Bridesmaids… by Jane Costello
I was sitting in the pew at a friend’s wedding when the idea first popped into my head. I didn’t know it at the time, but that single thought – why hasn’t anyone written a book called ‘Bridesmaids’? – would go on to change my life.
I envisaged a story full of humour, warmth and friendship, something captured all the drama and fun of this female rite of passage. Surely someone had already written one? A quick internet search when I got home revealed that they hadn’t. So, two days later, while on maternity leave from my job as a journalist, I opened a Word document and started plotting.
I wrote the novel under the pseudonym Jane Costello (a name plucked out of the phone book) and, when it was first published by Simon & Schuster in May 2008, to everyone’s surprise – not least mine – it became a bestseller.
A lot has happened in the ten years since. My baby is now a teenager, I have two more children and this summer my tenth novel, You Me Everything was published. This one was written under the new name Catherine Isaac, to reflect a different writing style and the more ambitious subject matter that led to it being selected by the Richard and Judy Book Club and optioned for a movie by Lionsgate.
But Bridesmaids remains a very special book for me. It was where this wondrous journey I’ve had as an author all began. So when I heard that Simon & Schuster were to re-release it with a new, updated cover, I couldn’t resist making a little request.
Instead of simply repackaging the book, would they mind if I gave the novel a whole new edit, so that it could (hopefully) benefit from the decade of experience I’ve had since? They said yes. I couldn’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in.
My aim was never to tear up the whole thing and start again. Why would I, when so many people had loved it the first time round? But I wanted to freshen up the story, give it a contemporary feel, smooth out some rough edges and tweak a couple of storylines with the benefit of a time-related wisdom.
I must admit, I’d been slightly apprehensive about what I’d find when I first re-opened it. Would I cringe at what I’d created as a young, inexperienced author who didn’t even have a book deal when she wrote chapter one?
But I loved it – both reading it and re-writing it. It was like revisiting one of the most special times of my life, when I was writing for pure fun and enjoyment. Which is exactly how I hope new readers feel when they pick it up too.
The new updated edition of Bridesmaids is available to buy in all good bookshops and supermarkets now.