Saturday, August 16, 2014

First Crack Out of the Bag

Heyer began The Black Moth as a serial story to amuse her brother Boris who had a form of hemophilia. At the age of 17 (Boris was 13) they went to Hastings in order for him to get over a bout of illness, and she made up the story to relieve their boredom. Her father, who had a connection to a literary agent called Christy, suggested, after hearing some of the story, that she prepare it for publication. He made the arrangements, sending the manuscript to Christy's partner, Leonard P. Moore. Moore sold the manuscript to Constable in England and Houghton Mifflin in the U.S. On the original book jacket Heyer's picture appeared in a central medallion -- something she would never allow in later years.

"First crack out of the bag," are the words she herself used to describe the publication of her first novel. Her mother, it is said, had a few qualms about her daughter being a novelist, but her father and her agent were very enthusiastic.

In later years Heyer did not like it when some of her fans insisted on preferring TBM to her other books; I suppose as she matured it didn't seem to be the type of book she would want to be known for or raved after. But, although not a favorite of mine, I prefer it to anything written by Baroness Orczy or even Jeffery Farnol! It is what it is, and there is nothing wrong with a wildly romantic, a bit over-the-top, period romance once in a while!

Next entry: The Great Roxhythe

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