Jilted kicks off a four-book series, the Promise Harbor Wedding, written by four different authors. Four authors—Kelly Jamieson, me, Sydney Somers, and Erin Nicholas—living in places far removed from each other: Winnipeg, Denver, the Maritime, and Iowa. All four books begin with the same wedding ceremony that doesn’t work out as planned. But how did we go about putting this series together? Joint outlines? That might work, except not everybody in the group uses outlines. One benevolent dictator telling the other three how to write? Not with romance writers, thank you very much.
So how did we do it? A lot of trial and error, a lot of emailing, a lot of aspirin, and a lot of fun as it turns out.
We started thinking about the possibilities again last year, trying to come up with a basic situation that could serve as a jumping off point for four books, trying a couple of possibilities that didn’t ultimately work out. Of course the fact that we were in three different time zones didn’t help much—poor Syd was up in the wee hours when I was just finishing dinner. Thankfully the chat room we were using was one where we could save the discussion for future reference.
I’m not sure who exactly suggested a wedding, but I think it was either Kelly or Erin. Once that possibility had been raised, ideas began to flow. It would be a wedding that didn’t come off, a wedding-that-wasn’t. And all the stories would grow out of that initial disaster. Somehow we managed to browbeat Kelly into going first, so she decided she wanted to do the groom’s story. Erin agreed to be last and took the bride for Hitched. That left Syd and me to grab a couple of the supporting players—the best man in Syd’s case and the matron of honor in mine.
We decided that all four books would include the wedding as the first scene, but in each case it would be seen through a different character’s point of view. This meant we had to have a wedding scene to work with, and Kelly and Erin obliged. Syd and I contributed our own versions from different POV’s and the game was on.
Bolted, I had to make sure I wasn’t having her do anything that would interfere with her activities in Busted.
It was hectic and sometimes frustrating, but at the same time it was loads of fun. Having three other authors to bounce ideas off and to complain to when your muse goes on a brief vacation was a wonderful experience. And the finished products had bits of all of us, incidents and ideas we’d all contributed.
So to the inevitable questions “Can the books be read on their own?” I can only answer, “Why would you want to?” Believe me, four authors are so much more fun than one.