A Regency Invitation

This is the Blog of the Book! Read all about the process by which Regency authors Joanna Maitland, Elizabeth Rolls and Nicola Cornick wrote collaboratively to create the story of the Regency House Party of the Season! A Regency Invitation is published in November 2005 from Harlequin Historicals.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Getting Started!

In the beginning, Joanna Maitland had a Big Idea…

Inspired by the reality TV programme where ordinary men and women were taken back to Regency times to live the life of a Regency buck, young debutante or spinster chaperon for three months, Joanna came up with the idea of a book centred around the idea of a Regency House Party. But rather than keep this to herself, Joanna had the generosity to share the concept with her author colleagues and friends (us!) and so the idea of an anthology with three short stories by three different authors was born.

When Joanna suggested this to our editors at Harlequin Mills and Boon, Linda Fildew was most enthusiastic:

“December 9th 2003

Dear Nicola, Joanna and Elizabeth

Welcome to the Regency House Party!

We’re so pleased that the three of you have agreed to come on board with this special project. Our enthusiasm has been mounting as we've been discussing the potential contained in this special anthology and we hope we can enthuse you similarly.

We’d ask that you think about the concept, attached, and then work up the details between yourselves. Please supply an overarching outline which shows the links between the three stories and then we'd like to see individual story synopses to understand how each will fit with the others. Essentially, though, apart from giving you a jump start and a helpful steer or two along the way, we do believe that the best project will come out of the three of you collaborating closely and developing the plot twists and turns together.

Thank you again for saying you will be a party to the Party. We hope you have fun exploring the ways this project might develop. Do, please, be in touch with any of us if you need help along the way.”

The concept that was put forward was that the stories should be centred round, but not necessarily entirely based on, a country estate, possibly within striking distance of a major town/city. The time of year was left up to us – would we go for assignations in the balmy summer air or a festive Christmas party? We discussed amongst ourselves ideas of setting and structure and characterisation. The latter was going to be particularly challenging because each short story was going to feature a complete romance within itself but we would also be using a lot of each other’s characters.

And so the first of over 250 emails about the Regency House Party started to fly between the UK and Australia. The following series of emails shows how the project developed.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Welcome from Elizabeth

Finally! Thanks, Joanna for telling me how to do this properly.
Welcome everyone. We hope you enjoy our blog. When we started writing A Regency Invitation, I don't think any of us realised quite how much fun it would be or how many emails it would involve. By the time we'd finished writing and had the book on our editors' desks, we had learnt an amazing amount about where ideas come from and, even more importantly, how to work with them and develop them. Writing it all down so that others can understand what you are thinking, is surprisingly effective.
Often people think writing a romance is easy, sort of just join the dots and add names. If this blog shares some of the reality with readers and other writers, we will be delighted. Above all, enjoy yourselves here. A fair few emails were buzzing around in the lead up to Christmas so you'll soon know who has goose for Christmas dinner, who makes shortbread and whose husband doesn't make enough mince pies. You'll also know about guide dog puppies and why Anthony's butler is called Ufton.
As Joanna said, Nicola has set all this up and is doing the bulk of the work; so, thanks, Nicola. You're amazing.

Regards,

Elizabeth

Friday, October 14, 2005

Welcome from Joanna

Hello everyone and welcome!

I'm slightly apprehensive about doing this since I've never blogged before. Nicola (bless her!) has done all the work in setting up this blog. Elizabeth and I are acting as hangers-on, I suppose, though we did write hundreds of emails each during the writing.

This blog is something of an adventure for all three of us. We had such fun creating our joint book, A Regency Invitation, that we thought other writers and readers might be interested to see how it was done and the hoops and loops we went through to do it at a distance of 12,000 miles.

In some ways, it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. There were huge highs, especially when we jointly solved some plot puzzle or finished a really difficult scene. There were lows when we couldn't see our way out of the complicated situations we'd written ourselves into. But we always managed to work our way out and crank back up the slope again. You'll see the process for yourself as the blog progresses. To be honest, with the three of us involved, even the problems were fun.

We're looking forward to hearing comments from visitors on the blog. Please do share your views. In the meantime, you're welcome to visit my website at www.joannamaitland.com. I'm about to update it so I hope that, by the time you visit, everything new will be there.

Best wishes

Joanna

Monday, October 10, 2005

Welcome to the Regency House Party of the Season!

Hello and welcome to the blog for A Regency Invitation! Over the next few weeks Joanna Maitland, Elizabeth Rolls and Nicola Cornick will be inviting you to read their blog on how the characters, setting and storyline for their joint book A Regency Invitation was developed. The whole process was great fun for us and we want to share it with you - and also to inspire other authors! Visit us at www.nicolacornick.com and www.joannamaitland.com and come and chat with us here at the Regency House Party of the Season!

Best wishes and welcome!

Nicola, Joanna and Elizabeth