Monday, November 19, 2018

A New Story

Over the summer, I started toodling around with a new story. As I said previously on the blog, I was having trouble writing Prudence's story. (JUDGING PRUDENCE) I didn't like her, didn't want to tell her story, so I found someone else to care about.

The new story, new characters are not from The Reluctant Grooms, well, except for Dorcas. Lucy, my latest heroine, is friends with Dorcas Cadoret. (LADY CADORET'S LONGING). However, everyone else is new.

I wanted to write something that was a stand-alone novel. Having so much trouble with Prudence, I wanted to write about someone I liked and Lucy seemed to fit the bill. You see, with my mother's illness, I'm having trouble keeping my mind focused on the series arc of The Ladies of Dunbury. I needed to get out of my own way, yet still wanted to write something, anything, to keep me in the writing groove. And with Lucy, I could write a few thousand words and then leave it for a week or two, depending on the time I had. It was nothing to pick up the story thread and weave it however I wanted to.

It's a sweet little story, filled with some intrigue, but not overly ambitious. I haven't found pictures for the characters, nor have I found a cover (but know what I want), am actually still ambivalent about publishing it at all, but it kept me busy over the summer and for that I am grateful.

Perhaps we'll see it after The Ladies of Dunbury is finished. Perhaps before then. Still not sure. I can't seem to get out of my own way these days. But I wanted to let you know that I am still writing. Something.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

Series Wrapping

You may look at the title of this blog post and wonder, "what the hell is she talking about?" Pretty simple, it's just my way of saying "prequel." Look at all the series books that have been published, and then, bingo, just when you thought you were finished, the author decides to write a "prequel" just so you can fully understand what happens before we meet them. (Star Wars anyone?)

John Quiggins
When I got the idea for LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, I knew she needed a lover. That it was John Quiggins was a no-brainer for me. However, what was MY undoing, was Henry Wade. He came to me from out-of-the-blue and was the perfect foil for Olivia and John's hush-hush affair.

However, once The Reluctant Grooms series ended, Henry became an integral part of my thought process and I wanted to write HIS story, the story of his and Olivia's love affair and why they could never be together. That could only mean one thing...I needed to write a prequel. But I didn't want to write it just any old way, I wanted to incorporate the people I had already written about.

So, I set the timeline at seven years before THE LADY'S MASQUERADE (where The Releuctant Grooms begins), when Henry comes home from the war. In THE DUKE'S DIVORCE we learn Robert has a tendency to drink heavily, shuns the marriage mart, and believes his father's death was his fault. Call me an armchair psychologist, but I had always wanted to tell Robert and Stephen Carlton's story. Henry's book gave me the opportunity to do just that.

Fans have been begging me for YEARS to make Davingdale and Ophelia's novella into a full-length novel. For YEARS I have been unobliging, not because I didn't have the backstory, but because I knew he would show up somewhere else. And he does throughout various books in The Ladies of Dunbury. I believe it's almost as good as writing his own novel. (Truth be told, the main reason I won't write Davingdale's pre-history is I just don't have the time.)

What my plan was, and still is for these two series, is for the reader to be satisfied that all the loose ends are tied up, there are no unanswered questions for the reader, and to show that through time, everyone does indeed have a happily ever after. As a Regency romance novelist, the timeline is crucial. I wanted to have it all wrapped up before Prince George becomes the Regent. Therefore, Henry Wade and his cast had to arrive before that happened.

(Here's a little secret--at the end of The Reluctant Grooms and The Ladies of Dunbury, everyone has had or will have children. Somewhere deep down in my writerly core, there lives another series about those children, set in the Victorian era. Maybe I'll save that for my retirement.)

Anyway, that's why I wrote the series the way I did. And because when Ladies is finished, you can read either series first. The other will follow right behind it, or in front of it, whichever you prefer. They wrap around each other.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2018

Monday, October 22, 2018

What To Do When You Hate Your Main Character

As a reader, we all know what happens when you open a book and hate the main character -- you throw the book across the room and stop reading. But what do you do as a writer?

After Henry Wade made his appearance in The Reluctant Grooms series, and I met his nieces, I thought they were all very lovely, and it would be a breeze to share their stories.

My mother's illness aside, (finding time to write was another thing altogether) I wrote the first three stories (Henry REGRETS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Faith DUNBURY PARK and Hope WHEN HOPE AND PASSION COLLIDE) and follwing the series arc, began formulating the idea for Prudence. I knew from the beginning she would be a hard character to write because -- I didn't like her.

Prudence is a spoiled rotten brat with no compassion or empathy for anyone other than herself. She is cruel and contemptible and even her cousins are afraid of her wicked tongue. Hence the title, JUDGING PRUDENCE. I thought it apt because everyone judged her, including me.

I knew she had to have some redeeming qualities, however, I couldn't see them. She was a mean little witch and just wanted everything her way. Writing her story every day was like pulling teeth. I despised her and just didn't think she deserved a happy ending.

However, as part of Henry Wade's family, how could I do that? As a writer of romance, how could I not let her find her HEA? As a reader, if I left her out of the series, that would mean I would have to rewrite all the other books, and that was not going to happen.

Characters, like people, generally have a secret they try to hide from the world. It may be big or small, but most often, they don't want anyone to know about it. Well, I finally found Prudence's and it's a whopper. It explains why she is the way she is.

Once I realized what she was hiding, the story seemed to improve, the flow seemed much better, the intrigue and plot line worked, and I was a happy little writer once more.

Does Prudence get her Happily Ever After? I'm not sure. I'm not finished writing yet, but what I do know is that she will have to change her ways if she wants to get what she deserves. And this will be the fun part of writing her story -- her comeuppance.

I'm hoping to have the story finished by Thanksgiving, but I said that last year too. Let's hope things work out a little bit better this time around.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2018

Monday, October 8, 2018

Why I've Been Away For So Long

It's been such a long time since I've been here, I'm sure there's no one left to read this blog. However, I feel that I owe you an explanation. It's not an easy one.

My mother has Alzheimers.

It runs in our family, my grandfather had it. My mother's sister was diagnosed in the 90's with it. (Although, there's more to her diagnosis than was previously thought.) I began to notice the early signs in my mother about eight years ago when we were on vacation in Rhode Island. I tried to talk to my brothers about it, but they were both in denial. As well as my father.

Cut to three years ago when things really started to go south. I begged her to get diagnosed--perhaps we could get some medication to help. Nope. She denied the signs. So did my father.

Finally, after much urging, (a car accident, almost a fire in the house on Thanksgiving, and a flood in the basement) did my father say "Yes, we need a diagnosis." My mother hated me for it.

After another year, after much pleading, begging, and arguing, did my father realize we needed more help than I alone could give her. Up until then I was her primary caregiver.

The help didn't work out the way I intended it -- to give me more free time to continue my writing--and in the end, my father finally relented and hired a full time caregiver. She's not working out the way I intended either, however, she's there with my mother for most of the day, which has FINALLY left me time to get back to work.

There's so much more to this story than I'm willing to share on the blog -- perhaps someday -- but for those of you who are living with or working with or know someone with this dreaded disease, you will understand. Not only does it destroy them, it destroys everyone who loves them.

However, for the purposes of this blog, I just wanted to let you know why I've been away for so long. But I'm back now and hopefully, will continue on this blog until the remainder of the The Ladies of Dunbury series is finished. (Five more books.)

I will try and post every other week on Monday. I hope to see you around. Or at least measure a click on my analytics. I'll also be around on Twitter. You can watch the word count as I post it. @gallagher_anne

Anne Gallagher (c) 2018