Hi folks! I've heard of authors co-writing a book, which I've often thought of doing some day with my long time CP, Barbie Jo Mahoney. But I've never heard of co-collaborating on a series of 8 books connected by an ongoing mystery plot. I thought it might be fun to follow this group of 6 authors (2 of them wrote 2 books in the series) as each of their books comes out.
Regency Silk and Scandal is a unique 8 book author generated Regency continuity, featuring an ongoing mystery murder plot that runs through the whole series. It's about three friends, two scandalous affairs, and one secret code that leads to murder, disgrace and revenge. The stories will captivate the reader as they travel from the Cornish Coast to the heights of Hertfordshire, and from the ballrooms of London to the battlefields of Belgium.
Kari: What was it like for you in brainstorming an 8 book mystery plot?
Louise: Scary at first until I discovered how great it was working with the other five authors! Thank goodness for email and the Yahoo! group we set up, because it would have been impossible otherwise. Unusually, the editorial team at Harlequin Mills & Boon gave us a free hand, subject to editorial approval, so we really were starting from scratch with just an indication that they would like scandal and a wide variety of characters. Once we had broken the ice, there were so many ideas flying about that it was hard keeping a hold of them all until we developed systems with spreadsheets and charts.
For someone who tends to fly into the mist rather than plan intensively, this was a new way of working. Once we knew what the main storyline was, it became easier and we could work on our individual stories while checking back and forth with the others to make sure we were staying on track. In most cases characters would appear across the series - my two heroes are brothers and their sisters are heroines in other stories, for example, so there were a lot of emails flying about saying things like "Would Hal find this funny?" or "May I borrow Midge's stepbrother and get him wounded at Waterloo?" It was very strange writing by myself again afterwards!
Kari: LOL that sounds like a riot. Can you tell us about your books in the series?
Louise: I wrote two of the series - the first, The Lord & the Wayward Lady (June) and the seventh, The Officer & the Proper Lady (December). In the first the hero, Marcus Carlow, Viscount Stanegate, comes home to find his London home in turmoil, his father collapsed, a mysterious woman locked in the study and the shadows of a twenty year old murder and spy scandal risen to haunt them again. On the face of it, Nell Latham is a humble milliner who just happened to deliver the parcel that sets off this powder keg of vengeance, but she is more closely concerned with the old mystery than either she or Marcus realise. He has to chose between honour and desire as they fight an unseen enemy together.
In the seventh story Marcus's younger brother Hal, a rakehell cavalry major, finds himself involved with a young lady who is a complete novelty to him - the well-behaved, virtuous Miss Julia Tresilian. In the tense atmosphere of Brussels in the days leading up to the battle of Waterloo, both think that their unsuitable love affair is all they have to worry about, until someone tries to kill Hal on the battlefield - and it isn't the French! Back in London Hal finds himself trying to come to terms with his unsettling relationship with Julia and at the same time fighting alongside Marcus to protect their family from an increasingly dangerous nemesis.
Kari: Your books sound fascinating. Is this co-collaboration something you would ever do again, and any tips for authors thinking about co-writing a book or contributing to a connected series such as this one?
Louise: I would love to do it again - if I was sure I'd be working with such a fantastic team of fellow authors! If I was advising anyone else working on a continuity, I would say take your time to get to know the rest of the team; don't be afraid to say what you think will or won't work - but in a constructive manner; be prepared to compromise - and have fun!
Kari: Thanks so much for joining us, and I look forward to following this unique and interesting series.
Louise: thank you for inviting me to come along. I really look forward to hearing what your readers think about our series.