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Planning for the Future—Future Books to Write, That Is

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Even though I’m struggling with my wordcount on An Honest Heart (I promise I WILL catch up!), I’ve started thinking about what I might write after I finish that book. And it started with an inventory of characters and story ideas I’ve already had, spun off from my existing series.

Bonneterre, Louisiana
JennPeople who’ve read the Brides of Bonneterre series (Stand-In Groom, Menu for Romance, A Case for Love) have long clamored for me to tell at least one more story in this world: that of Jennifer (Jenn) Guidry, Meredith and Forbes’s next-younger sister, owner of the Fishin’ Shack restaurant in Comeaux, and Mere and Anne’s former housemate.

Then, last year, I came up with the Five Golden Rings story idea, for which I decided Bonneterre would be the perfect setting.

I started developing the setting that would become Bonneterre in the early 1990s, so it’s really hard for me to stay away from it. I never realized how much I could love a fictional place!


The Matchmakers
I knew as soon as I introduced these three guys (the younger brothers of hero Dylan Bradley in The Art of Romance) that they had extreme spinoff potential:

Paxton “Pax” Bradley (David Alpay), Spencer Bradley (Evan Lysacek), and Tyler Bradley (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

And many of you have let me know that you’re interested in their stories as well. But I’ve also been thinking a lot about Caylor’s younger sister, Sage. She really started making a turnaround there at the end of The Art of Romance, and I’d love to see where it takes her.


The Ransome Trilogy
I’ve actually already written a proposal (complete with story synopses) for what I was calling The Pembroke Trilogy—a “next-gen” sequel series to the Ransome books. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the proposal didn’t sell—but it did lead me to coming up with the idea for The Great Exhibition series.

RAOpening in 1849, The Pembroke Trilogy follows Richard Grayson Pembroke, son of Sir Drake Pembroke, Baronet, as he is forced to try to exact his father’s revenge stemming from a grudge held longer than Gray has been alive. At his father’s behest, Gray travels to Jamaica as Richard Grayson to become steward at the Tierra Dulce sugar plantation. There, he meets Julia Ransome, the woman his father blames for everything that has gone wrong in his life, including the Pembrokes’ financial woes which forced Gray to leave Cambridge before completing his studies.

Life at Tierra Dulce, however, shows Gray that his father might not have been honest with him about the woman who, in a few short months, becomes more mother to Gray than his own. And then there’s the Ransomes’ youngest daughter, Margaret—the girl who is the key to Gray’s father’s plan for revenge. Will Gray’s loyalty to his father overcome his budding feelings for the people his father raised him to believe were their enemies?

The titles I came up with for the books in this trilogy are: Pembroke’s Intrigue, Pembroke’s Persuasion, and Pembroke’s Redemption.

I came up with that proposal while I was writing Ransome’s Quest. And in the process of writing RQ, I realized I had additional characters who might, someday, need their own prequel/parallel series to the Ransome books: Salvador, Serena, and Declan. Of course, there are also William and Charlotte Ransome’s brothers, James and Philip. James, with his role in RQ, already has a great backstory to build from!


The Great Exhibition Series
Yes, I do already have sequel/spinoff ideas for this series—There’s Mrs. Headington’s Home for Wayward Women. A possible late-life romance for Kate and Christopher’s uncle from Follow the Heart. Romances for their cousins Dorcas and Florie. Then, in An Honest Heart there are several younger characters who could transition into a series (The Seamstresses of Oxford???) set in the 1860s. I even have an inroad to taking a novel to 1860s Australia! Oh, and with a niece and nephew and a school for young women featured in The Heart That Waits, it’s also rife with spinoff/sequel possibilities.


And if those weren’t enough, I’ve got several other ideas I’ve been germinating for a couple of years. A time-travel romance (featuring Karl Urban as the hero!!!). An epic sci-fi action/adventure (featuring Oded Fehr as one of the *multiple* heroes, along with Sasha Roiz and Jeremy Renner). Then there’s a fantasy idea that I built off of a dream from a couple of years ago. I also have a couple of contemporary romance trilogy proposals that I’ve written over the years which never got picked up that I could go back to.

Then there’s the idea for the Civil War-era story that began with a young soldier “speaking” to me in my sleep one night a couple of years ago:

      “I couldn’t believe it. General Grant saluted me. Well, I’d immediately snapped my hand to the bill of my hat upon seeing him, so, really, General Grant was *returning* my salute.

      General Grant. The Scourge of the South. The Butcher of Vicksburg.

      General Grant–now president of the United States. The country I’d been taught to hate as a child. General Grant. The man I’d been hired to kill.”


What Will I Write Next?
So what will I write next? I have NO CLUE. All I know is that I’m looking forward to meeting new characters and telling new stories.


For Writers: When you finish a story/series, how do you decide what to write next (aside from “whatever I have on contract,” for those who are published). How many stories do you usually have going (writing-wise) at a time?

For Readers: Do you read series? Do you ever get burned out on series—as in, thinking the author should have quit while she was ahead? Are there certain books/series you wish had been continued but weren’t? Have you ever written “fan fiction” stories to satisfy your own desire to have additional stories set in some of your favorite authors’ worlds? (I have! That’s how I got started writing in the first place!)

