Planning a historical romance series

One of the biggest challenges of being an author is planning a historical romance series. I know that there will be people who disagree with me, but I think this is true for three reasons:

  1. Planning a series, any series, is complicated. You have way more characters to keep track of, you need to ensure that things like time of the year or even years in a decade don’t get all loose, and that your characters’ descriptions don’t change!
  2. Writing historical fiction is complicated. Depending on the level of detail you want to bring into your books, there’s a huge amount of research that you have to put in before you can even think about writing a word!
  3. Creating believable romances is complicated. This is especially true for a series because romance readers always want a ‘happily ever after’ – so how do you get them interested in reading the next book?

Put all of that complication together, and what have you got?

Yeah. It’s complicated.

But planning a historical romance series doesn’t have to be something you avoid, just because it’s complicated. What you need to do is have a really clear strategy to combat those three problems. Here is how I make sure that planning a historical romance series doesn’t need to be the end of your writing career – before it’s even begun!

Keeping track of everything

For me, it’s spreadsheets. For some authors, it’s notebooks. I’ve even got an author friend who has a whole wall whiteboard that she sticks post-it notes on! The point is, find out the best way that you need to keep track of everything – from character names, ages, descriptions, and emotional arcs – and treat that as your Bible.

Have more than one copy of it. And then never let it go.

Commit to the research

Especially true if you’re writing a series, if you know that you’re going to be creating 3+ books in the same historical time period, remember that all the research that you’re doing is essentially divided by three because you can use it as least three times. That makes all those hours worth it.

I’d also recommend typing up your notes so that you can use the ‘Find’ function to hunt down slightly remembered details. You’ll thank me later.

Link your books together

There are a whole bunch of different ways that you can do this for romance series. I’ve used seasons of the year, siblings, and secondary characters becoming primary characters. I’ve read childhood friends and neighbours on the same street. Whatever you pick, it will need to be something cohesive enough to make it clear to your reader that there’s more of your ‘world’ that they can explore, without being so restrictive that your readers get bored of you.

So is that it?

I wish. Planning a historical romance series is one of the most rewarding and challenging things that I think an author can do. Think I’m wrong? Tell me in the comments below!

New Release: Whirlwind with a Wolfe

Okay. OKAY. So I am beyond excited to announce that I have a new book launched this week as part of Kathryn Le Veque’s WolfeBane Publishing World!

whirlwindwiththewolfe (1)

Kathryn Le Veque’s de Wolfe books are incredibly popular, and I am honoured to be included in her latest release of stories that include de Wolfes in their stories.

Whirlwind with a Wolfe is a crossover between my Ravishing Regencies series and Kathryn’s de Wolfe series. I absolutely cannot wait to see what you think!

How do you write male characters?

I am asked a wide range of different questions about the way that I write, but the question that comes up most often is ‘How do you write male characters?’

It’s a great question, but it’s always a little irritating. I mean, I’ve never been a duchess either, but no one asks me how I manage to write those types of characters!

Basically what it all comes down to is three things, so if you want to write male characters, pull up a chair, and see whether these three tips can help you:

1. It’s all about motivation.

Just like any other character, it’s important to know the motivation of your character. It’s through their motivations, fears, greed, and hopes that you can start to weave your character’s words and deeds. Sometimes this is as simple as the opening plot: man is disinherited and seeks to reclaim his place in the world.

Sometimes you want to make it a little more difficult for your readers to work out: man is grumpy and particularly dismissive of women. Was he abandoned by his mother? Spurned by a lover? Betrayed by a sister? It’s the plot narrative that will reveal that to the other characters in the book, as well as your readers.

Before you start to write a male character, sit down and work out their motivation – and this can change throughout the book. Perhaps he starts the book as a private detective, just determined to make ends meet; then meets a woman in criminal distress and his motivations change to help her; then she betrays him and his motivations change to hunting her down and punishing her; then it’s revealed that she never betrayed him it was a misunderstanding, and his motivations end in marrying her and keeping her safe.

2. You need to be observant.

Masculinity is learned.

What do I mean by this? I mean that the way that men sit, stand, and scratch are behaviours that are learned from other men, and that means if you’re observant enough, you can start to learn too.

