I have been working on Murphy Gold Rush Dog, the second book in the Dog Chronicles for the past year (it seems), and it's always interesting to come to the final stages when editors, the artist and I are all working together to make sure the book is the best it can be.
Peachtree Publishers in Atlanta, Georgia, has published many of my books--all historical fiction. They've done a superb job and I am proud of each one. Many have been about horses including the Gabriel Trilogy, which began with Gabriel's Horses, and Emma's River, which is for younger readers. The Gabriel books were nominated for many state readers awards and were Junior Book Guild selections, so our hard work paid off.
Each book that I write for Peachtree is a huge undertaking, starting with the idea, which I wrote about in one of my last blog. Research comes next, and then the writing--both take up the most time and require the most effort, but these last stages such as I am working on with Murphy are also important. My editor is very thorough, and I respect all her changes and input. Everything is done electronically and via email so I never have a first or second draft in my hands. But if I did, there would be lots of RED--cross outs, changes and questions. I have to do a bibliography and historical section as well, so there are many facts to check--tedious but important since these books sell to schools, and reviewers and librarians are sticklers for accurate information.
The best part of these last stages is seeing the artwork. Michael G. Montgomery is the illustrator for Darling Mercy Dog of World War I -- the first book in the Dog Chronicles--as well as for Murphy. His art is stupendous!!! and I hope he will continue with the next book. I've added the cover sketch for Murphy and it is so exciting to see my words and description come alive. Hopefully by next post I will have a copy of the completed cover to show. But I'll have to wait until fall to hold the actual book in my hands!
On another matter--I hope spring is FINALLY arriving at everyone's house!