People are always asking how I plan a series of books and I'm not sure they believe me when I say I don't really know. I tend not to plan series—they just seem to happen. Oh sure now and then I plan a trilogy or a set of stories (the Last Man Standing books) but a real series is something that for me evolves. The Effington Family and Friends books grew because I'd write a character in one book who would be way too interesting to let go. And I'd have to figure out what happened to him or her. My new series What Happens at Millworth Manor is a perfect example.
Here's what happened.
When I wrote What Happens at Christmas, set at Millworth Manor, I had planned it as a stand alone book. But the idea of centering stories around a place rather than a specific family came up and it was one of those ideas that seemed more and more intriguing the more I thought about it. And there was that one character who just wouldn't leave me alone . . .
In What Happens at Christmas we meet the hero's cousin, Winfield Elliott, Lord Stillwell, and find out he's been engaged unsuccessfully several times. Obviously there's a story there. And just as obviously, this is a character crying for a happy ending. So I wrote his story in The Importance of Being Wicked (Feb. 2013). Plus, there was the tale of his ill-fated attempts to get to the altar begging to be told. That became the e-book short Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements (available Nov. 26th). Still, as his lordship's home is Fairborough Hall not Millworth manor, I did have to figure out a way to get him to Millworth.
What's a poor author to do?
I burned his house down. J