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.


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