Friday, August 23, 2013

Tour Stop | The Swan Bonnet by Katherine L. Holmes

Book Title: The Swan Bonnet
Author: Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Presented by: As You Wish Tours

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Swan Bonnet’s Publication

The Swan Bonnet went to the HarperCollins Editor's desk at in 2010. I received my HC review while rewriting the book. An agent had expressed interest in its revision. At that time, the book centered on a twelve-year-old girl while many of the other characters were adults.

When I first drafted the book, I felt I had drifted into an awkward situation. Young adult manuscripts were not in demand then. I hadn't done a teenage protagonist for an entire book before and, with rewriting in mind, I wanted to try that. My protagonist would have more action besides understanding the adult conflicts and the swan poaching. The agent suggested the first person but I considered that risky with historical fiction. I've only used the first person narrator when I had strong identification with the main character or when I knew the milieu firsthand.

The agent didn't take the rewrite and then the manuscript spent some months in the offices of two other agents. It was almost two years since it had gone to the HarperCollins Editor's Desk. Meanwhile, I had self-published a children's fantasy The House In Windward Leaves, basically because there are so many fantasies out there. I explored internet review blogs and found some great sites. Also, a few longtime reviewers were interested in small press and even self-published books.

In 2012, I discovered that my children's fantasy was a Finalist in a new contest, the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards and that my book was on their Amazon bookstore page.

At about that time, I went to GMTA Publishing with The Swan Bonnet. I liked their list, their authors, and their tack concerning publicity. After the book was accepted, my House in Windward Leaves, reprinted with a new cover and illustrations, was featured at Kid Lit Reviews where it is now up for their Best Children's Book of the Year award.

In May of 2013, The House in Windward Leaves became a Finalist in the E-book category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. My self-published book and many books from small or Indie publishers might reach the public!

In the last years, I have earned income selling used and collectible books. Regional and small press books are often collectible, I found. Early on, I obtained a book on taxidermy published in Minnesota by a vintage small publisher that I now buy whenever I find them. A more recent paperback about surfing on the Great Lakes had an unusual price on the internet. Many such books sold quickly. I had similar experiences with self-published children's books that contained high quality photography with their animal stories. So, as many now know, there is hope for a good book, regardless of the publisher. It used to be that an author of fiction had to go to an eastern publisher but these days, other things are possible.


Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?

Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.





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