Risky Regencies

Silk & Scandal Part II!


Keeping characters straight through a number of books is hard. But in the end, each story must stand on its own, its hero and heroine bound together by a unique, sigh-worthy, compelling love. Always, there are aspects of personality that make the trail to that happy ending more difficult. For each story, let’s find out which traits advanced and which complicated that journey.

Strengths and flaws of your hero and heroine:

From Louise Allen:

My two heroes are brothers – Marcus (Book 1) and Hal Carlow (Book 7)– and they appear, on the surface, to be very different. Marcus is serious and responsible and very conscious of his duty to the family whereas Hal is a complete rakehell and only serious about his duty as an army officer. But get them together and they both reveal hidden sides to their characters. Marcus is actually as physically courageous and reckless as Hal, whereas Hal, at the first sign of a threat, is as protective of his family as his elder brother.

I did fall for Marcus’s almost constant frown – a deep groove between his brows. His family is enough to make any man frown, and it takes a while for Nell Latham to see that deep groove as a symbol of his caring and not bad temper. As for Hal, I love the fact that under his appearance of hard-bitten soldier and heartless rake he is actually putty in the hands of small children.

Nell Latham, the heroine of the first book, appears supremely competent and has managed to support herself by her skill as a milliner in a very hard world. But I was amused to discover her areas of incompetence – especially her almost lethal approach to firearms.

As for Julia Tresilian, Hal’s heroine, my favourite thing about her is the rebellion that is hidden beneath the well-behaved façade. Julia is all that is dutiful – which is probably why, when she decides to behave completely outrageously, her poor mama hasn’t got a clue what is going on until it is too late to do anything about it.

As for flaws, Marcus has to learn to go with his instincts and his heart and to discover that sometimes trust is more important than doing what is apparently the right thing. Hal has to stop believing in his own image and discover that under the rake who lives for fighting and for pleasure without commitment there is actually a serious and sensitive man who wants to love and be faithful.

Nell’s great flaw – although she would never admit it – is pride. She’ll starve in her garret rather than accept help from a man she sees as an enemy and when her hand is forced she will be reckless rather than ask for help.

Julia suffers from a lack of self-confidence. She believes that she must compromise over marriage and accept any man who will have her. Fortunately Hal manages – unwittingly? – to sabotage every dull and eligible suitor’s courtship. Even then, it takes a lot before she can believe she is loved.

From Christine Merrill:

I just finished reading Louise Allen’s The Lord and the Wayward Lady, and was pleasantly surprised to find my heroine Diana Price ice skating in it. But I could totally believe that she would. Diana is a practical girl who, when she shows up in my book, is given to healthy exercise and walking in the park. She is moderation in all things, until she meets Nathan Wardale.

Nathan’s best quality is probably his steadfast nature. He can survive just about anything that life throws at him in the way of physical hardship, and come away stronger for it. There isn’t really anything that can scare him. The only weakness he has left is for Diana Price.

Considering what happens in the rest of the books, Stephano Beshaley can be a bit hard to love. But when not being an avatar of vengeance, he’s a jewel merchant with a safe full of precious stones and is looking for the right girl to wear them.

My favorite thing about Verity Carlow is probably her sense of adventure. By the time we get to book eight, she’s been sheltered from the action of the whole series. But I kidnap her (twice) and take her to a Gypsy camp and a brothel. I’d hesitate to say she enjoys it, but she proves very resilient.

From Julia Justiss:

For my heroine Lady Honoria, it’s her gritty resilience. With the ruin of her reputation, she’s lost everything a well-bred virgin considered important: her position as the most courted Diamond of the Ton, the admiration and envy of women and the adulation of men, the certainty of making a brilliant marriage that will maintain her position in society. Rather than shut herself away, railing against the unfairness of fate, she takes a hard look at who she is and who she can be, despite her loss of status. She begins to appreciate the considerable resources that remain to her and what she can do with them for the people around her.

Gabe Hawksworth, hellion black sheep and despair of his very proper family, has racketed around life, finding satisfaction only in his army service. Becoming temporary captain of a smuggling vessel for the army friend who saved his life is just the latest in his adventures. Initially, he is only intrigued by–and hopeful of seducing–the mysterious young lady who appears in Cornwall. But as he comes to know her, indignation over the outrage perpetrated against her and determination to right the wrong show him the path to a future he could never have envisioned.

For flaws, Honoria has to learn to control the impulsive recklessness that permitted an unscrupulous person to ruin her and figure out how to channel her courage and determination to a higher cause. Gabe has to realize that pledging yourself to one special person is more liberating than adventuring through life without ties or family.

From Gayle Wilson:

I have a history of creating very flawed characters, but Rhys Morgan and Nadya Argentari are, perhaps, exceptions to that rule. Rhys suffers from physical injuries sustained during the Peninsula Campaign, but seems undamaged emotionally by the brutality he witnessed there. His burning desire is to extend his service to his country, a hope that precipitates the journey on which he encounters the beautiful Romany healer. Nadya is a practical and rational woman, a valued member of her family group, secure in her role there and very happy with her life. Their physical attraction takes them by surprise, and both acknowledge the impossibility of any relationship between them. Rhys’s desire to protect Nadya from an unknown enemy, however, forces them into an ever-closer intimacy. The flaw that leads to the climax of the novel is not found in these characters, but rather in the prejudices of the societies in which they live, prejudices they must overcome to find a lasting happiness.

