Monday, June 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: Emily Mims

Meet Emily Mims, the author of twenty romance novels. Emily combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time.  She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands.  She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them.  Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”
Welcome to Book Blather, Emily.

Twitter:  @EmilyMimsAuthor

      Updating a Vintage Story for Today’s Market

            When my editor Chris Keeslar of Boroughs Publishing bought three of my 1985 romances for re-release by Boroughs, I was thrilled for many reasons, not least of which was that I thought ‘Great!  Three more books on the market I don’t have to write!’  And in part that was certainly true.  The stories were plotted and complete manuscripts existed.  But…to my surprise the re-release of a vintage story does require some work on the part of the author to get that book ready to compete in today’s quite different market.  But getting an older book ready can be a lot of fun, as I found out in updating ‘Season of Enchantment,’ ‘A Dangerous Attraction,’ and ‘For the Thrill of it All’ (formerly ‘Dangerous Interlude’).

            So what did updating these books entail?  First order of business-do we leave the book set in 1985 or throw in cell phones and laptops and try to pass it off as current?  There was no question about ‘Season of Enchantment’-it had to stay in 1985 since it involves a rescue behind 1985 Vietnam’s Bamboo Curtain.  So I limited my changes to this manuscript to correcting the errors the scanner made (which can be hilarious), taking out a few politically incorrect terms and making a few other changes Chris requested.  I thought it would be fun to include an epilogue set in 2015 in which we see how life turned out for the two couples in the story, and if I happened to plant a seed or two for a story about the children...  This was easy-peasy, and the rest would be, too.  Or so I thought.

            So I sat down and re-read ‘A Dangerous Attraction’ and by the time I got to the end I was cringing.  In the original story, again set in 1985, Roger never can accept that Cecelia’s job involves an element of danger to her, and Cecelia finally gives up her dangerous street work with the FBI and moves into a less dangerous position in order to marry Roger.  Yes, that ending worked in 1985-women, even the pioneering women of those days, routinely made those kinds of professional sacrifices for the sake of marriage and motherhood, both in real life and in the pages of a book.  Today, not so much-in fact, not at all.  Women face down bad guys and march off to war on a regular basis, and a heroine who gave it all up to please her man would be booed off the Internet.  I’m not going to include a spoiler here, but let’s just say that both the hero and the story got a major overhaul.  I did write another epilogue set in 2015 so the reader finds out how it all ends for them.  We again left the book in 1985 and I actually added cultural references from the 80’s to add a little atmosphere.  This one took some work, but it was worth it.  Today’s version of ‘A Dangerous Attraction’ is a much more satisfying story than the original, and today’s reader can identify with my heroine and the choices she makes.
            After ‘A Dangerous Attraction’, the upcoming ‘For the Thrill of it All’ was an easy update.  Again left in 1985, this story had me marveling at how far forensic science has progressed-my heroine is a forensic chemist for the police department and what was state of the art when I wrote the book is now positively archaic.  With a more or less timeless story, the major change I made in this manuscript was to get inside the hero’s head more and to provide more insight into why he feels compelled to risk his life for kicks.  Again, I added more in the way of cultural references from the 80’s.  And of the three revisited manuscripts, this one had the most in the way of what would now be considered politically incorrect behavior-police officers making sexual innuendoes and passes at one another on the job, smoking anywhere and everywhere, and colleagues mixing their business and pleasure-that was considered perfectly acceptable thirty years ago.  Needless to say, I left every bit of the political incorrectness intact!

            Taking another look at my stories from the past was a lot of fun.  Hopefully, they will resonate with my readers as much now as they did with my readers thirty years ago.

To learn more about Emily’s books, please visit her Facebook page listed above.

To learn more about Emily’s books, please visit her website listed above.


  1. What an interesting exercise this must have been for you. Thanks for sharing the experience with us. Best of luck with the re-releases.

  2. It's great to read what went on behind the scenes, Emily. I loved that time period. Good luck with your books!

  3. Wonderful write up, Emily! Wish you fabulous fun & many sales w/ your new revisited titles! :)))

  4. A fascinating look into your process, Emily! Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Thanks for all the comments, folks!
    Best, Emily