November 1, 2007
Remember in Wayne’s World, when Wayne and Garth meet Alice Cooper and start in with the whole “We’re not worthy!” thing?
Well, the same thing just happened to me. No, not with Alice Cooper! With Barbara Taylor Bradford.
The incredibly fabulous Barbara, author of A Woman of Substance and more recently The Ravenscar Dynasty, said something really nice about my new novel, The Winter Rose.
This is what she said:
“I loved this book. It is truly seductive, hard to put down, filled with mystery, secret passions, unique locations, and a most engaging heroine. India Selwyn Jones is a new breed of woman in London in 1900, a doctor practicing in the grim East End , and she captivates from the first page to the last.”
Dude! I’m soooo not worthy!
To know how much this means to me, you have to know how much I love A Woman of Substance.
I first read the book when I was thirteen. I found it on my Aunt Grace’s bookshelf, along with about a hundred big fat 70’s blockbusters, and I was blown away. Emma was ladylike, elegant, determined, and tough as nails – a total Edwardian badass. She got knocked down, but she got right back up, put on her black dress and pearls, and proceeded to take over the world.
Throughout my high school English career, I didn’t want to be most of the people I encountered on the page. I didn’t want to be Bartleby the Scrivener. Or Hester Prynne. Or Raskolnikov. Or anyone in The Crucible. Or the psycho from A Clockwork Orange. Or the girl from the The Bell Jar. Especially not the girl from The Bell Jar.
I wanted to be Emma Harte and I still do.
The Winter Rose, like The Tea Rose, was written as an homage to A Woman of Substance, and The Thornbirds and Scruples, and all of those wonderful books that I read as a kid, even though I really shouldn’t have because they had racy bits. Books that had larger-than-life heroines, epic plots, sweeping backdrops, star-crossed romances, and fabulous clothes. Books that kept me up at night reading under the covers with a flashlight. Books that allowed me, a thirteen year old kid from a small upstate town, to catch a glimpse of a bigger, bolder, beckoning world.
Thank you, Barbara, for that most excellent high-five. And thank you even more for Emma Harte.