Monday, October 12, 2015

Song for two heroes - or heroines . . . Kate Walker

I’m  on a deadline right know. OK, to be honest, I’m rather over that deadline.  I have too little ti
me left and too much book  to write – so I’m fairly pressured for time. Add into that the fact that I’d forgotten to add in the time I needed to run a writing retreat in Swanwick, Derbyshrire  (that’s pronounced Swannick Darbyshire in Brit English of course, not the way it looks on the page!)

So I’m a bit late getting back  home, unpacked, sorted out, and at the keyboard  to write my blog.  And then of course I had to think of something to write.

Now there’s a problem – I’ve been writing blogs -  my own, Tote Bags, Pink Hearts . . . for so many years that sometimes it’s really hard to think what I should talk about. What would be interesting? What would be current? What would readers Actually want to read about?

It’s a bit like the eternal ‘where do you get your ideas from’ question that  writers are asked so often.  That’s the question I usually answer ‘from life’ when I’m asked it.  Well, it’s true -  life is the  one great source of inspiration that comes at us day in and day out, bringing new events, new people, new possibilities for stories, or blogs – sometimes.

I have an idea for my current story, obviously, which is a good thing  - because of that deadline, obviously, but I’m really a bit apprehensive  about getting to the end of this book , this deadline, and starting tom look around for another brand new  exciting and interesting  idea for next time. 
Because I don’t just have to find an idea for this book, but  this one and another one as well.  Because when I was in London last month   for the annual author party, I was talking to my editor about what
might be coming up and she said ‘I’d really like to see a duet.’  And before I knew what had happened I’d opened my mouth and said ‘Fine. I can do that.’

Fine? What’s fine about it? A duet is two books. Two linked books.   I have to think of not one story that excites me and makes me want to write it. One idea  ‘with legs’ that  will have enough interest and depth to develop into  a full length book – but two s
uch stories – and they have to be linked in some way so that they create a ‘duet’.  Eeek!

I have written duets – and a trilogy before.  So I know it can be done. 

There was The Alcolar Family (just republished as   The Notorious Alcolars in Australia). That came about by accident. I was asked to write a free on-line story for the Harlequin web site  so I created Alex Alcolar  and at the end of his story his two half-brothers  Joaquin and Ramon and his half-sister Mercedes appeared and everyone wanted to  know their stories it seemed. So I set to and The 12 Month Mistress   (Joaquin’s story) , The Spaniard’s Inconvenient Wife (Ramon)  and Bound by Blackmail  (Mercedes).  The link between them was  easy – they were all from the same family.
Other connected books – duets have happened  almost by accident.

I wrote The Sicilian’s Wife in 2002 as a standalone story. But in the closing chapters of that story, the hero’s  half brother Gio appeared  and soon he was demanding his own story. I wrote it –(he didn’t give me much option – he wouldn’t go away until I did!) And so A Sicilian Husband appeared a year later.

Then there was  the Sicilian Brothers duet  which was actually planned as two linked books. Guido and  Vito Corsentino were inspired by a some emails from an American fan who told me about her brothers  with those names and the names were so great – such obvious ‘hero’ names that I had to write their stories. They appeared in Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride and The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge in  2007.

So now I need some new ideas for a new duet. I’d better move away from any more Sicilians – they seem to have had their fair share of  linked stories for a while – do you think?  And Spaniards. The Alcolars have had four books after all.  

But how should I link them?  I’ve done several brothers or half-brothers stories.  There’s even a sister in there.  Family links obviously work well -  but should I write about heroes who are brothers or heroines who are sisters?  Then there’s the possibilities of heroines who work together  - or work for each other. Would that - er  work?  Or heroes who  are best friends – or twins – or . . .

My mind is almost spinning with possibilities but I’m having to shelve the real work on coming up with these new plots until I finish the current story and send it off to my  editor. Then I can start really planning and thinking and imagining.
What about you? Do you like linked stories that form a duet? Or do you prefer a standalone story?
And what sort of links do you like to see in a linked series of books? Family connections?   Brothers? Sisters?  Twins? Friends? Enemies?  Or is there something else entirely, something new that you’d just love to see in a pair of linked books?  Any clever ideas?

In the meantime I’ll  keep my nose to the grindstone and work on – and hopefully finish very soon – this new story. And then I’m going to be brainstorming ideas and plans to see what to write next.  

I just hope I can come up with something soon!

(And if you have any ideas or questions that would create interesting and new blogs, that would be great too!) 

 . Coming next  Destined For The Desert King  which is published in December this year.
Then there's the  12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, the newest edition of which is available on Kindle or a revised and updated paperback edition now available on and

Kate Walker's web site is here   and the up-to-date news can be found on her blog or her Facebook page.


dstoutholcomb said...

family, friends, small towns, strangers passing in the night (joking) are all good linking for story arcs

Kate Walker said...

Thanks for some great ideas - I shall think about these.