Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesdays Tidbits with Kari: Featuring Margaret McPhee

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?

Margaret: Scary. Exciting. Educational. Inspirational. Fun.
All of the above! Especially for a shy, back-of-the-room kind of person like me.
I didn’t know any of the other authors, other than through the names on my bookshelves, but my initial nerves were soon dispelled by their friendliness, generosity, and helpfulness. It really was fun getting to know them via email and the Yahoo! Group we set up. Once we made our intros and got chatting, the bones of the overarching plot and the backstory came together with remarkable speed. Maybe this was down, in part, to the HMB editors giving us such free creative rein and, in part, to the mix of personalities and approaches.

Writing can be isolating but being a part of Regency Silk and Scandal has been a breath of fresh air. Working with such a talented and enthusiastic group of writers made me feel connected and inspired, and very privileged to be writing alongside them.

One of the most exciting aspects of the project was the fact we all wrote simultaneously and so didn’t have the luxury of reading the books preceding our own in the series before starting to write. I’m reading each one for the first time as it’s published and, although I know the who, the how, and the why, I’m still hooked! It’s very strange because I’m reading about characters I feel I already know and had a hand in creating and yet, their own story is new and exciting, like a voyage of discovery. And I’m smiling to myself as I find the clues and red herrings hidden in such lovely romances.

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

Margaret: I would be delighted to, Kari. Unlacing the Innocent Miss is book 6 in the series and is out in November. It tells the story of Miss Rosalind Meadowfield and Will Wolversley (otherwise known as Wolf).
The events of twenty years ago have led Rosalind to lie about her name and background. But the past is coming back to haunt the respectable dowager’s companion in a form she has never imagined.
When she is accused of theft Rosalind escapes to Scotland unaware that the rugged, ruthless thief-taker, Wolf, is hot on her trail.
Tall, scarred and handsome, Wolf has good reason to hate women like Rosalind. And so the big bad thief-taker is especially determined to make this capture and bring her back to London.
The antagonism crackles between the thief and her thief-taker but neither of them have anticipated the deep smouldering attraction that ignites between them, nor do they know of the dark sinister watcher plotting behind the scenes...

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?

Margaret: I would love to do it again, but the mix of authors is definitely a big factor to consider. I was very lucky, the Continuistas (as Louise termed us) are a great bunch. I couldn’t have asked for more flexible, accommodating or generous team-mates.

To anyone thinking of being a part of a similar collaboration my tips would be to set up good communication at the onset and talk a lot to one another throughout. Be willing to compromise and flex on ideas and agreements, and be considerate in all your dealings. And most of all, enjoy it.

Kari: Thanks so much for joining us, and I look forward to following this unique and interesting series.

Margaret: Thank you for inviting me, Kari. It has been a pleasure.


Cassy Pickard said...

Wowser! Margaret, that's an amazing feat. I have trouble agreeing with myself, not to even mention that many extra people. Thanks for joining us today on M&M. You've started me thinking down all sorts of new paths.

I do have a couple of questions. 1) How did you organize the ongoing plots across the books?
2) Were there any issues in determining who took the lead on each book, as I assume that would also mean the position as author?

Gosh, I could go on with lots more questions, but I don't want to hog your time. Again, thanks. Cassy

Tonya Kappes said...

Margaret that is fun! I'm taking part in a series created by my publisher. They have given us the secondary characters and a map of the fictitious town, but other than that we have a lot of free reign. It actually let me spend more time developing the characters and plot instead of worrying about some of the scene deteails.

~ Babs ~ said...

What a great interview and I am interested in reading this series. I would find it hard to write with different people but then again that is a lot more ideas as well. Thank you for the interview it makes you think :).

Margaret McPhee said...

Thanks, Carrie, and it's great to be here.

We had a very free approach to the plots. Having agreed the overarching plot we had an idea from our relative positions in the sequence of books how much of the background mystery had to be revealed. From there we came up with our individual book plots and each wrote a brief synopsis and a list of the continuity progression points within our story. This gave a bird's eye view across the series and once this was approved by the eds we just chatted over and tweaked the details as we went.

Our order in the series was assigned by our eds at the very beginning before any of the plotting and writing. I guess I'm number six because I write as slow as a snail and I think my ed was being kind in trying not to panic me by giving me as much writing time as possible!

Hi, Tonya. I like the idea of a fictious town all mapped out and ready to use. Hope you are enjoying your continuity experience, and thanks for stopping by.

Thanks, Babs. I thought I would find it hard writing with different people too, but it worked out really well.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I still find this whole idea very interesting. Can't wait to read all the books.

Margaret McPhee said...

Thanks, Kari. Glad you're liking it.

And Cassy, you must be wondering who the heck is Carrie? So sorry for the mix up. Must have been having one of my senior moments! :D

Liz Lipperman said...

Welcome to M & M, Margaret. I agree with everyone. This idea is amazing. Was it the brainchild of the editor or did an author come up with the idea?

Any mystery authors out there wanna try it with me???????????

Margaret McPhee said...

Hi, Liz, and thanks for the welcome.

I believe it was the Historical eds at Harlequin who had the brainwave.

An M&M continuity - you could be starting something big there!

Annie Burrows said...

Hi Margaret,
I love the way you describe having a "bird's eye view" over the series, so that we knew roughly what was going on in all the other stories, as we wrote. Even though I kind of know what to expect, it has been a real thrill to see each story fleshed out. Can't wait for each installment to come out.

Margaret McPhee said...

Thanks, Annie. Great to have a fellow "Continuista" stop by.

Clarissa Southwick said...

This entire series sounds fascinating. I don't think I could write this way, but I would love to read it. Great interview! :)

Margaret McPhee said...

Thanks, Clarissa. Lovely to hear from you.