New life for old books
I’ve got my knickers in a twist (or panties in a knot, apparently, if I was American!) about books that haven’t been updated when they so easily could be.
What’s got me going is a book published in 2016 by a well-known New Zealand author. It must be an old one she’s bought back her publication rights to and re-published. Nice enough read, but it mentions several times ‘The Holmes Show’ and ‘the top-rated Paul Holmes news show’. Paul stopped fronting that show in 2004 - that’s thirteen years ago. How easy it would have been to just tweak out the name a few times and call it ‘the top-rating evening news show’ or something before republishing it in ebook form.
I had to do this with Seduction on the Cards. I’d given my hero Alexandre a phone that went out of date, but it was easy enough to change it to ‘a smartphone’ or whatever I did before I reloaded the book. I also tweaked a camcorder out of my first sheikh novel, because now it’s so easy to video with your phone.
Somewhere in this house I have a Nora Roberts double re-issue. It’s a paperback, some years old now, but I was astounded to find the heroine pounding away on an electric typewriter. How long have we had computers? That would have been so easy for the publishers to bring up to date.
But sometimes… history just changes on you. I’ve mentioned the famous Wellington Sevens rugby tournament in a couple of my novels. It’s been running for years – an absolute fixture. BUT this year looks like being its final time. The wowsers have complained about the weekend-long fun, the skimpy costumes, the excessive drinking and partying. (Don't they look like they're having a good time? This is straight off our TV set.)
The Sevens have been converted to a ‘family-friendly occasion’. You can imagine how well that went down with the young people who were there for a good time. They’ve stayed away in droves. You can also imagine how much young families didn’t want to sit through two complete days of rugby!
It’s dead. So now I’ll have to tweak a couple of mentions out of the Boat Builder’s Bed, which won’t be a problem. But getting it out of Seduction on the Cards will be a biggie. Kerri makes costumes for her friends. Alexandre comes back from France, using the Sevens as an excuse to reconnect with her. Uh-oh! Big job for Mrs P if I decide to do it. Meanwhile, on I go with the second Scarlet Bay novel ‘Hard to Resist’ – being careful to put in nothing so cutting edge that it’ll go out of date any time soon… I hope.