- by Eileen Dreyer
First of all, do you know how hard it is to find a picture of a juggler that isn’t a bit scary? I didn’t think jugglers were creepy, not like clowns, anyway. But go to the royalty-free sites, and you’ll find some seriously disturbing juggling going on.
But that doesn’t speak to the topic at hand. Well, not any more than having to find a picture of a juggler is just another bit of juggling authors have to do in a day. The juggling I want to talk about right now, though, is writing a series.
First of all, will somebody tell me why my friends didn’t constrain me the minute I first whispered the word ‘series’–okay, it started with the word ‘trilogy’ which I’ve dabbled in before, but suddenly the trilogy has cubed, and I wish my friends had locked me in a small room without any electronics and not let me out until I’d come to my senses. After all, I’ve been writing for over 25 years. In all that time, has anybody ever heard me say anything about series except, “I’d end up killing myself or someone else.” Well, duck and cover, kids. It could well happen.
It all started out innocently enough. I’ve wanted to wade into historical romance for a long time. I’m a committed reader of the genre. I’ve dived so deep into my favorite periods that I’ve officially joined the Anachronism Club. I knew that if I made such a radical change,though, I couldn’t just write one book for fun. I’d have to seriously commit to it. At least three books. Okay. I’d done a trilogy before. Not in any time period, of course. In the world of Irish faerie, where if dates, places and times weren’t coordinating, I could just make them up. Could it really be that much harder when I’m dealing with actual dates? (stop laughing, Elizabeth Grayson.)
Fine. I could have three women who met in the tents of Brussels during the Battle of Waterloo and bonded. Excellent. A trilogy. Easy enough, surely. Not when I added nefarious spies. See, I might be able to close the romance in each book, but the spies have to last, or there’s no reason for the next heroine to be in trouble, or the one after that. Then I realized that at least two of my books overlap time-wise (which is a certain way to give your editor a panic attack.) See how it’s getting more and more complicated?
Did I mention I suck at details? I know there are spies. I know there’s a threat to the crown that involves a bunch of aristocrats trying to put Princess Charlotte on the throne so they can control her. But what the hell do they do in each book to propel it forward and put my couple in jeopardy so they can have danger sex? How do I carry over the clues without spending half the next book reminding my audience what the clues are? And hey, wait a minute. Who the hell are these ten guys who call themselves Drake’s Rakes, and what do you mean they want their own books? (by now I’m hearing screaming in my head).
Yes, I’ve officially gone to the dark side. I just put together six more thumbnail sketches of books for my remaining heroes. I have heroines. I have conflicts. I have a couple of great villains. Damn it, I’m really getting psyched about doing the stories. Which is just the first sign of insanity. So if you hear a lot of crashing and cursing coming from my house, just ignore it. I’ll be gently trying to put this series together so that all the details connect. You’d think my friends would know better.