refusal to carry His at Night only reinforces to me why I don’t shop there.

    I look forward to The Burning Sky and I, for one, would love to see more action/adventure and less tea-pouring in historicals :-).

  7. Thanks for clarifying, and sorry (a little) for whining earlier. You should write what you want, as should any writer (insert here a chorus of “George RR Martin is not your bitch”).

    Not Quite a Husband was a wonderful book. Wal-Mart is stupid. His at Night was also wonderful. And Tempting the Bride? Kept me up until 2:00 this morning, and I’m glad.

  8. I’m happy to hear that you’re not moving away from historicals. You’re so talented a writer that your voice would be missed. It sounds like you need a slight break to decompress from the trilogy/novellas.

    I tried to find Tempting the Bride at Target, but didn’t have any luck. It’s just not you, however. It appears that WalMart & Target are carrying far fewer mid-list authors than just a few years ago. They keep expanding their YA inventory at the expense of romance.

    As far as future plots, I so enjoyed His At Night. Would you ever consider writing another English spy novel with the French Revolution as a backdrop? There would be plenty of action adventure in the middle of a war.

  9. What a relief! You have a very unique voice in the world of historicals. Your characters are so…real. I have to believe that your will get your historical muse back. I will be anxiously waiting until then.

    • I second that, except I am now no longer anxious. I’m relieved! And also interested in scifi and martial arts epic (the latter especially if coming from you)!

  10. So glad you will continue to write historicals as you are so talented in this genre, Sherr. Just downloaded my copy of Tempting the Bride on iBooks and I can’t wait to read it!

  11. Hi Sherry,

    Oh Gosh i was afraid you will leave historical COMPLETELY, glad you wont do that hahahaha

    It’s good thing to write bout other genre, it’s also good to make things feel “fresh”

    but ofc i cant wait for your other historical releases 😀 you’re so good at it

    Thx for everything sherry

  12. I’m flabbergasted that NQAH didn’t translate into sales. It’s not only one of my favorite romances of all time, but one of my favorite books period. Such a beautiful story.

  13. Wal-Mart wouldn’t sale His At Night? I’m shocked!! I bought a modern day romance at Wal-Mart that involved a relationship between two men & one female. Some type of husband sharing wife tale. It was beyond graphic. NQAH is my favorite romance by you, I think I’ve read it 4x. I read all your historical romances more than once. They are beautiful stories, that can be read again and again. Completely understand why you may need a break, just don’t make it a long one.

  14. I just finished TEMPTING THE BRIDE.
    I think it is the best of the trilogy (series?). I have read all the connecting stories, including the bit of erotica (whew!), and it is a perfect summation of the story. Very fine, emotionally authentic. I am telling everyone.
    So, about this hiatus. Do what you must. I feel the same way with my reading. I was burnt out on romances and had to read a few other books. I came back refreshed and ready for “The Bride” and TTB. I am now heading out to find THE BURNING SKY because when I like an author I tend to want to read everything.
    I have said this elsewhere; some authors are read many, some are read everything, and some are buy everything (and share!). You Ms. Thomas are a buy everything author, so write what you will and I will follow with my book protectors and forgotten coffee.

  15. NQAH and Delicious were among my favorite HR novels. I have read everything you wrote and will eagerly await the arrival of THE BURNING SKY.

  16. I usually prefer to reply to everyone individually, and you’d think I could do that easily, what with me not being currently on deadline and all. But somehow October has been a whole lot of running around with various travels, meetings, and work shops scheduled to coincide with the release of Tempting the Bride. I am writing now from my sister-in-law’s house in Dallas, spending the weekend here for the Buns & Roses Tea for Literacy event. Next weekend I’ll be back here again to give a workshop to the North Texas chapter.

    So let me just give a combined huge thank-you to everyone for all your wonderfully kind words. As I said, it’s only a hiatus. And quite likely not very long either. Moreover, THE BURNING SKY is also a historical, and features a pretty darn epic love story, if I do say so myself.

    And the thing about Wal-Mart’s power is that compared to 2010, it is already on the wane. There was a time when 50% of a romance’s numbers might come from Wal-Mart and other traditional outlets. And not getting into Wal-Mart was a big blow for the aspirations of any writer looking to move up the ladder. But now it is a new world altogether and while I will continue on with my traditional publishers, it is comforting to know that next time I want to step outside the sometimes narrow confines of historical romance norms, readers can find my books online everywhere.

    And NOT QUITE A HUSBAND has been my strongest electronic backlist title for a while, driven by word of mouth.

    Which remind me, I’d better get back to work finish proofing it so that we can have both NQAH and HAN ebooks available for sale overseas, since I promised folks that will happen this month.

    Thank you again and I am so very grateful for your support.

  17. I am very frustrated! Where is The Burning Sky? Has it not been published? I thought you were working on a sequel? Is it published under an alias?

  18. Recently discovered your blog and found this post especially interesting. I hope a response at this late stage is not unwelcome. 🙂

    Your fantasy trilogy sounds intriguing and I’ll be sure to check it out, although I’m happy to hear that, at some point, there are likely to be more historicals from you. But I can certainly understand and sympathize with the need to switch gears and write something very different for a while. It’s so easy to fall into a rut or burn out on a steady diet of the same thing, even if it’s generally your favorite. A break can do wonders, and one can come back rejuvenated and ready to fall in love with the genre all over again.

  19. I just love contemporary and historical romances. You and Meredith Duran are two of my favorites. I would have been so disappointed if you stopped writing historical romances. I am not a fan of YA novels, but I will try yours. Maybe you can try a contemporary!!

    • I have a bad, bad, bad contemporary. 🙂 It will need to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch, like with most of my first drafts.

      You can think of my YA as a historical romance. Just disregard the fantasy elements. 🙂

  20. First read this post in October and wanted to write a post about Wal-mart and their declining book inventories, but you’ve already addressed that, thankfully. Like many others, NQAH is probably my #1 favorite book of yours – which means that the story has stayed in my mind and I will recall a certain scene at random times and have to go and reread it. All your books have been that way for me – I remember them in great detail. This from a fast reader that blows through books and remembers nothing about them a week later. (BTW, if you haven’t read Cecilia Grant, you should. I think you two have a lot in common.)
    Now, to my main point at last, more historically. Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, Charlie! There’s a story there, and we all do love those Marsden brothers.

    • I agree there is a kernal of a story there with Charles Marsden. And I always wanted to pair him with Callista, Bryony’s sister. But then I have never been able to come up with a good conflict, since in my head, Callista has always been in love with him and whatnot.

      But, now that I’m answering you, I’m wondering, what if Callista, instead of flirting with Matthew, the gay brother, for fun, is actually really in love with Matthew. And only when she is completely but gently turned down by Matthew, does she turn around to Charlie and say, I guess you’ll do in a pinch?

      That’s a better start. But still only enough conflict for a novella.

      Book-length conflicts are hard to come by, for me. 🙂

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