Undoubtedly there will be more news as I get the details, but I am DELIGHTED to announce that I have just accepted a terrific three-book offer from Random House for a historical fiction trilogy on the life of Marie Antoinette.
Although I got my exercise at the gym already today, I have been doing the proverbial "happy dance" since I heard the news, and shared a bottle of Prosecco with my agent this afternoon because I just had to give myself a couple of hours off from researching my nonfiction wip ROYAL PAINS, to digest the incredible news!
The first book, tentatively titled BECOMING is about Antoinette's early years, from the day she learns, as a ten-year-old girl, that her mother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, has opened negotiations to marry her to Louis-Auguste the dauphin of France -- heir to his grandfather Louis XV's throne. The first novel will end on the day she becomes queen of France.
I know exactly what time period each of the other two novels in the trilogy will span but I prefer to keep that to myself for the moment.
The only other information I have about this marvelous Random House contract is that this fresh start will necessitate a new pen name for my historical fiction (I will continue to write my nonfiction ROYAL series for NAL under my own name).
So, Amanda Elyot, who wrote 4 historical novels, and who was described by Publishers Weekly as "the queen of historical romance" [though she really wrote historical fiction, and there is a difference] has been officially declared dead. I loved her very much and I will miss her. For closure, I wrote an epitaph at the Northshire Bookstore's Halloween party last Saturday night up in Manchester, VT.
She lived to write another day ... but under another name.
"What's in a name?" asked the greatest writer in the English language. We'll find out. Right now my choice of surname is "Grey" -- it has royal overtones and "Leslie" is Celtic for "from the grey fortress, so it's my little personal inside joke.
As for potential first names, I'm becoming fond of (alphabetically) Annabel, Diana, Emily, Juliet, Olivia, and Vivien.
Feel free to weigh in! I welcome your suggestions.