Today is the day! Iain and Annie are back!
After thinking the MacKinnon’s Rangers series was dead, lost to the chaos of the publishing industry, I am so happy that Surrender is available again.
A couple of you have asked me in emails what it was like to get a second chance to write a book I’d already written, and one person was afraid I had changed the book so much that it would no longer be the story she loved.
I will say that working on a book was published in 2006 was strange at first. My first objective was to decompress parts of it by taking scenes out of memories or flashbacks and making them real and present scenes. That was actually harder to do than I imagined. If thinking back to something that happened earlier in the day had been woven into Annie’s or Iain’s thoughts in a scene, and I removed that and put it in the present tense on stage, then what happened to the original scene?
I gained an appreciation for how tightly written the story was. Still, I found ways to make it work that I really liked and which solved a couple of problems that had been there before.
As for changing the story too much, I am not George Lucas. I did not take Surrender and fill it with stuff that just didn't need to be there. (I am so a fan of the original Star Wars films and so not a fan of the redone ones with their endless unnecessary CG creatures.) No CG creatures in Surrender!
It is the same story with the same plot. The only difference is that there are a few new scenes, an extended scene — and the entire thing has been re-edited. I’m a better writer than I was today. When I found ways to make the prose tighter or to eliminate a repetitive word or change something that could have sounded better, then I did it.
One big change, from my perspective, was changing the name of the fort from Fort Elizabeth, which it was in the original published edition, to Fort Edward, the name of the real fort where the Rangers, the country’s original special ops team, encamped.
Fort Edward is now a town, and the good people of Fort Edward were less than enthusiastic about their town disappearing from its own history. I can’t blame them. The third largest city in the Colonies during the French & Indian War, it is now a very tiny town the significance of which is almost forgotten. I didn’t want to be a part of helping the nation to forget Fort Edward. So now it’s Fort Edward and Ranger Island. (See recent blog post for sat images of both.)
Rather than sharing an excerpt, which I’ve already done, I wanted to share the dedication and acknowledgments because they’re really important this time around.
With love for my sons, Alec and Benjamin. You will always be the best and most important thing I have ever done.
With special thanks to Catrìona Mary Mac Kirnan for giving Iain and his brothers their Scottish Gaelic voice; Gary Zaboly for his meticulous drawings and research; Eileen Hannay for answering ten thousand questions and sharing the magic of Rogers Island with me; and Timothy Todish for his work on Robert Rogers’ journals. This series would not be the same without you.
I’d like to thank Natasha Kern for her tireless support, and Cindy Hwang, my editor, for giving me the chance to revisit this series and breathe new life into its pages. I truly couldn’t bear to leave these characters behind, and because of you, I don’t have to. Additional thanks go to Leis Pederson for her kindness and help through the years.
I’d also like to offer heartfelt and lasting thanks to you, my readers, who’ve clamored to see the MacKinnon’s Rangers series continue. Your enthusiasm for Iain, Morgan, Connor and the men—yes, even Lord William—means so very much to me.
Personal thanks to: Michelle White, Mary White, Sue Zimmerman, Kristi Ross, Libby Murphy, Ronlyn Howe, Jennifer Johnson, Suzanne Warren, Sara Megibow, and the wild women of RBL Romantica and Rebel Writers Refuge.
Thanks most of all to Robert Rogers and his Rangers, men who did the impossible back when doing the impossible was harder than it is today. They suffered unimaginable hardship on behalf of a people who have largely forgotten them.
To learn more about Robert Rogers and Rogers Rangers, visit the Rogers Island Visitor Center at www.rogersisland.org, or visit Rogers Island (Ranger Island) in Fort Edward, N.Y., a forgotten historical treasure.
So happy re-issue day to all of us who have supported and loved this series! To celebrate I’m giving away three copies of the book! To be entered, comment below and tell me what period of history is your favorite.