Welcome to the wrap-up of our “Diamonds” celebration! Remember, there are 3, count ’em, 3 chances to win a copy! We’ll pick a winner from each day’s comments…

What was it like to write these connected stories with friends?

Much easier than I thought it would be, LOL! I’m pretty much a ‘pantser’ writer–my stories sometimes tend to change directions when the characters want to go down another pathway (though deadlines have forced me into plotting more than I used to!). In fact, the plot of Charlotte and the Wicked Lord did change once, but early on, before I even really got started. I wasn’t sure how that would work in collaboration. My previous novellas were both in themed anthologies (‘Christmas’ being the theme), with no connection between the stories at all. I didn’t even know who the other authors were until I saw a book cover! This was a much different experience.

But it all did go much smoother than I feared! Maybe because we already knew each other, were familiar with each other’s work, and shared a deep interest in the time period and in family dynamics. We were able to coordinate very easily. And the Fitzmannings felt so “real” to us! That made it lots of fun, too.

Tell us about Charlotte and the Wicked Lord!

Charlotte and the Wicked Lord is the last of the 3 stories, which I think made my job a bit easier than Diane’s or Deb’s! Everyone else was happily married by the time this story rolls around.

Charlotte is the youngest, and sort of the ‘wild child’ of the family (no easy task, that!). She’s a writer, and loves to be free, out in nature with her dogs (Oliver and Octavia, inspired by my own Pug dog, Victoria) and her imagination. But now she’s 18 years old, a bit at loose ends with her sisters married, and realizes she has always been in love with the handsome, charming Drew Bassington, a friend of her brothers. (Drew, as a reader pointed out to me, was not really ‘wicked’–more of a reformed rake!). He’s taken on a new responsibility in his life after the death of his older brother, and is looking for a proper, respectable bride.

‘Proper and respectable’ are two things Charlotte has never been, but she is sure she can show Drew how right they are for each other. If only her family can refrain from their disastrous ‘helping’!

I’ve actually been buried in writing some darker stories lately, so Charlotte and Drew and their antics were a welcome, more humorous change!!!

What was ‘risky’ about this story?

I think the whole anthology was a bit ‘risky’! First, could we pull off such interconnected stories and characters in a seamless way? Could we make it work, make the Fitzmannings seem real? And the wild, scandalous family themselves are a risk! Who could believe their antics? And yet history (especially English history!) is full of families even more eccentric than then Fitzmannings!

What’s next for you?

Oh, gosh, where to start?! In November 2009, watch for The Winter Queen, an Elizabethan tale of dangerous plots and even more dangerous romance in the Christmas of 1564 (which was so cold, the Thames froze through enough for a frost fair!). Also in November, I will have an as-yet-unnamed novella in an as-yet-unnamed Christmas anthology, which has a connection to the Fitzmannings. Drew Bassington’s sister-in-law, Mary, and her old flame Dominic, Viscount Amesby, have to join forces to save her younger sister from making the same mistakes Mary once did! It should be a fun, Sense and Sensibility style holiday story. (I also have a book in the pipeline about the Duke, Nicholas, and Lady Emily, who is not quite the icicle everyone thinks…)

In September, Signet is reissuing two of my old Regencies in a two-for-one volume called Spirited Brides (One Touch of Magic and a Loving Spirit, just in time for Halloween!)

And 2010 is going to be super-busy. My “Muses of Mayfair” Regency trilogy from Harlequin will be making its US debut in April, May, and June! (I am so excited about this). And in February, watch for the debut of my alter-ego Laurel McKee, with Countess of Scandal from Grand Central Publishing.

So, now it’s your turn! Do you like to follow interconnected stories/series? Do you think your own family could star in an anthology?? Any friends you’d like to work with?