What do writers do when they have a deadline looming?
They procrastinate, of course!
That’s what I’m doing. With at least 10,000 words to write in the next 5 days in order to finish Lady Unveiled~The Cuckold Conspiracy, Book 5 in my Daughters of Sin series, I’ve just finished cleaning the laundry and now I’m writing a blog post.
Because I don’t know how to finish my book!
So I’m going to try and talk my way through it. Yesterday I was teaching a creative writing class, locally, in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria, when I was asked what my series was about. Suddenly the ideal description came to me. I told my student: “Imagine the Borgias are long-term house guests at Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice.”
Yes, that should give one an idea of the scandalous, intrigue-filled world of the Borgias superimposed upon the refined surroundings of a Pride and Prejudice setting. Araminta, the beautiful daughter of Lord and Lady Partington would, of course, be Lucrezia.
I know it shouldn’t take five books to define what one’s series is about but I’m an organic writer. (Not that that is any kind of an explanation, I know. When I start to panic, I’m in the habit of casting around for reasons that have little to do with the question.) However, this is my process: When I sit down, my characters speak to me through the words that spill out of my fingers and onto the keyboard. At the end, I weave it all together so there’s a clear narrative from start to finish.
The series kicked off with Her Gilded Prison which was accepted by Ellora’s Cave after the editor liked my different take on the ‘older woman, younger man story with a twist’. It’s the tale of sweet Sybil, the lonely and unloved wife of Viscount Partington, and her unlikely love affair with the dashing heir to her husband’s estate, newly arrived from fighting the peninsular wars. I had no idea the story would morph into the multi-layered tale it has. The book ends with her two daughters getting ready for a hectic London season. (I’m not telling what happens to gorgeous Sybil and dashing Stephen.)
Book 2 – Dangerous Gentlemen – focuses on the sibling rivalry between earnest and “do-gooding” Hetty and her spoiled and vain older sister Araminta who’s been so beastly to her in the first book. Araminta tries to steal Hetty’s true love in book 1 and – can you believe it! – she tries it on again in Book 2! Dangerous Gentlemen also introduces the girls’ unacknowledged and illegitimate half-sister by their father, Lissa, who aids them in an espionage plot centering around Lord Debenham, the villain of the piece.
Lissa’s story then becomes the focus of Book 3, The Mysterious Governess, as she’s positioned in a household to try and apprehend the aforementioned dangerous gentlemen who, in the meantime, has become strangely and awkwardly allied to the Partington family. Rescued from an upturned carriage, she falls in love with darling Ralph, secretary to villainous Viscount Debenham.
In Book 4 – Beyond Rubies – bright and beautiful Kitty becomes London’s most celebrated actress but nearly comes a cropper due to the disappearance of a valuable diamond and ruby necklace which villainous Lord Debenham has gifted to Araminta who, for reasons I can’t tell you has had to use it as collateral if she’s to save her reputation.
All of which brings me to the current book I’m madly trying to finish, Lady Unveiled~ The Cuckold Conspiracy—hence this desperate attempt at procrastination when the words currently ricocheting off my keyboard should be tying up the loose ends of the “Spider Conspiracy” in Book 1, and the “Incriminating letter” in book 2, and the “treason plot” in Book 3 and the reasons behind the “Stolen necklace” in book 4. While Araminta is still doing what she can to save her reputation, awful Lord Debenham is trying to make Kitty his mistress (though at this stage Araminta doesn’t know that Kitty is her half-sister and I’m trying to decide when and how that information should be revealed – or if it should at all, since I’m going to start a second series with the action beginning five years hence.)
But I’m nearly there! Nine days is plenty of time to wrap it up and have it to the editor before it gets several rounds of copy-editing and proof reading before release day… Isn’t it?
If you want to know how it ends, you can pre-order here – bearing in mind that when you press that pre-order button, the author has no idea how it’s going to end – though hopefully not in tears, is all I can say!