If you had a chance to change something you created a decade ago, would you take it? I have that opportunity as some of my older books are being reissued, and since I’ve been asked if the reissued books are identical to the originals, I thought I’d talk about that here. The truth is, it varies from book to book.
I didn’t change The Courage Tree at all, so if you find an old copy somewhere, the story should be identical to the reissue. In Breaking the Silence, though, I made a small but significant change that I believe heightens the suspense and makes the outcome more suprising. A reader’s experience will be different if she reads the original vs the reissue. I did no updating of the story itself, though, because the CIA Mind Control Experiments drive everything that happens. Since those experiments really took place, I needed to stick to specific dates in the book.
Summer’s Child, which was just released, has minimal changes. I did update the story a bit so that the styles of clothing, cars, etc, aren’t jarring to the reader.
Right now, I’m rereading Cypress Point to see what I want to change and I’m playing with this one a bit more than the others. First, I have to say I adore this book as much as I did when I wrote it. It’s an intriguing, twisty, and throught-provoking story, if I do say myself. So what am I changing? Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but what the heck: as I read Cypress Point, I find that something relatively minor about one of the characters is really bugging me and I plan to “fix” that person. It seems so strange to tamper with a character who’s existed in one form for so long, but it also feels great to be able to make the book better. When I wrote Cypress Point, I was perfectly happy with the character, so what’s changed? Me. And my writing. This character needs some tweaking to bring him or her (not giving the identity away!) up to my 2010 standards. I believe it makes the character more believable and more sympathetic. There’s something else I’m altering, and that’s a love scene. Too graphic for my current taste. So if you love a steamier scene, you might want to stick with the original version!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know my publisher wants to change the title of Cypress Point. I had strong reservations about this and I know some of my readers still do. I hope you can get past it because I finally have. My editor came up with a title I adore: The Shadow Wife. It fits the story incredibly well, and I’ll do everything in my power to be sure my readers know that it was previously published under a different title.
And finally, the original Cypress Point cover has always been one of my least favorites and I can’t wait to see what my publisher comes up with for the reissue.
So how about you? Do you wish you had a do-over on work you did ten years ago?