We welcome Jenny Haddon to the RNA blog today to tell us about her exciting project.
Last year Tule Publishing invited me, together with Liz Fielding and Jessica Hart (Pamela
Imagine delighted. The drawback was that I'd never written one of a series before. I'd written a couple of novels which turned out to have sequels sitting inside them. But I'd never planned a Book 1 of 4 from the get-go. Jessica, however, was firm. An overall plan was essential. We concluded that we needed four key resources, held in common on Dropbox and Pinterest.
The story that emerged was built around a Royal Wedding, to be held in a classic English village church. So the world of the series required the invention of a royal principality and an English village.
RESOURCE 1 - Royal Seat
I mostly invented the principality, since my hero was the royal in question – His Serene Highness Prince Jonas of San Michele. I could show you place on the Slovenian coast where I imagined the capital. I prepared notes on the principality's history from the middle ages to the present day, economy, geography and language.
OK, I'm a bit of a nerd on things like that. But it did mean that we weren't suddenly going to be throwing up history or traditions which were different from one book to the next.
RESOURCE 2 - English Village
In the spring Anne came to stay in England and we all visited Castle Combe which inspired the village, the manor house in which my heroine and Jessica's hero were born and the church where the royal wedding took place. We inhaled the atmosphere. We lodged notes, maps and photographs in our resource centre.
RESOURCE 3 - Backstory, ages and appearance of characters
We'd agreed most of the details before we started writing, especially during our girls' day out in Wiltshire. We kept facts in documents held at Dropbox. Though we still had to negotiate sometimes, by email of course, when we suddenly found something we wanted to add. It was astonishingly harmonious. On Pinterest we pinned photographs of people who inspired our characters. (My Jonas, to my surprise, turned out be a David Tennant lookalike.) Liz found the wedding dress, too.
RESOURCE 4- Timeline Spread Sheet
We started with the earliest action that occurred on the page in any of our books. Backstory and ages
There was one killer weekend where nearly every key character in everybody's book was in one place at the same time. We had to break the timeline down almost by the hour for that!
I have learned an enormous amount during this return to category romance, in the company of some of the best in the business - including our editor, author Kelly Hunter. Planning, and then keeping readily accessible records of decisions on time and place, are lessons now well and truly learned. About time!
Charmingly, the publisher has co-ordinated the launch of our books as closely as we tracked our plot encounters.
13 October The Prince's Bride, Sophie Weston
16 October The Baronet's Wedding Engagement, Jessica Hart
18 October The Bridesmaid's Royal Bodyguard, Liz Fielding
20 October The Best Man's Bride, Anne McAllister
Series link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075SJ561Y/
Thank you for your interesting piece, Jenny and good luck to you and your fellow authors.
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