Friday, November 15, 2019

Dealing with Story Ideas by Michelle Styles

Sometimes story ideas come quietly on cat’s paws. You don’t know they are there until they start to flow from your fingertips. You can’t really say when or why they arrived, you simply know you need to write the story. Other ideas roar into your mind and refuse to let go, drowning out all other ideas until they vanish as quickly as they came, leaving you to sort through the wreckage.
My latest book from Harlequin Historical A DEAL WITH HER REBEL VIKING was one of the latter. I saw a tweet about an Oxfordshire Easter tradition about women capturing men and then men capturing women and thought  there must have a romance in it somewhere. Although I have written a number of Viking set romances, I had never set one in the Midlands, in the old kingdom of Mercia. In many ways, Mercia is overlooked as it became part of Wessex after Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians and daughter of King Alfred died. She is probably the person most responsible for stopping the Vikings and for helping to ensure England evolved as a concept. She is also one of my great heroines. However, my story takes place slightly earlier than her reign, during that period when the Great Army was first on British shores.
  The idea seemed deceptively simple when I first started writing it but as ever with these things, the initial idea proved slightly elusive (among other thing I forgot the romance) and I had to work hard to make the story work for my characters (cue large scale revisions). However after working  very hard and completely re-jigging the ending, my editor loved it (cue celebrations on my part). I was also very pleased with the cover as they used the model Carson who had inspired the hero as the cover model.
As I wrote it, I also realised that there was more than one story here and so I have ended up writing a trilogy. The slight hiccup with this was that I had already committed to writing a book in the Sons of Sigurd series which Harlequin Historical is publishing in 2020. The four other authors are Michelle Willingham, Harper St George, Jenni Fletcher and Terri Brisbin. My book is the third one and is entitled CONVENIENTLY WED TO THE VIKING (publishing July 2020).  Michelle Willingham’s Stolen by the Viking will be published in March 2020. It has one of the new look Harlequin Historical covers. And having read an early draft, it is every bit as lush as the cover looks. Writing in a collaborative series was a totally new experience for me and it took me a little longer than I had planned.
 So after a long hiatus,  I have just returned to Midland set trilogy and am writing the second one. It is wonderful to revisit the world that I created last year.  This time, rather than setting it in the Forest of Arden, I have moved the action northwards to Sherwood Forest. It is easy to forget that these forests existed long before the tales of Shakespeare or indeed Robin Hood and I wanted to do something to address that.
Right now, I am hoping that people enjoy my new book. You can read the start of it here for free.

Michelle Styles writes warm ,witty and intimate historical romances for Harlequin Historical in a wide range of time periods, including Roman, Regency, Victorian but most recently Viking. Her latest A DEAL WITH HER REBEL VIKING will be published on 18 November 2019. Her next book CONVENIENTLY WED TO THE VIKING will be published in July 2020. You can learn more about Michelle and her books at

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