Now obviously if you are writing a historical romance, like I do, you will need to do a little research about the specific habits of the time. For example, did men in your historical period smoke or chew tobacco? If it’s smoke, was it in a hookah, cigarette, cigar? How did they hold them, cut them, throw them away?

It’s these little descriptions of habits that will make your male characters feel like real living people. I often receive emails from readers telling me that a particular habit of one of my characters has reminded them of one of their loved ones, and of course we’ve never met! But I have observed that exact same behaviour in the men around me.

3. Edit, edit, edit.

No writing is perfect immediately. It’s a great shame really, but there it is! I myself have 60,000 words to edit this afternoon (or at least make a start on), and I write a pretty clean first draft.

After you’ve finished your manuscript, leave it for a few weeks and come back to it. Print it off, and read it as though it’s the latest book you’ve bought. Do the characters ring true? Do they feel a bit awkward? Is there a section that doesn’t fit anymore, or do you need to add an explanatory scene earlier on?

It’s these edits that will fine tune your male characters, and give them the breath of life that only a great author can give. Although it may be painful and time consuming, it’s worth it for your readers.

 

I hope these tips have helped you! Do you have any other tips for writing male characters? Let me know in the comments below!

Editing Away…

You know, I’m going to be honest: editing is exhausting. Honestly, it’s just exhausting! I can easily write 15,000 words in a day, but editing for more than three hours I start to get a headache and I have to look away.

Editing is challenging, especially if you are editing your own work. You know what you are trying to say, and you just kind of assume that the reader will understand you.

You can’t see the mistakes.

You can’t see the errors.

You can’t see the inconsistencies.

And so you spend hours staring at a print out of your latest manuscript trying to work out where you’ve gone wrong, hoping desperately that you’re not going to cut out anything that is golden!

It’s why I depend so much on my Beta editors. They don’t just point out when there’s a wrong word, but when I’ve forgotten that a heroine starts a scene wearing a green dress and ends the scene wearing a blue dress. When I introduce a new character and then never actually follow up with them. When I add a secondary storyline that goes…nowhere.

I could go on, but you can see the challenge. So a big thank you goes out to my Beta readers, my Mum (the best editor in the world!) and any poor editor that has to look through my manuscripts.

Because they are probably awful. Sorry!

It’s Almost Spring!

You know, I can’t be the only one who is desperately waiting for the summer. I love the sun, I love the heat, I love the sound of laughter as picnics spread across green grass, I love birdsong…

…yeah. You get the general idea. I just love it.

So when I start to notice the signs of spring coming, I just can’t help but start to get a little happier. The nights are a little warmer, the sun lasts a little longer in the evenings, the swallows start to return, and I can think about putting away the winter coat and getting out the spring jacket (I mean, this is Britain. It can still be miserable in the middle of summer!).

And yet something in me is a little sad. Because I love being outdoors so much, I find that I want to spend less time at the keyboard and more time topping up my tan.

But this year I have so many amazing book projects that I can’t do that! I have three more books in my Ravishing Regencies series coming, along with a super secret project that I can’t talk about right now, but I will in a few weeks…

So I am trying to get as much done as possible while the days are chilly and frosty, so that you, my lovely readers, have lots of nice books to read!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Yup, you read that correctly.

As well as celebrating Valentine’s Day this week, I’ll be celebrating Galentine’s Day. Originally created to celebrate female friendships, I’ll be using the day to thank my friends who stand by me, support me, and loving me no matter what.

Everyone has challenges in their lives, and having people around you who love you, take care of you, and stand by you whatever you go through is absolutely vital. I know that I have some wonderful friends and family who I completely rely on.

And yes, I’ve written a Valentine’s book (which you can grab here) but instead of curling up with a good book, why not treat someone else to it as a paperback?

This Galentine’s Day, reach out to a friend that you’ve lost track of. Tell someone you love how much they mean to you. Surprise a friend with a small gift. Just make it count, whatever you do.

