Monday, May 4, 2009
Thank you, Nora Roberts
I've mentioned before that I grew up reading the series of Nancy Drew mysteries. While they were indeed a series, not much ever changed in Nancy's fictional 18 year-old world. I'm still not sure if she ever kissed Ned Nickerson, George and Bess were her unchanging best friends, Nancy's father, defense attorney Carson Drew, and faithful housekeeper Hannah Gruen were always present in the background. I loved those books at a certain age, just as I grew to love another type of book.
Hey, this isn't the Nancy I remember! Maybe she did kiss Ned! Maybe she dumped Ned and kissed that blond in the background!
Danielle Steel introduced me to the romance novel, with the romance part behind closed doors. Danielle writes stand alone titles, which means not only does she have to come up with one hell of a lot of ideas because she's very proliofic, but also, if we loved characters, like Oliver and Charlotte in Daddy, we never got to see what happened to them in the future. Sure, there were the Lifetime TV movies, but Patrick Duffy and Lynda Carter were never my idea of the Daddy lead roles. *sigh*
Then I discovered Nora Roberts. Not her early category romance stuff (though many of those titles were brought back, spiffed up with new covers and eventually rereleased.) I loved her series. The Key Trilogy, The Three Sisters Trilogy, In the Garden Trilogy, and my favorite, Night Tales, with four connected stories in one. The first book centered around DJ Cilla O'Roarke, who plays requests in the Denver area. One night during the show she gets a threatening phone call from someone who says he's going to kill her. Although Cilla is stubborn and doesn't want to call the police, the manager of the radio station does. Enter Detective Boyd Fletcher... Of course they end up together, and the next three books are about her sister, his partner, and his sister. In each book we get to see how far Boyd and Cilla have evolved: marriage, children, and so on. There was even a fifth book about Boyd and Cilla's grown daughter, now a cop. That was a very satisfying series to read and enjoy.
That was the kind of series I was after. Sex, with a thread of continuing plot line and characters that changed over the years. Thank you, Nora Roberts. Exactly what I was looking for. Those books inspired me to write my Unexpected Love Trilogy.
Three tales of unexpected love and unadulterated lust!
Nothing to Lose: Bailey Montgomery travels to 'Small-town America' with one purpose in mind—settle her late mother's affairs and leave as soon as possible. She doesn't appreciate nosy neighbours, especially Doug Kenny, all around handyman, who meddles his way into her bed and heart.
Worth the Risk: Sarah Stevens isn't looking for romance when Sam Buchanan leases her loft apartment. Her sister-in-law Bailey, almost nine months pregnant, hires Sam to take over her job. Sarah's unnerved to discover her tenant is a very handsome man. Dating with a teenager in the house is titillating, forcing Sarah to re-examine her priorities and decide if Sam is Worth the Risk.
Having it All: Mandy Stevens is away at college when she meets handsome Nick Westchester. She's had little experience with men, but suspects Nick's intentions are less than honourable. Nick is captivated by Mandy, and though he starts out wanting to seduce her, he ends up falling for her, hard.
Three women, one amazing family. Three times the passion, three times the fun!
That feeling of continuity is also behind the new series Jude Mason and I are writing for Total E-Bound, Kindred Spirits.
"Welcome to Whiskers’ Seaside Inn. Do you have a reservation?"
Whiskers' Seaside Inn doesn't sound like the most exotic location for a weekend getaway, but it's certainly intriguing. Ethan Roberts is smitten the moment he sees the weathered clapboard inn and finds out it’s for sale. He’s even more taken with the establishment's hunky handyman, Cade Wyatt.
The inn has two paying guests, but Ethan discovers another cast of characters who come and go as they please. Cade might be nonchalant about the ghosts, but Ethan's not sure he feels the same. He wants Cade more than anything, but Cade won't leave the inn. Somehow, Ethan must find a way to live with the spirits as well as the man he's come to love.
Can I ever make this place my home? He knows he could, in a heartbeat, if the inn was truly as serene as the face it presents to the world. Deep inside, something’s festering. He’s tried to ignore it—or not to believe in it—but he’s past that, now. There are ghosts or spirits at Whiskers’, plus one batty old woman, and he needs to know more about all of them.
"Annie, Laura and Ben," Ethan repeated dully. "The ghosts."
Chuckling, Cade faced him. "Actually, they’re spirits. You really don’t want to believe in them, do you?"
"Ghosts—spirits—aren’t real," Ethan insisted. "I believe that."
"Well, Mr. Roberts, I have a feeling your beliefs are about to be tested."
A bunch of different people will pass through the doors of the Whiskers' Seaside Inn. (Okay, most of them are hot, gay men.) But we get to see the evolution of Ethan and Cade's relationship, which Jude and I had a blast writing, and continue to enjoy as we work on more titles in the series. As Lisabet mentioned yesterday, a series like this requires a 'big picture' mentality, but to me, that's part of the fun. Keeping track of details can be interesting, but so far there have been no major gaffes.
The other type of series I've done is the similar setting, different cast of characters. Jude and I did this with our Untamed Hearts Series, three sets of shifters in one particular area. While the characters have a common setting, and might touch on each other, their stories aren't deeply interwoven. Same with my Rose & Thorn Society series. All the books share the common backdrop of the same BDSM club, but the tales aren't related and don't have to be read in order.
Saturday, our guest blogger will be Carol Lynne, creator of the Cattle Valley series and many others. Cattle Valley is a town for gay people, which sounds odd until you read the first book and discover the poignant way it came into existence. Carol writes gay and straight novels, but no lesbian stuff. I became involved when she decided it was time to bring some women to Cattle Valley. My first lesbian title, CV: Truth or Dare, was released last fall. My second lesbian title, CV: Fool's Gold, comes out in June. They were so much fun to write. Carol has created a town of memorable characters, and I got to stick some new people in and amongst them. It was great.
I'll continue to do stand alone titles because I don't want to scare readers off. (Get back here, Ray.) But I love writing series!