Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Salon: Self Publishing and Wish: A Novella by Kelly Hunter

One of the interesting thing that seems to be happening in self publishing these days is that many established authors are using self publishing as a venue to either republish their older work which have been out of print for a while or publishing work that wouldn't necessarily make it into "normal" published works.

For example, sitting on my ereader at the moment I have a number of books by Colleen Gleason which are completely different to her more established vampire books, but I am still prepared to give them a go because I know that for the most part I like her voice.

When Kelley Armstrong visited Australia earlier this year she talked about the fact that she was working on writing the third book in the Nadia Stafford series and that it would be self published. There are readers all over the world asking for this third book, including me, but the publishers have decided that they aren't interested, so self publishing keeps the readers happier than they would otherwise have been.

I do worry sometimes that we might end up with books being self published that shouldn't really see the light of day, especially if an author decides to self publish their early books that were rejected until they had honed their art enough to get to a point where they did achieve publishing success.

This novella is another example of an established author exploring the world of self publishing, and has the added bonus of being a seasonal read! Kelly Hunter is a successful author in category romance. She has been nominated for a Rita (the Oscars of romance) three times. I wouldn't exactly call myself an established Hunter fan given that I have only read one book by her and that was earlier this week, but I am going to buy more over the weekend and I have one already loaded up on the ereader ready to go at the moment so I am well on my way.

I knew from that first book that I enjoyed Hunter's storytelling, I liked her humour and I especially liked the way she used her settings. This novella confirmed this! It is also a good chance for someone who hasn't read her before to get a taste of her writing for less than $1.50.

Billie Temple is after a new start. She want to get away from her inner suburban life where she lives in a couple of rooms above the pub she manages and there is nowhere safe for her son Cal to play. A new life managing a country pub where her son has acres of space to play in seems like the perfect solution!

It is therefore a bit unfortunate that one of her closest neighbours, and her land lord, instantly decides that he doesn't want Billie and Cal on his land. He has his reasons, mostly to do with his own past which is filled with heartbreak, but he makes it very clear to Billie that she and her son will be moving somewhere, anywhere, else as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made.

Billie shakes things up a bit not only with Adam but also in the pub that she manages, making changes and bringing in new ideas, and trying to fit into the country community. It does seems that not everyone is happy with this and so we have a brief suspense-type subplot where someone vandalises some property and we have to wait to see who it is that seems to not like Billie and why. As an aside, I never really understand why the suspense subplot is so prevalent in contemporary and historical romances. It seems to be an over used plot tool to me. Surely there are other ways to make the characters realise how much they care about the other person and get them to act on it.

Adam seems to epitomise an Aussie country bloke to me. He is good looking, rugged, a little bit on the quiet side. I know that this doesn't necessarily reflect reality, but a girl can dream can't she. Even though Billie and Adam agree that they are going to act on their growing attraction (who knew that fixing windmill pumps could be so sexy?) but that it is going to be a no-strings attached type relationship. Despite this, Adam can't help himself. He finds himself being protective of both Billie and Cal. It is hard for him though, because this interaction reminds him of his own past, and his wife and child who died years before.

Even with the no-strings relationship agreement, I was glad when Billie stood up to Adam and basically said this isn't working for me anymore. Billie is definitely the better defined, more dimensional character of the two, but I did like Adam a lot too. I especially liked the fact that these are two relatively normal people. No billionaire, no superstar. Just two normal people who meet and fall in love.

Hunter manages to fit in not only the romance, the suspense subplot and also a lovely secondary romance as well in this novella and it feels very balanced.

I am not always convinced that short stories and novellas work for romance, particularly where there isn't any kind of existing relationship between the two main characters. After all, you need to convey a meaningful relationship with growth between and by the characters, often with some kind of conflict and resolution as well as the happily ever after declaration! Hunter manages to move the narrative forward in time without making the reader feel as though they were missing out or that the relationship was rushed.

If you want to read the review that made me need to go to Smashwords and buy this novella immediately, head on over to Katydid in Oz. She's even got a dancing Picard!

All single mother Billie Temple wants for Christmas is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home.

All widowed cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to go away.

Santa's got a problem.


  1. I think self-publishing will shake up the publishing industry a lot. It will be interesting to see what happens whether authors are able to gain more leverage because of it. I also wonder if the copyright laws will be forced to change somehow- I don't think it's quite fair that authors can stop getting money from the sale of books after a certain amount of time.

  2. Interesting and definitely food for fodder. Here is my Sunday Salon post. Hope you had a great day!

  3. Very interesting, I hadn't given the implications of self publishing much thought until reading your post. Maybe some power needed to go back to the authors. But, as you say we could also just end up drowning in a sea of rubbish. It will be interesting to see how it all evolves

  4. I agree with your feelings about self-publishing. I think there will be a greater amount of works that please readers out there with the advent of self-publishing, but I also think that there will be some real stinkers out there as well. Readers will have to be careful, and this is where helpful and honest reviews come into play. This was a great post today, and I enjoyed reading about the book, and the background information as well! Thanks, Marg!

  5. Thanks for taking the time to read and review Wish, Marg. Appreciated.

    The 'why self e-publish?' question is a fascinating one. I'm sure different authors will give different answers, depending on where they are in their careers.

    For me, being able to offer a low cost 'taster' that I had full control of was most appealing.

    Then there was the lure of the unknown... getting in there and working through the book-making process from start to finish has been interesting. I now have a much greater appreciation for copy-editors, for example.

    There was the lure of having almost instant access to sales figures from the different outlets - no waiting 12-18 months to find out how well a story sold.

    And then there were the trickier elements of self e-publishing - like how to keep story quality high, and how best to mesh self e-pubbed offerings with an ongoing career in traditional publishing.

    Interesting times for authors and publishers. And readers too :)

  6. Kelly, thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing your reasons for self publishing this novella. I agree that it is interesting times for all of us who like to read, write and publish

    Zibilee, one of the challenges is definitely going to be finding the good stuff and avoiding the dross!\

    Laurel, all good reasons for self publishing. The challenge is going to be finding readers and while I have read some good self published stuff, I have also read some shockers and as a result I am somewhat more wary of self published books than I was before.

    Mel and Aarti, it will definitely be intereting to see where it all goes from here.

    Melissa, thanks for stopping by!