Welcome to my latest release, Black Sheep Heir, which is book two in the Texas Cattleman’s Club: Rags To Riches.
Self-made billionaire Miles Wingate, who is estranged from some of his family for wanting to go his own way in life, is called to action when things start going from bad to worse in one of the Wingate companies. Miles drops everything to assist his family. Chloe Fitzgerald has her own agenda. Her family was destroyed by Miles’s dad years ago. While growing up, Chloe’s mother’s bitterness toward the Wingates was a constant refrain and now, more than anything, Chloe wants to see her mother find happiness. Will revenge against the Wingate family be enough?
I was really excited to be invited to contribute to this series – or ‘continuity’. You probably know that a continuity is a series of books set in the same ‘world’ with interlinked themes and characters, but written by different authors. But you may not know that a Harlequin Desire continuity is the dream child of the small but incredible Desire editorial team in New York. With the Texas Cattleman’s Club books, the team brainstorm an overall arc for the six, or more, books in each continuity. They invent characters who are each connected to one another and the overall story arc in some way. The TCC books are all set in the fictional town of Royal, Texas, a small town with a widespread population and where ranching is very much a way of life and the social life revolves around the Texas Cattleman’s Club, which was originally an old world style men’s club built around 1910. Over recent years there has been a massive swing to modernise the facilities and the thinking of the membership, with female members and even a daycare centre but you still have to be a member or guest of a member to use the facilities. Now, it’s less Old Boys’ Club and more welcoming overall. As Desire continuities are all about passion and power woven into provocative storylines there’s always a delicious mix of wealth and sexy conflict between our characters.
The editors then invite authors – usually a mix of new and current ‘voices’ in the Desire line – to work on the new series. We’re all sent a ‘story bible’, the list of all the authors who will be working together and who is writing which book. The story bible is a detailed outline of the entire cast of characters and how they interconnect – who hates who, who loves who and who is the dastardly villain of the piece – as well as a short synopsis for each individual story. It’s very important to work as closely as I can with the authors who wrote the story before mine and who are working on the story after mine, because it is vital to portray their characters the same way they’re showing them on their pages. After all, our keen-eyed readers will jump on any mistakes, and we don’t want to pitch you out of the world we have created. We used to all communicate through a group email system, but now we most often ask questions of one another and share scenes featuring each other’s characters via a private Facebook group to which the editors are invited, also. Generally, we all tend to be very much on the same page (excuse the pun) with regard to characters and it creates a very special feeling of camaraderie to know that your fellow writers see and feel your characters the same way you do.
It can be a challenge, writing a book that you didn’t think up yourself!
Writing to someone else’s outline isn’t always as easy as it sounds and for me, getting a grip on the internal motivation of my characters is vital to being able to deliver a well-finished product to the team. Whether I’m working on my own stories or on a continuity, I always like to feel as though I fully understand the backstory of my characters before I start on a book – what makes them tick, why they react a certain way to a certain situation, what their hot buttons are, were they bullied at school or were they the leader of the pack, that kind of thing. Sharing that information with the other authors helps us to work together, because we’re all striving toward a common goal of giving our wonderful readers the best stories we possibly can while delivering on the Desire promise of wealth, passion and a happy ever after. It’s fascinating stuff, to be honest, and I feel as though I’m taking part in a giant soap opera of grand proportions each time.
This particular series, Texas Cattleman’s Club: Rags to Riches, began last month with Maureen Child’s, The Price Of Passion. If you haven’t read it yet and you love to read a delicious family saga filled with scandal, intrigue and passion, you’ll love this new continuity with Mills & Boon Desire.
A typical Piscean, award winning USA Today! bestselling author, Yvonne Lindsay, has always preferred the stories in her head to the real world. Which makes sense since she was born in Middle Earth. Married to her blind date sweetheart and with two adult children, she spends her days crafting the stories of her heart and in her spare time she can be found with her nose firmly in someone else’s book.
He doesn’t do whirlwind romances…until he meets her!
When rebellious heir and security mogul Miles Wingate accidentally runs into Chloe Fitzgerald — literally! — it feels like fate. She’s beautiful, intriguing and surprisingly interested in his estranged family. One night with Chloe leaves him suspicious — and craving more. But when a crisis forces Miles home to Royal, Texas, a string of bombshells awaits. Including one about Chloe and her hidden agenda…