FTC Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It is my pleasure to welcome Joanna Campbell Slan to blog today. I’ve been a fan of her writing for quite some time and am honored to be a part of the blog tour for The Glassblower’s Wife.
How Long Should This Thing Be?
By Joanna Campbell Slan
When I first started writing cozies, my contracts specified that my books be around 85,000 words. Over the years, that changed. In fact, more recent contracts whittled that number down to 70,000 words. Why? Well, it’s cheaper for the publisher to print, stock, and send a smaller book. It also takes less time to edit.
That said, my newest book – The Glassblower’s Wife – is unusually short at 12,000-some odd words. The technical name is a novelette, which is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel.
How did I settle on that length?
I wrote the best story I could and let the story dictate its length. Then I sent the story out to my Beta Babes, my trusty band of first draft readers. When I asked them if I should lengthen The Glassblower’s Wife, their response was a unanimous, “No!”
To a person, they told me that it would dilute the drama. They loved the quicker pace, the shorter style. I totally understand. I write short chapters for the same reason. So often, I find myself reading while brushing my teeth or while waiting for the bell to ding on the microwave, and shorter pieces of fiction allow me to take a mental vacation while doing something totally mundane.
Furthermore, at such a short length, I really had to make every word count. So I went over and over the story, trying to paint the most compelling characters I could.
So far, readers have told me my strategy works. Out of a possible 5 stars, The Glassblower’s Wife rates a 4.8-star average.
What’s totally odd is that this short piece took more research than anything I’ve ever written. I spent months reading about the process of glassblowing, the hierarchy of men who were early glassblowers, and of course, I needed to know everything I could discover about life in the late 1600s. We read about King Louis XIV and his extravagance, but learning about the common folks was quite different.
A couple of times, I thought, “Why am I doing this?”
The answer kept coming back to me: “Because it’s a story that begs to be written.”
I hope you enjoy The Glassblower’s Wife.
Thank you Joanna! I certainly enjoyed The Glassblower’s Wife. I was very impressed with the whole story being wrapped up in such a short format. I tend to be a bit wordy so I have a great respect for authors who can tell a great story in a concise manner. I love historical fiction almost as much as I do cozy mysteries. But what really hooked me in this story was Ruth. She’s truly a strong character and I can’t help but wonder about the rest of her story. I also found the story about glass makers very interesting and have added the topic to my list of things to research. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction so much – it inspires me to learn more. That’s rather a good thing for a school librarian.
If you like historical fiction and strong female characters, I strongly recommend you read this enchanting story. Thanks to the author I have one e-copy of the book to give away. Please comment on this post with your thoughts about historical fiction. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you should win. A random drawing will be held after midnight on April 11th. Joanna is also offering a $50 Amazon Gift Card. You can enter that giveaway here.
When Jewish glassmakers and their families flee the powerful Doge of Venice, the cost of their freedom is three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors—the creation of the magnificent Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. But the Doge sends assassins to pick off the artists, one by one. Can Ruth Telfin, the mute widow of the head glassmaker, save her people?
About This Author
Joanna Campbell Slan is the award-winning author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries (an Agatha Award Finalist) and two other mystery series. Her stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series has been read and loved by millions. Her books reviving the classic heroine Jane Eyre have won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award. In her past life, Joanna was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. She is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC. The Slans make their home on Jupiter Island, Florida.