For The King: an update

Gerard Madame Recamier

I have finished the “final” edits to For The King, and sent them to my agent, Stephanie Cabot. So I chose this beautiful portrait of Madame Récamier by Gérard to illustrate this post, because this is how I picture my heroine, Blanche. And, I must say, I feel the writer’s equivalent of postpartum blues.

What has changed in this new version? Blanche, precisely. She is more passionate about her political ideas. I tried to make her struggles to extricate herself from the moral and practical consequences of her choices more dramatic.

Also, thanks to a suggestion from my editor at Dutton, Bonaparte now makes a cameo appearance. In that new scene he confronts Fouché, his Minister of Police, immediately after the attack. I tend to be shy about injecting major historical characters into my novels, because I want to remain as historically accurate as possible while keeping my creative freedom. For that new scene I relied on the Memoirs of an eyewitness, Fouché himself.

About the ending? As before, not all of the “terrorists” are caught and punished (but I can’t change historical fact: one of them did escape to the United States.) But otherwise the ending changed, much to my surprise! It is happier. I am yet unable to tell how this affects the reader’s overall take on the novel, and wait with bated breath for Stephanie’s opinion.

Then if she likes the result, she will forward the manuscript to Dutton, perhaps for another round of edits. So these may not be final after all…

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