Tuesday, July 12, 2011
CHANGING FATE was my first novel. Like several of my friend's novels, it started as a short story: "A Woman's Privilege" in SWORD AND SORCERESS 3, published in 1986.
During the summer of 1986 I was writing the book as a serial and sending it to Madeline L'Engle, who was a friend of mine. Her husband was in the hospital with cancer, so I sent her a chapter a week to give her something to distract her from the problems of her daily life. By the time he died in September, I was almost done with the book. I finished it in November, and went back to writing short stories.
A couple of years later Andre Norton created her Gryphon Award. I didn't pay much attention at first, thinking I wasn't eligible because of all the short stories I had in print. But she and Marion and Julian May were working on BLACK TRILLIUM, which meant that I went to Florida with Marion. (She needed someone to do her insulin injections and she didn't drive. During that trip I discovered she couldn't read maps, either, which probably explains the geography of Darkover.) While the three authors were coming up with a Bible for the Trillium universe, I was talking with Andre's secretary, who commented that Andre wasn't getting as many good novels as she had hoped and suggested that I submit something. I stared at her in surprise and said "But I'm not eligible, am I?" She assured me that I was, so I sent CHANGING FATE, thinking that Andre might at least enjoy reading it.
The next thing that happened was that I was awakened on my birthday by a call from Russell Galen, my agent (when you're in California and your agent is in New York, he's usually at work long before you're up--and sometimes before the sun is up. He asked "What on earth is the Gryphon Award?" Still half-asleep, I explained what it was, and he said, "Well, you've won it." This meant that I attended in 1989 Worldcon in Boston to accept the award. Shortly after I got home from Boston, Marion had a major stroke, followed about six months later by a heart attack that the doctors all expected would kill her, so I was too busy dealing with her life to have time to worry about mine. While I coped with that, Russ sold my novel to DAW Books.
CHANGING FATE was published by DAW Books in 1994. It earned out its advance and then went out of print. I got the rights back, and it is currently available for Kindle and from Fictionwise in eBook form, and in paperback from CreateSpace.