From Annie Burrows:

I got a real buzz when my editor admitted she was just a little bit in love with Monty. And Louise Allen’s comment, after reading my story (which she got in a special offer bundle from Mills & Boon) that she thought Midge was an original absolutely made my day.

Greatest flaws – ok, both my main characters have plenty. Midge has no confidence in herself as a woman. In fact, because of her mother’s obsession with her sons, she finds it hard to believe in her worth as a person at all.

And as for Monty – well, his own childhood was not much better than Midge’s. He has experienced deep hurts and rejections, which have left him determined never to appear as though he needs anyone. Least of all a woman.

So neither is quite sure what to make of it when they can’t keep their hands off each other. It would not take much for them to make a complete hash of their relationship.

Which is just the point where Stephano steps in…

From Margaret McPhee:

Thief-taker Will Wolversley, or Wolf, as he is known, is definitely a man I would fall for, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for bad boys and outsiders.

What I like best about Wolf is that as mean, moody and dangerous as he is to the world at large, when it comes to the woman he loves it’s a completely different story.

As for my heroine, lady’s companion Miss Rosalind Meadowfield, what I like about her is her warm heart, her gentleness and, most of all, her ability to see through Wolf’s tough exterior.

Their greatest flaws? Wolf’s prejudice against the aristocracy, the gentry and women like Rosalind Meadowfield.

And Rosalind’s determination to run away from the sensual attraction that exists between her and the big bad thief-taker.

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annie burrows
12 years ago

As we wrote the stories, we sometimes had to “borrow” each others heroes and heroines for scenes in our own books. To that end, some of us posted pictures in our Yahoo group of how we picture them.
I absolutely adored Hal from Louise’s description of him, even before she found a picture she felt did him justice, and had to have him attend the wedding of my couple, in one of his extremely well tailored uniforms.
But when Margaret told us fellow continuistas that she pictured Wolf a bit like Sean Bean playing Sharpe…ooh.
So now of course I can’t wait to see him striding across the pages of her book, being all moody and macho.


12 years ago

I enjoyed getting to know these characters a bit. Julia Tresilian & Will Wolversley are my favorites I think, and I’m interested to find out more about them.

12 years ago

How very interesting to represent different voices, literally, as different voices. As an ADD sufferer, can’t imagine how one would manage to stay on story without delving into all the possible tempting tangents… I’d still be in brainstorming mode.

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

I find this whole process fascinating! And I love the interweaving of the stories. Not to mention the fact that these are some of my favorite authors ever!

What was the toughest part of keeping the continuity together?

12 years ago

Do you know what the release date is for each book? I am just preparing my anticipation.

Louise Allen
Louise Allen
12 years ago

Toughest, Louisa? For me the worry about getting other people’s characters right when they were appearing in my books – especially when they went on to be heroes and heroines in their own right.
The actual continuity issues of who was where, when and what they looked like was covered by us keeping huge files. But it was hard to keep tabs on who knew what as the mystery unfolded

Julia Justiss
Julia Justiss
12 years ago

Louisa, I’d second Louise in saying that keeping the development toward the solving of the 20-year-old murder consistent, with each book advancing the quest but not giving away too much before handing over to the next story, was the hardest part. We were pretty faithful about posting personality details of any scenes we wrote that involved “shared” characters so we wouldn’t have Marc smoking a cheroot in Louise’s book and using a pipe in mine. The wonderfully detailed story line and family trees that Louise made for us and the continuously-accumulating “bible” of information on each character that Annie compiled every week kept us pretty well on track for the basic story and characters’ traits and appearances.

As for release dates, Kat, Louise’s Book 1, The Lord and the Wayward Lady, is a June release, so on sale now. Christine Merrill’s Paying the Virgin’s Price comes out in July. My Smuggler and the Society Bride is in August, followed by Gayle Wilson’s Claiming the Forbidden Bride in September. Annie Burrows has The Viscount and the Virgin in October, Margaret McPhee’s Unlacing the Innocent Miss comes out in November, Louise’s The Officer and the Proper Lady is in December and then Christine finishes it all out with Taken By the Wicked Rake in January 2011.

For news about the releases (and all the covers we currently have) you can check my website, http://www.juliajustiss.com; there’s a special link from my Bookshelf page just for Regency Silk & Scandal. There are links from that page to the other authors’ websites; Annie and Louise both have sections on their websites dealing with the continuity. Plus we have an on-going author blog at the eharlequin community site that offers research tidbits, background on characters and settings, etc, that will run the length of the series; check for it at http://community.eharlequin.com/content/regency-silk-and-scandal. I hope you’ll stop by and join in the discussion!

12 years ago

I’m desperate to read them all now, after these fascinating glimpses into creating the stories.

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