Sunday, October 12, 2014

Connected Characters - with Kate Walker

I wrote the first pages of my newest book this month. It’s just over a month since the revisions for
the previous story were accepted and the book scheduled, under the title of Oliver’s Outrageous Proposal, for next April 2015.  I was so busy through the month of September, travelling to Wales where my husband was speaking at a book festival about his latest book, then visiting London for the Association of Mills & Boon Authors annual lunch and a get together with all the editors from the Richmond office.  Back home, I had just time to unpack and do the laundry before I set out again for Weetwood Hall  in Leeds  where I was  running a Writing Retreat on Romantic Fiction for the weekend.

It was just the pause I needed, the chance to take the time to draw breath after a hectic summer and take the time to think and plan ahead. While everyone else was working on the writing tasks I’d set them, I was able to follow my own advice on planning and starting a book and make lots of notes and write several pages of the new story.

Another thing that helped was that I’d ‘met’ this hero before. When I wrote A Question of Honor which came out in the summer this year, my editor loved the book, but she was also intrigued by one character in it – Nabil, the bridegroom Clemmie should have married if her arranged marriage had gone ahead. What happened to him after A Question of Honor ended, she wanted to know – what was his life like after that? And how did he end up with his happy ever after?

The answer, then, was that I really didn’t know. The only thing I was sure of was that he had a lot of growing up to do. He was only young, little more than a boy really – just 19  - so he needed to mature if he was to become the hero of his own book. And a lot of things had to change.  I didn’t know what had happened in the time after one book had ended and a new one (Nabil’s story) began – so I waited, wrote Olivero’s  Outrageous Proposal, and waited to see what would develop.

It turned out that lots did! Nabil waited  until  Dario Olivero’s story was finished – just – before he began to start dropping hints about his own romance.  Then, all the way through that journey to Wales, and in the lovely quiet, sunny days when we were staying in a beautiful Welsh manor house, and again in London,  he started putting ideas into my head so that I knew I just had to go ahead and write his story.  So this book, one that is loosely connected to A Question of Honor had been burning inside my head and is  pushing to be written – now!

I don’t often write books that are connected. Some authors set out to plan and write series in which characters who had appeared  in the first story have their own romance told in a later book, but I have only deliberately planned to do that one – in The Alcolar Family series  where the stories of two  brothers and a younger sister followed on from the story of Alexander Alcolar in the novella Wife For Real.  A couple of other times, the hero of one book has had a brother and I’ve told both their stories (Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride and A Sicilian Husband are an example) but these  second stories usually grow out of the story and I don’t know it’s going to happen until I realise that I just have to write them.

But there’s a special pleasure in writing these connected stories. It means I get to develop the personality and story of someone who only briefly appeared in the original book, and then I get a chance to go back and revisit the hero and heroine whose story was in the earlier novel. It’s fun to see them again and to get to know what’s been happening to them as well as the hero and heroine of the new story.  This new book starts on a very special day for Karim and Clemmie from A Question of Honor and it was lovely to be able to celebrate with them, and see what’s been happening to them too in the time that has passed since their happy ending. I’m enjoying writing this connected book, and building on the original story I wrote before.

What about you? Do you like connected stories? Do you like it when a character who has a ‘bit part’ in one story then becomes the hero and heroine of their own romance? And do you like catching up with past characters, so that you can see what’s been happening with them and how they’re getting on?
My next title out  is - as I said Olivero's Outrageous Proposal which is published in  Harlequin Presents and Mills and Boon  Modern in April 2015. But before then there are 2 reprints coming out - Kept for Her Baby will be in a 3 in 1 collection  His Secret Baby and The Konstantos Marriage Demand will be in His Revenge Seduction in  November 2014.

Meanwhile, the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is available on Kindle
Details of these books and all the latest news are available on my web site and on my blog.


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