The Lost Duchess, by Jenny Barden

The Lost Duchess
This month I’m delighted to welcome back historical fiction author, Jenny Barden, to Whims & Tonic to tell us about her second novel, THE LOST DUCHESS, which was published last week and is being officially launched in London this very evening! Jenny’s debut novel MISTRESS OF THE SEA  was hugely successful – testament not only to Jenny’s wonderful writing, but to her relentless hard work! In her interview below (which she wisely sent on before opening the champagne tonight), Jenny updates us on the challenges of writing that ‘difficult second novel’ and shares a fascinating insight into the many different aspects of a writer’s life and explains why it helps to be a proficient juggler. Over to Jenny ….
Hello again, Hazel, and thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to say a little about what has happened since I had the privilege of contributing to ‘Then & Now’ back in June.
The first major bit of good news is that the book which I had then just finished (in the midst of a house move, leaks and flood warnings!) is now published. THE LOST DUCHESS came out on 7 November in hardback and as an ebook and will be released as a paperback next summer.
When I last spoke to you I was on tenterhooks as to whether this book would meet my editor’s approval. Well, it wasn’t all plain sailing; there were several rounds of revisions before the book finally got the unqualified ‘just right’ that I really wanted to hear. In fact, there was so much pressure to refine the manuscript to what became a looming deadline that the release of the paperback for my debut largely passed me by in a blur!
I think readers and new writers sometimes don’t fully appreciate how much juggling authors need to do between finished books that are about to be published, those in the process of being refined, copy-edited and proof read, and those in the course of development, being written creatively. It’s not unusual to have all three stages on the go at once – or maybe more for authors with several titles out a year. Balancing promotion with editing and full throttle writing is sometimes hard to do well.
So it’s with a proud sigh of relief that I’m able to report back and say that The Lost Duchess is on her way. She has a beautiful jacket with which I’m delighted and (this is the icing on the cake) she was recently shortlisted for the ‘Best Historical Read’ Award at the UK’s Festival of Romance.  Just to be on the shortlist along with five other splendid authors of romantic historical fiction is honour enough. It’s heartening to see so much interest in the Duchess before she’s even stepped out into public view. Requests for review copies keep coming in, and the list of events at which I’ve been invited to speak about her continues to rise.
For anyone who enjoys epic adventures, or who is interested in Elizabethan history, the founding of America, or reading a love story with a difference, I hope The Lost Duchess will be one to consider.
More about Jenny and The Lost Duchess can be found at the following links:
Next month, I will be interviewing author Heather Webb about the experience of writing and launching her debut novel BECOMING JOSEPHINE, which will be published by Plume/Penguin at the end of December.

Getting Published – live workshop this Saturday

Writers Web TV

I’m really excited to be participating in a new venture called Writers Web TV, the brain child of Ireland’s writing industry superwoman, Vanessa O’Loughlin of and Inkwell Writers.

Getting Published is a live workshop, which you can register to watch, online, for free and takes place this Saturday, 9th November.

Literary agent, Carole Blake will impart wisdom from her best-selling publishing guide From Pitch to Publication, and tell writers what to expect from a publishing deal and how to secure one. The US publishing market will be explained by Paul Feldstein who will give you the lowdown on how to crack stateside publishers and children’s literary agent Julia Churchill will be chatting about the colourful world of children’s publishing, how to pitch your book and identify the right agent for your work.

I will be talking about my path to publication, the importance of your author profile, how to get the best from social media and how to clock up those all-important sales for your book. I’ll  be explaining (hopefully!) how self publishing can open doors for you and talking about my US publishing deal.

Viewers will be able to interact with those in studio to help them develop their skills and get answers to their questions. WritersWebTV has developed a world-first innovation in online education for writers by providing live-streamed interactive workshops to a global audience, featuring Irish and international best-selling writers and industry professionals.

Led by literary scout Vanessa O’Loughlin, founder of, the panel will consider the key elements of fiction writing and furnish viewers with tips, advice and actionable insights to help them improve their writing and get it on the path to publication.

Viewers can watch the full one-day workshops for free when they watch them live. If they want to download a workshop or watch it later, they can pay to keep the course.

To register, click the following link:

The Girl Who Came Home – available to pre-order!

The Girl Who Came Home

I’m not sure if I will ever stop getting butterflies in my tummy when I post updates like this, because I am so excited to see that the new paperback version of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME is now available to pre-order on Amazon!

The link to the Amazon page is here and the pre-order price is $9.48. The book will be available on April 1, 2014.

This time last year, I’d just completed my second novel and was anxiously awaiting feedback from the publishers it had been submitted to. I am now working on edits of that second novel which is due to be published in January 2015 and here I am, blogging about my first novel’s pre-order status. What a difference twelve months can make!