Saturday, July 20, 2019

What Are You Working On?

First I must apologize to my fellow bloggers for having been MIA in June. I was behindhand all month due to working on what is now my latest book, so July's topic is particularly pertinent.

This month the question is: what book (or type of book) are you currently working on? Do you have ideas for future books?

I have just typed THE END on Book 3 in my Berkeley Square Regency romance series. When I started writing Book 1, I had no idea that it would expand beyond that. It wasn’t even Book 1 at that point, just an idea for a Regency romance that wouldn’t go away, but that’s what happens when characters almost jump off the page and demand their own books.

Okay, okay. Not literally, of course. It’s just one of those quirky turns of phrase that writers tend to bandy about. Non-writers just don’t get the concept of having people wandering around in your head and whispering in your ear from the inside out. My heroine in Book 1, His Dark Enchantress is Emmeline Devereux, whose best friend is Lady Juliana Clifton. Juliana intruded so much while I was writing His Dark Enchantress that I gave her a book of her own, Book 2, His Ocean Vixen.

Believing I had done with those characters, I started thinking about what else I could write, but a reader query asking if Lady Rosemary Darnley, the villainess in Book 1, ever got her comeuppance, started me on another path which led to Book 3, His Unexpected Muse. This involves the unexpected (as the title suggests) romance between Lady Olivia Darnley (Rosemary’s daughter) and Lord Peter Skeffington, both characters from Book 1. You’ll have to read the book, which will be launched next month, to find out what happens to Lady Darnley.

So what comes next? I have an idea for a new series on Regency belles (hmm, now that could work as a series title) and already have a rough outline for Book 1. It will mean more research, but that is the part I really like. Plus, why let all the research I have already done go to waste?

Take a look at what my fellow Round Robin authors have in the works by clicking on their links.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Our May Round Robin Blog

Our May Round Robin challenge is: What would you like to tell your readers about your novels and their purpose?

I would love to be able to answer this with a noble, high-brow, reply. However, first and foremost, I wanted to write books like those I enjoyed reading. Now, how self-serving is that? Nothing noble or high-brow there. I wrote purely for my own pleasure and satisfaction.

That only lasted until I got the itch for publication, and then everything changed. I had to let my babies out of my sight while they were perused by critique partners and beta readers. Handing over my first ever novel to an editor was gut-wrenching but I was lucky enough to receive great feedback which empowered me and so I kept writing. 

My books are mostly historical romantic fiction. I say mostly as I have penned two Regency romances (my favourite historical era), an Edwardian trilogy, a more recent romance set in 1935 and one contemporary western romance. I may attempt more contemporary western romances. If my books have a purpose, it is to entertain my reader. Hopefully, they will enjoy the romance, find some intriguing historical fact that they might not have known before, and be satisfied when they get to the last line.

Reviews on all my titles are, for the main part, favourable. I have met people in libraries who have rushed off to see if any of my books are on the shelf and have later received messages on how much they have enjoyed whichever book they have read. I have talked to people at book-signings and recommended whichever of my titles fit with their reading tastes or what they might like to give as a gift. Sales remain steady and I like to think that I now have a happy and contented readership, which is all I ever really wanted from my books.

I’m going to be interested in what these authors have to say.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

April's Round Robin Blog

Our Round Robin topic for April asks: Does the season ever play a part in your setting? How do you think seasons affect setting and plot either physically or metaphorically?

Writers are always looking for ways to enhance the drama in their plots and the nuances of their characters. Just as we sometimes use the weather to create a mood or direct the way a scene goes so we can make use of the seasons in both our settings and in our characters’ moods.

I have certainly used the seasons in my books. In my first Regency romance my character, Emmaline, is abducted on a perfect September afternoon. By the time she is rescued and returns home, it is a whole month later and the trees in the estate park have already turned colour. In the second Regency, a lot of the book takes place at sea and in Jamaica, but Juliana calculates that she left England in January and it’s now September. In both books, the seasons are not plot lines, but more indicate the timeline.

Janet Evanovitch, in One for the Money, uses the season to describe Stephanie Plum’s New Jersey ‘hood: During summer months, the air sat still and gauzy, leaden with humidity, saturated with hydrocarbons. It shimmered over hot cement and melted road tar.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling writes of fall: Autumn seemed to arrive early that year. The morning of the first of September was crisp and golden as an apple.

Everyone seems to love spring, with its hopeful sense of the summer to come, but Charles Dickens writes: Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade, which speaks to the duality in this more than any other season of the year.

In the movie The Winter Guest, set in northern Scotland, the husband of Emma Thompson’s character Frances, dies suddenly, leaving Frances distraught. Her mother (in real life as well as in the movie) played by Phyllida Law, comes to stay with her. The film opens with a shot of the mother walking across frozen fields and with the camera later panning across a frozen sea. I’m not sure that Frances’ grief would have seemed so soul-deep if this story had been set during any other season but winter. The bleakness of the setting seemed to represent the bleakness in her soul and vice versa.

Just as light and shade and the time of day can influence the moods we try to create in our story, so can the season. Let’s take a look at what opinions these authors might have.