Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits with Kari: Featuring author Annie Burrows

It's time for another installment of our favorite 8 book Regency mystery series. Please help me welcome author Annie Burrows.

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?

Annie: Part of being a writer is “world-building”. But on this project, the characters existed not only in my own imagination, but also in the minds of five other writers. We often had, what to non-writers must have seemed like bizarre email exchanges. For example, one day I emailed the others with the query: “My heroine has just gone to her half-brother’s house, and the door has been opened by an Indian manservant. Anybody got any idea where he came from?”Immediately, Louise Allen (I think) came back with a whole episode in the half-brother’s backstory where he picked up the servant and that is how Akash got absorbed into our collective consciousness. I've just read a passage in Book 3 "The Smuggler and the Society Bride" where Julia Justiss has described him exactly as I first envisioned him. It's almost impossible to describe what it feels like to see one of your characters step into the pages of someone else's work. As I've been reading the series as it comes out, I have quite often made my husband jump by yelling out "Yes!" or just bursting out laughing in delight when another author's depiction chimes so exactly with my own imagination it sends goose bumps over my skin.

Kari: Can you tell us about your book in the series?

Annie: The heroine of my book “The Viscount and the Virgin” is the daughter of the man whose murder sparked off the whole chain of events. When we began to discuss the series, we discovered an enthusiasm for murder mysteries by the likes of Agatha Christie, and even the board game Cluedo. Usually, at the opening of these murder mysteries, we see the suspects lining up, usually because the person about to be murdered is such an unlikeable character they are bound to make enemies. So I imagined my heroine’s father as the kind of man anyone crossing his path would be sorely tempted to bump off. And from there, what such a man would be like as a husband and father. The repercussions of being part of Baron Framlingham’s family not only blighted the remainder of his widow’s life, but also cast a deep shadow upon his only surviving child, a daughter, Imogen. In fact, she ended up with so many insecurities that I then had to find a most remarkable man to meet all her needs. You’re going to have to read it for yourself, and let me know if Monty measures up!

Kari: Is this 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?

Annie: Again?! Oh, we already have collaborated on a short online read for the eharlequin website, “Seduced by the Dark Stranger”. (You will be able to find it in the archives of online reads on the eharlequin website, or on my own website, http://www.annie-burrows.co.uk/) In fact, going back to writing on my own, after being part of such a fantastic collaboration left me with withdrawal symptoms! So I leapt at the opportunity to work with the Silk and Scandal Continuistas again.We wrote “Seduced by the Dark Stranger” round robin style, rather than us all writing simultaneously, so it was, yet again, a fascinating experience. Rather like being part of a supportive, and very knowledgeable critique group.Tips – I think what made this such a positive experience was the willingness to be open and honest with one another. And discovering we shared a sense of humour. That definitely helped us maintain our sanity throughout the sheer hard work involved.

Annie Burrows


Taryn Kincaid said...

Just fascinated by how all of you worked together to produce this series. The tidbit about the Indian manservant is amazing. I'm enjoying Book 2 and will definitely look for the others.

But where's your gorgeous book cover?

annie burrows said...

Hi, Taryn,
glad to hear you are enjoying book 2 - Paying the Virgin's Price. I am reading the series as they come out too - though I'm lucky that each of the authors has sent me a signed copy as soon as they've received them. Number 3 - Smuggler and the Society Bride by Julia Justiss is set in Cornwall, where I often used to holiday with my children when they were little. I could almost smell the salt in the air as I turned the pages...and as for the Smuggler of the title - what a hottie!

Sorry there does not seem to be a pic of my cover with this blog...don't know what happened to it. But I agree, it is gorgeous.

Liz Lipperman said...

Annie, welcome to M & M. Like Taryn, I am also amazed at how y'all worked together on this series. I can't wait to check it out just to see how you managed it.

Thanks to you and Kari after the great interview.

Mary Martinez said...

Thank you Annie for joining us at the M&M. I have no idea how 8 authors did a series. How unique. Thank you for sharing. Great interview Kari and Annie!

annie burrows said...

thanks you Liz and Mary - yes, it was a truly unique experience writing one of the books in the Silk and Scandal series.
It was great fun brainstorming with the other ladies; hard work keeping track of all 8 stories simulataneously, whilst writing my own part of it; and now comes the exciting stage - reading each story as it comes out and seeing how the others' vision of our "world" have gelled.


Clarissa Southwick said...

History and Mystery, two of my favorite things come together. I can't wait to read it.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Well shoot, did you send me the book cover Annie? If so I might have missed it and am so sorry. I just wrote 300 pages in 3 weeks and my brain is fried. I will go look for it now.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Okay, I just snagged the cover off your website, Annie. Love it!

Margaret McPhee said...

Lovely to read your take on the project, Annie.
I'm already intrigued by your heroine, Midge and can't wait to read her and Monty's story.

Gayle Wilson said...

Annie, I have felt exactly as you did several times in reading the series. Such fun to see it all come together in print, and especially to see each author's "take" on the central characters. I literally can't wait to read your book for the next installment.


Cassy Pickard said...

Annie: Sorry I'm chiming in late. Great information. Thanks SO much for joining us on M&M. I can't imagine how you have done what you've done. Fantastic! It makes writing in our little caves seem simple.

annie burrows said...

can't remember if I sent the cover or not, Kari, but thanks for going to the trouble of finding it and posting it up. And I know what you mean about fried brains - happens to me on a regular basis!
Once again, thanks for inviting me over, and thanks to all of you who posted comments. I hope you continue to enjoy the series.

Julia Justiss said...

Annie, I'm glad I managed to describe Stephano's Indian servant correctly, though I think Louise did provide a pretty accurate summation of what he was to be like. But I agree, it's freaky, like walking into a ghost, to suddenly encounter one of your characters in another of the series books and have them act so much as you envision them that at first you think, "did I write that?" Before an instant later realizing, "oh, no, of course not, this is Louise's/Christine's/Gayle's/Annie's book!"

I'm expecting my advance copy of Viscount any day. Can't wait!