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Guest blogger: Anne Gracie

29 August 2021

Starting a new series

I’ve just had a new book come out—The Scoundrel’s Daughter—and it’s the first book of a new series. It always takes a while for me to dream up a new series. It usually starts with a character with a problem and then things—endless questions, settings, background life-stories and tropes—slowly start to coalesce and a plot begins to emerge.

I’m not a plan-everything-in-advance kind of writer, and this can cause some problems with some readers, because I’m an ‘organic writer’ and, especially with the start of a series, it can take a bit of time before I get to the actual romance.

It happened with The Autumn Bride and Marry in Haste—both of which launched a series, and each took a while to get to the actual romance. The Autumn Bride started with four girls in desperate straits—they were too busy trying to survive to worry about finding husbands, and they weren’t in places where likely husbands lurked. In Marry in Haste the hero had a job to do, and no desire to marry. He had to be driven to finally offer my heroine a marriage of convenience. And then she had to be convinced to accept. So sometimes it takes time for romance to come to the table.

The Scoundrel’s Daughter is about a youngish (38) widow who is forced to bring a blackmailer’s daughter out into society—he wants his daughter to marry a lord. But the girl doesn’t want to marry a lord—she’s had prior experience of lords and despises them as a type. So neither of my heroines is looking for love or marriage. And because the two stories were interdependent, it became clear that this book had to have two romances.

It was quite fun interweaving the two romances—both very different—in the one book. The older heroine has the main romance, but the younger one has her time in the sun—at least I hope readers think so. But while our younger hero appears on the first page, it takes some time before James, our main hero, appears—and oh, readers, I hope you love him as much as I do.

I fell in love with James myself when he was reunited with his three motherless young daughters—he’s been away at war for the last four years while they’ve been in England with their grandparents. The youngest is just four, and he’s never seen her. I posted a snippet on my blog, because it’s too long for this post.

So if you want insta-lust and lots of bonking, this book is not for you: both these women are—for different reasons—very reluctant brides, and each has to be convinced by their hero to fall in love. Which takes time.

And here’s my question: Do you mind a slow start to a romance, or do you prefer getting straight to the ‘meaty bits’? <g>

You can find Anne here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Scoundrel’s Daughter

Alice, Lady Charlton, newly-widowed and eager to embrace a life free of her domineering husband is devastated when a scoundrel appears, brandishing letters that could ruin her. To prevent their publication he wants Alice to find a noble husband—a lord!—for his daughter, Lucy.

Alice is forced to agree to his blackmail but when Lucy arrives, she has absolutely no interest in her father’s scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she’s having none of that!

Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse lady and sets out to teach her about love. Meanwhile, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks each time they meet.

To combat the dastardly plot, Alice and Lucy must learn to trust each other. But can Alice put the past behind her and open her heart to love?

  1. Janet Murdoch permalink
    30 August 2021 8:32 am

    I prefer the slow buildup. That’s my favourite part of most romances – for me the anticipation is everything! If the heroine is older, whether her marriage was good or bad, I think she would be more cautious than the 18 year old who knows nothing when it comes to marriage. It could be brutal for some women, never mind the fact your money is now theirs!
    So excited this is the start of a series as I have loved all yours!

    • AnneGracie permalink
      30 August 2021 12:56 pm

      Thanks so much, Janet. Yes in this case the slower build-up is necessary. And I do love the sense of anticipation that builds in some novels, the will they-won’t they? And thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  2. 29 August 2021 12:59 pm

    Hi Anne

    I am more than happy with a slow romance as long as I feel connected to the characters I am happy and I have to say I loved this boo, two beautiful romances with heroes and heroines that you can’t help loving and as for the three daughters they are treasures especially Debo.

    Huge congrats on the new series 🙂

    Have Fun


    • AnneGracie permalink
      29 August 2021 1:07 pm

      Thanks so much, Helen. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my book. Thank you so MUCH for all you do for aussie romance writers, reading and reviewing our books. You are very generous and wonderful and a Real Life Heroine!

  3. Tricia permalink
    29 August 2021 12:26 pm

    I’m not a fan of ‘ love at first sight” and for ladies in the era you write about; lust at first sight was not worth the risk. I prefer it when I get to see the romance building in a way that is believable knowing some of the background and motivation of the characters.
    So many books lately, the sex scenes seem interchangeable. The author throws it in because it’s expected and sometimes phrases and actions are almost identical from one book to the next. One author I read has got a nose fetish because every single hero runs his nose/finger/ lips along the heroine’s nose. My sister and I have started using a highlighter on the nose action before we share the book because it has become a joke.

    • AnneGracie permalink
      29 August 2021 12:36 pm

      LOL Tricia — I remember dinner with another romance author who was saying, “But how do you make it different?” It’s an issue, I know. For me the key is to concentrate on the thoughts and reactions of the participants, not just the body parts.

      And your comment about “for ladies in the era you write about; lust at first sight was not worth the risk” is exactly why I am reluctant to toss my heroines into bed at the first stroke of lust. The possible consequences back then were pretty awful for women. Of course it still happened — we don’t always think when we fall in love. 😉 In fact the heroine of my next book is the consequence of that situation.

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