As Coming of Age, my third story in my Twelve Letters series is on release tomorrow, I thought I’d write a quick post about the background to these Regency romp novellas.
First of all, this almost wasn’t a series. In fact, it was a fluke that the first book was written at all! When the announcement came in the spring for a submission call to celebrate JMS Books’ twelfth anniversary, although I was intrigued at writing a story around the number 12, I sensibly decided I had a busy enough writing schedule already.
Inevitably, the very next morning I woke up with a fully-fledged story idea in my head! I could clearly imagine Jo poised on the steps of his lodgings ready to dash to Piccadilly and persuade his best friend Ben Harding from fighting a disastrous duel. Twelve Letters simply flowed from my imagination onto the page (I wish every other story was that easy!) but as much as I enjoyed writing about my ensemble cast and their humorous misadventures in letter writing, I presumed that was the end of their story.
When I was in the middle of writing One Summer Night for JMS Books’ August Night or Day submission call, Percy Havilland, the ultimate Regency himbo from Twelve Letters, sashayed into my head and demanded his own story. What was even more irritating was that I kept getting drip-fed the odd scene or chunks of dialogue that I had to write down before I forgot them! I temporarily banished a bitterly complaining Percy to concentrate on better-behaved MCs, before turning my attention to Queer Relations, the story of Percy’s (partial) rehabilitation from brattiness and his relationship with steady, longsuffering older lover Nathan Brooks.
It was inevitable after two stories that my ensemble group kept recapturing my imagination, and the result was Coming of Age, again focusing on Percy and his maturing into a half-decent person but also keeping us up to speed with the joys and difficulties between our other two couples, Jo and Daniel and Ben and Edward. As all these issues weren’t quite ready to be resolved yet, book 4, Gentlemen’s Agreement had to be written (and will be out in January) and as I’m not prepared to abandon my lovely Regency boys, I’m already planning The Misfit, a spin-off story, where they will appear as supporting characters.
So Coming of Age has a pivotal story arc, mainly about Percy coming to terms with his new, better self but with plenty of support and contributions from the other couples and storylines that will reach fruition in book 4. I’m very aware of the romantic convention of focussing on one couple at a time in consecutive stories and thoroughly enjoy reading those. But somehow, my ensemble cast seems to work best as a team weaving their way into complementing each other’s stories.
Coming of Age is currently in the 20% off pre-release/new release sale at JMS Books.