Release Day: ‘Peril with a Prince’

I’m thrilled to say that my latest Regency romance, Peril with a Prince, has been released!

perilwiththeprince

A prince hiding his identity, and a woman hiding hers – and sparks will fly when they have only each other to rely on…

Prince Éduard of Aviroux is hunting down the Great Whisperer, the spy helping the French nobility escape the guillotine, and he’s so close when thwarted by the delectable Giselle.

In all his years, he has never seen a woman like her: resourceful, cunning, and ready for a fight. What he doesn’t realise is that she’s just the spy he’s looking for.

Now trapped on an island together with food running out fast, Giselle is attracting his notice for all the wrong reasons, and it surely won’t be long before secrets, as well as clothes, start to fly.

Will Éduard discover Giselle’s terrible secret – or will he reveal some of his own? And can a perilous time with a prince ever lead to something more than just the heady delights of the flesh?

This is the prequel of the Ravishing Regencies.

This is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and part of a series that can be read in any order.

My ‘keep writing’ secret

One of the questions that I’m frequently asked as an author is: “Where do you get all of your inspiration from?”

And you know what? Sometimes that is a really difficult question to answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those people who drives their spouse insane by waking up in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea and having to get their phone open, dazzling screen ablazing, to write it down in ‘Notes’ – only to wake up the next morning to see:

andt he gloves not white but henot care

(An actual transcription from my ‘brilliant 3am ideas’ notes.)

I am also one of those authors who has, at the time of writing:

  • a twelve book series plotted out
  • a four book series plotted out
  • another twelve book series with the first three written
  • a five book series plotted out
  • and an eight book series with the covers designed, but no plots at all.

And you know what? I still have moments at my keyboard where I have no idea where my characters are going.

It can be frustrating, especially when (as I do), you are an author that works full time at another job. Carving out writing time is a real challenge, and I don’t even have the excuse of having children!

So when it comes to writing, I just want to sit down and go: no distractions, no hesitations.

When that doesn’t happen it can be overwhelmingly frustrating – but I am going to share with you my secret for how I am able to keep going.

tk

Yup, you read that right: tk. The letters ‘t’ and ‘k’ appear together very rarely in the English language, so if you decide to search ‘tk’ in your manuscript then you aren’t going to find many, unless you have a lot of pocketknives in your book.

So whenever I get to a sticking point and I know that it’ll frustrate me and distract me from the narrative, I just stick in tk and then move on.

Can’t think what the name of that piece of Regency clothing is? tk

Need an extra name for a character that is literally only in this scene? tk

Want to check whether that town is a real place, or I need to create one? tk

It may sound weird, but it’s a real simple way for me to keep with the flow of my writing. Then when I come to the end of my creative time, which usually doesn’t reach lunch (I’m definitely a morning bird!), I just stick ‘tk’ into the search, and the places that I need to go back to appear.

I never miss them. My manuscript is always better because of them, because I can then take my time to investigate clothing, find the perfect name, and research eighteenth century geography, without losing precious creating writing time.

So there you have it. YES I have tonnes of ideas. YES I have book ideas coming out of my ears. And YES sometimes my brain grinds to a halt and I have to use clever tricks to keep going.

Happy writing!

Read Marooned with a Marquis Now!

I am so incredibly excited to reveal that my latest book, Marooned with a Marquisis now live on Amazon for you to read and enjoy! And what’s more…it’s my birthday!

currently funding on

Yup, that’s right, twenty one again! Hahaha, seriously though, this is such an exciting moment for me because this is the book that so many of my reviewers and Beta Team have really fallen in love with. I mean, check out some of the reviews currently on Amazon!

Well written, charming characters and lovely location. Love everything of Emily’s that I have read!

— K Sazabo

 

I love that all the books in this series feature unique, intelligent and sassy heroines and lots of heat!

— Colorado Cowgirl

 

Emily, oh how your mind works! What an amazing love story. Adena and Luke are wonderful characters; causing me to thoroughly enjoy my time spent with them. What a cozy read for a very cold, windy night. Actually, under an umbrella on a warm beach. Anytime!

— Linda

 

I’ve made sure that Marooned with a Marquis is 0.99 for my loyal readers for just a week, so make sure that you grab it now and celebrate my birthday with me!