So nice to be here at Jaunty Quills!
For those who have never heard of me, I am an historical romance writer for Avon. Before Avon I was a writer for Harlequin/Mills&Boon, and also a writer of Australian mainstream fiction. But in 2000 I began a whole new career—a new career for a new millennium! I am also going to come clean and admit something to you all. I am a serial series writer. Yep, I just can’t help myself. One book becomes two becomes three…
The Lily and the Sword was my first book for Avon, a Medieval story and it became the first in a series about Radulf, a Norman knight and Lily, the English lady he conquered (In a pleasurable way I assure you!). Radulf also had a number of hunky men in his entourage and they were the main characters in the books that followed, as they also found love. But the story of Radulf and his beloved Lily continued to weave its way through each of the books, because although happily married in book one they continued to have their ups and downs throughout the series: Rose and the Shield, Once He Loves, Kissing the Bride. I did enjoy writing in the Medieval era—the castles, the tough men in armour and their strong women in veils—but like all good things it came to an end. I think partly because I began to grow stale—sadly, I have a very low boredom threshold—and partly because Medieval books became unfashionable and stopped selling. These were the days when Regency was king.
I did write a standalone book during this time called Beloved Highlander, set in 18th century Scotland, about a highlander who had lost his land to an English woman after the Jacobite Rebellion, and the English woman who needed his help to keep it. I had an idea for a follow up book on this couple, even a series—yes, I know, I can’t help it—but it was not to be.
So it was time for a change and I decided on the Victorian era. I wrote a new series about a courtesan, Aphrodite, and her three daughters, the Greentree sisters—Lessons in Seduction, Rules of Passion and Mistress of Scandal. These books were complex, with an overarching plot for all three, although each book could also be read as a complete story. I learned a great deal about Victorian London while writing these books, a fascinating time in history, with so many industrial and social changes taking place. Afterwards the story of the Greentree sisters continued on with various minor characters stepping up to take centre stage with A Seduction in Scarlet and Her Secret Lover. But it was bound to come to an end—how many half brothers and cousins and distant lost relatives can you have popping up? No, it had to stop. So what next?
My most recent series is again set in the Victorian era, but this time in the year 1837 when Victoria came to the throne. This was a new beginning for Britain, with a young Queen ruling the Empire. I thought it was the perfect time for a group of young ladies, just completing their education at Miss Debenham’s Finishing School, to decide they would not be pushed about by their families and the edicts of polite society. They would not make marriages just to please other people; they would please themselves. So five girls make a pact to marry the men of their dreams and the Husband Hunters Club was formed.
There are five books in this series, Led Astray By A Rake, A Most Sinful Proposal, To Pleasure A Duke, and my next book, due out 30th October, Sin With A Scoundrel. One more to go, and I’m working on it at the moment, and yes I am enjoying myself. Remember these are people I now know well, they’re almost like family or friends, and I know what they’re going to say before they say it, I know what they’re thinking. And yet I will have to leave them when the series ends, I’ll have to say goodbye. Of course I might find a distant cousin or brother or something, but it’s unlikely I’ll be allowed. Avon are on to me by now, sigh.
So what’s next?
Perhaps another stand alone book? Yes, something new and different, something . . . well, something. And yet I do love writing a series, I really do. I can already see that despite my best intentions the stand alone book will turn into two books and then a trilogy, and before I know it I will be writing another series.
Margo tells me she will draw one name from all who comment to win a copy of To Pleasure a Duke. So tell us – Do you enjoy reading a series, or do you prefer a stand alone book? What series is your favorite so far?