  1. Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:56 am

    So far all of my story ideas have come to me in the form of dreams. As soon as I wake up, I write the ideas down in a notebook and save them for later, since I am currently busy writing my first book.
    As a reader, yes I do read series. The series which I never wanted to end was the Baxter series by Karen Kingsbury. I never thought about writing my own “fan fiction” as you call it. I may try my hand at it.
    I am thrilled to hear you are considering writing another book on the Bonneterre series. I enjoyed reading all three books on that series and I did not want it to end.


  2. Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:24 pm

    As a reader, I love a great series. As a librarian, there are SOME authors who just go on too long – I think 5 is plenty in a series (spinoff series not included). Continuing the Bonneterre storyline is a wonderful idea! LOVED those characters.

    Fanfiction? That’s how I started writing, all because I couldn’t stand that a television series had stopped. If all that were published novels, I would have about 10 books to my credit! Ha!!


  3. Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:49 pm

    You already know how much I love Dylan’s brothers and am pulling for them. After that is a return to Bonneterre. Then Ransome.

    Out of the new stuff, I’m all about the SF at the moment, so that one intrigues me.

    As a reader I devour series! Blowing my way through Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The League right now. As a writer I love getting lost in the same world, which is what I’m doing right now. I’m gearing up to start the third book in my SFR universe and I’m heading to a part of it I haven’t dealt with yet. It’s going to be so much fun!!!

    What comes next depends on what Harper Voyager says. I’m in the “being considered” pile still, which is less than 20% of the submissions they had.


  4. Sylvia M. permalink
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 2:01 pm

    I’m not a writer at all and have never written fan-fiction of any kind. I do wish that some authors would create a series rather than just leave it at one novel. Sometimes it’s because there are just so many wonderful characters in the book that need their own stories. Other times I think too little time was spent on the main couple with a concetration on sub-characters. In that case I didn’t feel like I really got to know any of the characters well. Overall, I love a series better than a single novel; not including non-fiction or contemporary women’s fiction. I prefer for a series to have each book about a different sibling in a family or even if each book is about close friends (Matchmakers), rather than it be called a series, but the characters have no connection whatsoever. I do get burned out on a series when I re-read it. When a series first comes out there may be one or two books a year in that set. You have lots of time between each book. On re-reads though, through some eight to ten book series with no breaks in between, I definitely get burned out. I started re-reading the Mitford series in 2011. That fall I read the first four or five novels; took a breather and finished the series in the fall of 2012! I don’t usually wait that long to finish a series, but they needed to be read in the fall! Kind of like Persuasion has to be read in the autumn. 🙂 Whew! That was some rambling. Your internal editor is probably cringing at this post! 🙂


  5. Sylvia M. permalink
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 2:12 pm

    As you probably know I am very much on board with any new Bonneterre books you might have out there. 🙂 Love the Pembroke idea too. Even though I have loved all your writing so far I personally would probably stay clear away from reading any thing fantasy, time travel, or science fiction. None of those have an appeal to me, but you might get a whole new crop of readers. 🙂 That would be a plus for you. I might make a time travel exception if it was written in a quirky sort of way and not taken too seriously. Sort of an Alice in Wonderland method. The person falls asleep reading a book and has a dream. That kind of thing.


  6. Judy permalink
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 5:00 pm

    I wanted to know what happened to the O’Malleys. I thought Dee Henderson’s last novel was one of the most intriguing ideas I’d ever read. Sorry, chemo brain has struck again, but I think the title was full disclosure.

    I really liked the Left Behind series at first, but felt it should have been condensed by the end. Of course, every believer has their own picture of Christ’s triumphant return, so that might have influenced my opinion.

    Years ago, I really enjoyed The Gates of Zion aerie any the Thoenes. I didn’t read their parallel ones.


  7. Thursday, March 28, 2013 5:38 pm

    Whatever series you work on next, I can’t wait to read!! 🙂 I agree that several of your series have me wanting to know more about other characters {the younger brothers for one} – and no matter what you come up with, it will be great!!

    VERY excited about this new series though!!


  8. Janette permalink
    Thursday, March 28, 2013 6:10 pm

    I hate to confess this, but I haven’t read any of your books yet, Kaye. I just “found” you on the ACFW historical romance loop and have been browsing your site and definitely benefiting from your writing series. I am currently working on my first draft of a Regency set in Nottinghamshire (because I fell in love with the BBC Robin Hood series … at least with Sir Guy–Marian, imho is just loony!) I’ve only got a little of it written, but as I was doing backstory for my main characters, ideas popped into my head (love it when that happens!) for 2 more stories set in that era and locale, along with 3 other series set in the locale, but earlier eras.

    I love reading series and am looking forward to getting my hands on your books.

    I also have plots that come to me in dreams .. or sometimes just conversations between hero and heroine that spark the story for me.

    I’d never written fan fiction–until Robin Hood. Now, I have a story started that will change the horrid outcome of series 2.

    Thanks for your faithfulness in posting. I’m excited to see how the Lord is working in the lives of other writers. It’s great encouragement!



  9. Amber permalink
    Tuesday, May 7, 2013 8:29 am

    I’ve never written fan fiction. I love reading series, and I hate it when a series ends! I’m always left wanting more. I get to know characters and care about them, so I never get bored with their stories. A series I was especially sad to see end was The Four Lindas by Melody Carlson. It’s about 4 childhood friends who are reunited at a high school reunion in their 40’s or 50’s. I read the series with my mom, so it’s really special to me!



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