If you're a frequent visitor to my blog, you may have noticed that all traces of my first book, Stolen Destiny, and its association with the publisher have vanished. I have recently requested to be released from my contract with them due to creative differences.
I've always wondered what people meant when they claimed they left a project due to "creative differences." Now that I know, I understand why they would opt to leave. For me, I was willing to edit many things in my book, but to make the changes to the story that would, in effect, change the entire story from one I wrote to one the editor wants was what I wasn't willing to do.
I write erotic romance, but the problem that I was told had to be edited out was that the main character-my hero-had murdered his wife in a crime of passion when he caught her in bed with another man. He regrets it, spends lifetimes in prison for his crime, and is haunted by the fact that his actions have harmed not only his wife but his daughter, who is left an orphan after he is sent to prison. This is the focal point of the character and the story, Stolen Destiny. I cannot and will not change the fact that in a moment of madness, my character did something terrible that affected all three of them. It's just too important.
However, the publisher believes that romance readers won't find him sympathetic. Put aside the fact that romance novels often have rape (call it forced seduction, but it's rape) and those heroes are allowed to remain. Put aside the fact that my excerpt from Stolen Destiny is consistently the one that generates comments from readers that say he's so tortured by his past and this is appealing to them. Put all that aside and the fact is that I wrote my main character to be terribly flawed and submitted him and his story to the publisher. When they accepted it and offered to publish it, at no time did they indicate they would want me to change the fundamental ideas of the story. If they had, I would have declined immediately.
The story the publisher wants may be a good one. I don't know. I wrote a story called Stolen Destiny that involves a race of people called Aeveren who live many lifetimes through reincarnation. They must struggle to deal with the lives in their pasts and their actions in those lives. One of these Aeveren, a man named Varek, killed his wife and spent three lifetimes in Nil (Aeveren prison) for the crime. Everything else about the story emanates from these core ideas. That it's a romance is almost secondary to the fact that the story is one of second chances.
Perhaps that's the problem. Perhaps, as my friends have mentioned before, I'm in the wrong genre. That may be something I work with in the future with my books. But none of this changes the fact that I won't alter my story so radically so as to be unrecognizable by the person who wrote it. I'd sooner not have it published at all.