I am thrilled to have my friend visiting here today with the Jaunty Quills — and she’s talking about. . .
Many thanks to Terri Brisbin for inviting me to visit the Jaunty Quills again today. Last time I was here, I talked about milestones – I was a bit overwhelmed to be facing my 20th anniversary as a published author. (Where did those 20 years go? Can I get them back, but keep the 45 books I wrote in that time?)
Today, I want to talk about finishing what’s been started. In real life, I’m not really good at finishing things. I’m all enthusiasm and half-finished projects. This applies to my knitting, and certainly to my housekeeping. (If you ever need a healthy dust bunny, call me. I have lots.) My husband makes sure this philosophy doesn’t apply to my renovating projects, although I have been known to take a really long time to finish painting a room. Usually it’s just one last hour’s work, but I’ve wandered off to start something else instead.
In contrast to real life, I’m completely obsessed with finishing the stories that I start to write. My theory is that I only have a teeny bit of discipline, so I save it all for my writing.
(I should explain that I think of my writing world as being fictional, or not-quite-real life. This is probably because I talk to characters that exist only in my head, or even argue with them, and because I can see the locations where they live out their stories and lives. My fictional life does happen in a real place – my office – but it’s different from real life. In some ways and at some times, it’s more vivid.)
The challenge is that I tend to plan long linked series in my books. A mere trilogy will not do for me. I want ten books that are linked, or maybe twelve. And this doesn’t always jive with the realities of publishing as we have known it. As you might imagine, that’s an issue when a publisher and I part ways – no matter how good of a choice it is for either or both of us, I’m usually in the middle of writing a linked series. Publishers tend not to acquire the end of a series that’s been started at another house, so over the years, I’ve gathered an array of orphaned characters and stories. To date, we have commiserated, my fictional people and me, although I have repeatedly tried to get their stories told. These characters haunt me.
But this is a story with an HEA! The happy news is that this year, with the changes in publishing technology, I’ve begun to finish what I’ve started. This is incredibly exciting for me, although there’s a lot of work between here and completion.
Once upon a time, I wrote a trilogy of neo-gothic Scottish romances. (I call them neo-Gothic because they have a medieval setting instead of a Victorian one.) THE ROGUE, THE SCOUNDREL and THE WARRIOR all feature mysterious heroes and intrepid heroines. They begin at Ravensmuir, a keep on the coast of Scotland that might be haunted, then move to a Highland holding linked to Ravensmuir called Inverfyre. Over the course of the series, we are also introduced to a subsidiary holding of Ravensmuir called Kinfairlie. These books were a whole lot of fun to write because I love Gothic romances. I was very excited to republish these Rogues of Ravensmuir last year with new covers – I always thought the yummy heroes should be on the covers. They’re available in both print and digital editions again. (Links are here)
At the end of THE WARRIOR, the extended family arrives to celebrate the marriage of the Hawk and his new bride Aileen. She’s a bit overwhelmed by the size of his family adn there are a lot of them – including Roland, Laird of Kinfairlie, and his wife Catherine, along with their eight children. Eight. They get one line in the epilogue of THE WARRIOR, but I liked the sound of that big family and I couldn’t stop thinking about them.
The next trilogy of medieval romances I wrote was The Jewels of Kinfairlie, which featured those eight siblings. The first book, THE BEAUTY BRIDE, begins with the oldest son, Alexander, wrestling with his new responsibilities as Laird of Kinfairlie after his parents’ unexpected and tragic death. Suddenly, the son who has been the biggest trickster and the most trouble of all the siblings needs to be responsible – and he needs to marry his sisters off quickly. They, of course, aren’t interested in letting Alexander boss them around. I love this book and how Madeline finds love in the most unexpected of places – and it’s free right now as a digital download. I’m not sure how long it will stay free, so grab your copy soon! (Links are here)
The Jewels of Kinfairlie continued with THE ROSE RED BRIDE and THE SNOW WHITE BRIDE (in which the sisters get even with Alexander), but that was as far as we got before the publisher and I parted ways.
Ooops. I had left their aunt Rosamunde trapped in the realm of Faerie, fully anticipating that I’d be able to save her in the next book. Instead, Rosamunde was finally saved in a short story that appeared in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF IRISH ROMANCE called “The Ballad of Rosamunde”. It was edited for space constraints in that edition, so if you want to read the whole story, you’ll want to get the digital edition. (Links here: http://www.delacroix.net/jewels.html)
Rosamunde was saved (YAY!) but there were still FIVE more kids looking for their HEA. I heard from many readers over the years who were as troubled by this as I was, and the good news is that THE RENEGADE’S HEART, book #1 in my new series The True Love Brides, was published this summer. This is Isabella’s story, and just as those of you who have read the story might have expected, she took her turn next instead of letting her older sister Annelise do so. Isabella is impetuous, curious and very concerned with justice – which makes her the one person in Kinfairlie who gives serious consideration to Murdoch Seton’s claim that his family has been wronged by Alexander. She sets out to discover the truth, whatever it is, forming an alliance with the renegade who torments Alexander’s holding. Murdoch is a Robin Hood figure, a man of honor who is pushed into a corner by his own family and his past – he doesn’t hurt anyone but isn’t above trying to frighten them into doing what’s right. I like how these two challenged and balanced each other – and I also enjoyed the heightened paranormal elements in this story. Kinfairlie had always been said to be a portal to the realm of the Fae but Murdoch and Isabella kick that door wide open.
Which is making Annelise’s story very interesting indeed. The True Love Brides will continue in December with the next book in the series, THE HIGHLANDER’S CURSE, as Annelise pursues her own HEA.
I’m very VERY excited to have the opportunity to finish this series. Revisiting Kinfairlie and Ravensmuir is just wonderful, like meeting old friends again after a prolonged absence. So, come along with me and get to know the clan at Kinfairlie, starting with THE BEAUTY BRIDE, knowing that everyone will have his or her story told.
Do you like to read linked series? How long do you prefer linked series to be? Are you like me, in that you want everyone to get their HEA?