We were all on deadline. We had books to write and promote, as well as personal lives. We didn’t have time for this mad, rogue project that had once been rejected and would take a fair bit of work to bring to life. But some ideas just don’t let go. When good ideas happen to can-do women with every resource at their fingertips, things get done.
Once upon time, we, The Lady Authors, (Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe, Miranda Neville and Maya Rodale), were four amiable, can-do women with an idea about a collection of related novellas taking place at a wedding in Regency-era England.
Now we’re the proud authoresses of the romance anthology At The Duke’s Wedding, which has garnered rave reviews and has simultaneously been the #1 Regency romance and #1 historical romance on Amazon.
We began with the idea of Something Dramatic Happening the night before a wedding. But whose wedding? Where was the wedding? And who else was in attendance? The Lady Authors met in an undisclosed location to discuss. Over tea and cookies we schemed and plotted, adding bits of flair to each other’s stories and finding common elements we could all incorporate, including Lady Sophronia and Hippolyta. Caroline describes this amazing couple as, respectively, “a sharp-witted elderly relative and the Regency hot-rod carriage (which is most definitely a character).”
After much uproarious discussion (after tea we turned to wine, BTW, obvs), it turned out it was the Duke of Wessex’s wedding and there was a two-week house party to celebrate. All of our heroes and heroines would be in attendance. Romance would ensue.
“Writing can be a lonely business, with just a laptop blinking that infernal, ever-waiting cursor at you,” Caroline points out. But in a collaborative and creative group, “the answer to a sticky plotting problem is just on the other side of an email,” says Miranda. We exchanged literally thousands of emails, many of them asking questions such as “Is your hero available for a duel on the tenth night?” or “At what point did we move upholstered furniture into the stables?”
“From the get-go we conceived of this project as pure enjoyment,” Katharine says. “That meant we could play.” When we unleashed our giddy enthusiasm for this project, there was no stopping it. And there was no one to tell us “NO.” “No, anthologies don’t sell.” “No, you need a bigger ‘name’ author.” When Katharine decided to write a time-travel story, we all enthusiastically embraced the idea to try something a little bit different (thus flouting conventional wisdom that time-travel stories don’t sell). “It was probably the most sheer fun I’ve ever had writing,” Caroline says. Work should always be this pleasurable.
May you all find a project that you can’t not do and the perfect cohorts to make it happen.
Maya Rodale is the author of multiple historical romance novels, as well as the nonfiction book Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. She has a master’s degree from New York University and lives in Manhattan with her darling dog and a rogue of her own. Her latest book is Seducing the Single Lady, a historical romance based on Beyoncé songs. Learn more atmayarodale.com