Archive for June 17th, 2009

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Wed Him Before You Bed Him

At eighteen, Charlotte Page made a life-altering mistake. She wronged a man in an impulsive act that she came to deeply regret, though it led her to her present life as Mrs. Charlotte Harris, owner of Mrs. Harris’s School for Young Ladies.

Unbeknownst to her, that man is now her anonymous benefactor, the mysterious “Cousin Michael.” His masquerade began as preparation for a devastating revenge, but soon became a labor of love. Now Charlotte desperately needs his help. Can he save her from disaster as his real self without revealing the ugly secret behind his charade? Or will the mistakes of both their pasts tear them apart forever?


Why Do You Write Series?

Occasionally I get this question from readers who wish authors would go back to the mostly stand-alone romances of yore. I always find it baffling, since the connected series is a staple of most genre fiction. Mystery series have been around for decades, as have fantasy and science fiction series, so it was only a matter of time before the romance series became popular, too.  And I like them myself. A lot. I still pick up every one of Johanna Lindsey’s Malory books, although I’m behind on reading them.

My own School for Heiresses series, Regency-set historicals featuring the spirited graduates of Mrs. Harris’s School for Young Ladies, is the fourth series I’ve written. The heiresses are connected only by their association with the school, but I’ve also written series where the characters were friends, royal half-brothers, and sisters. Here’s why I enjoy writing them:

1) The over-arching themes—in this particular series I include a running thread in the epigrams, of letters between Mrs. Harris and her anonymous benefactor, “Cousin” Michael. It’s been such fun to play around with the growing relationship between those two characters. The last book, Wed Him Before You Bed Him, coming out June 23rd, reveals who Cousin Michael really is and gives us the romance between him and Charlotte. That book was pure joy to write—I’d been describing the foreplay for so long that I was more than ready for a consummation!

2) Seeing the same world through the eyes of more than just one book’s hero and heroine gives me a broadened perspective of the milieu.

3) For faithful readers of the whole series, I can include inside jokes. It enhances the experience, for me AND for them, while hopefully not alienating readers who pick up only one book.

4) If I fall in love with a secondary character, I can have a second go at him or her. That’s what happened with Eliza, a minor character in Only A Duke Will Do. She just sprang off the page, so I had to include her in a future story, which turned out to be the novella in the School For Heiresses anthology.

5) I can explore a character outside his/her relationship to the heroine/hero. That’s hard to do in one book. I can also explore a character’s growth over a longer period than one book.

So what about you? Do you read series? Do you like them? If so, why? If not, why not? And if you’ve read the series, who do you think Michael is and why? Two commenters will receive a copy of Wed Him before You Bed Him, fresh from the printing press, so be sure to weigh in with your opinion!


Visit Ms Jeffries’ website and remember to leave a comment to enter the drawing.

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