I was right, I got a lot further along a lot faster when I wasn't arguing with someone who wasn't present, though there was some arguing with Word when it decided that the entire document had somehow become text that wasn't supposed to be checked in spell-check and I noticed that it wasn't catching it when I wasn't vigorous enough with the spacebar and let words run together. I won the argument, and not with a sledgehammer.
I've now written my first "author's note." I guess my earlier books didn't require one, though there might have been some people who needed it pointed out that magic may not exist in the real world, but in this version of the story, magic does exist, and that changes things somewhat.
When I went to the library late last week, I skimmed through a few books that would fall into the same category as this one to see how they handled it. There were some with no note whatsoever, but those seemed to be the ones where history wasn't really changed, just the level of technology that made it almost like an alternate-world fantasy (if you have clockwork automaton butlers, it's probably not our version of the Victorian era and I would hope most readers could figure that out). There was one series with no up-front note, but with a detailed note at the back, describing what in the book was real and what was changed for the story. There are some with brief notes in front and more detailed notes at the back. For now, I've decided on a brief note on the main thing that's different and the main thing that changed, then a kind of dateline page (New York, 1888). I may suggest a more detailed note at the end of the book, or maybe just an afterword note directing people to my web site if they want details about what's real, what's made-up and where to go to read more. Some of the craziest things in the book are actually based on real things or events.
Does anyone have a preference for this sort of thing in books? Would you rather figure it out yourself, or do you like to have the stage set for you? Do you like knowing what's real and what isn't?
Reading the book in closer detail is reminding me why I love it so much. I do so hope readers latch onto it. There's just something about this book that makes me happy. I would love it even if I hadn't written it.
In other news, we're supposed to get our first real freeze of the season tonight, so this is probably the end of my moonflower vine, unless being on my patio shelters it some. It was only supposed to bloom through "late summer," so I guess making it nearly halfway through November with nightly blooms is pretty good. I'll definitely have to plant another one next summer because I really loved having it. According to the seed packet and the newspaper article that inspired me to buy it, it's not the sort of thing that will propagate itself and come back on its own. The zinnia and basil are now living in my office. I've kept basil through the winter indoors before, but the zinnia is supposed to be an annual. We'll see how long it lasts. I like having the pink flowers.