Since the 25th June last year I’ve been working with Annie Burrows, Christine Merrill, Julia Justiss, Margaret McPhee and Gayle Wilson on an historical continuity for M&B - and on 16th March we finished all 8 books of it
Now, of course, more fun starts when the editors dissect them for the continuity points that we’ve missed and we all find ourselves reworking bits to make the entire overarching story flow perfectly.
And we’ve got a name - Regency Silk and Scandals - although no titles yet for the individual books within the continuity.
I was lucky enough to get numbers 1 and 7 to write, so I had the fun - and rather scary - job of getting the story rolling and then gathering up the threads to hand over to Chris Merrill who has brought it home to its conclusion. Although I used to write with a partner as Francesca Shaw I’ve never worked like this before, with five people of whom I knew only one slightly - and with all of us hundreds of miles apart and on several different time zones.
I doubt we could have done it without email and our own Yahoo group. I looked this morning and the email file for the continuity was up to 1414 messages.
We had fun and headaches coming up with the overarching story - which in the beginning was a little like trying to bottle fog while we batted ideas back and forth across the Atlantic.
At first the publication date of 2010 seemed an age away and then the reality of deadlines began to bite. But despite some panics we got there in the end with very supportive editorial guidance and by August we had our characters and our 8 individual plotlines worked out. We've been writing - and emailing - flat out ever since. For anyone else lucky enough to try this, I strongly recommend lots of spreadsheets and family trees!
What is it all about? Well, very flippantly I described it at one stage as “The Scandals of the Murdered Baron’s Mystery Gypsy Lovechild’s Forbidden Revenge Quest Involving Virgins and At Least One Earl” and that is still true - but it misses out the French spy, the smuggler, the outrageous marriage service at St George’s, Hanover Square, one very respectable young lady on the battlefield at Waterloo, the love child of a high ranking English lord, a feisty milliner with a pistol - and more.
Above all it is eight very different love stories linking characters who move from one book to another in a way that we hope will have readers absolutely hooked.
The pictures are St George's Hanover Square, Waterloo after the battle and the gorgeous inspiration for my hero of book 1, Marcus Carlow.