Someone recently asked me how I could write continuities. These are books - like my book that's out today Colton's Christmas Cop - where the publisher creates a story bible and assigns each book to an author. For Harlequin Romantic Suspense, these are usually 12 book series. I've been book 1 and all the ones in between, but never book 12. Colton's Christmas Cop was book 11. (I'll be book 12 for the next Colton's continuity series, which will be out in 2019.)
While it's true that for a continuity book, the plot and most of the turning points, as well as the resolution, are already outlined by the publisher in the story bible. So are the characters, from the hero and heroine to all the others. However, for me the fun part comes in delving deep into the back story of the hero and the heroine. Harlequin gives us free range with this and, since I always begin my writing of any book with the characters, having this liberty to create the inner people makes the story come alive for me.
Some authors do complicated charts on their characters. I've done this in the past, but I'm more of a free-style writer rather than a systematic one, so I don't make charts. I do write down backstory. Parents info, where grew up, dreams and goals, heartaches and setbacks. The rest of the information is revealed as I write, by the character. What kind of music they like, favorite beer, outgoing or introverted, they tend to let me know this as I write the story.
Even the plot - which is already pretty much set up - has room for tweaking. Motivation is a big one, as I love to set up WHY something happens rather than just have it happen. And there's always room for more conflict, if needed. I've found with the Harlequin continuities there is plenty of conflict and suspense. I just add in extra romance, which is always fun.
That said, each story can also be read as a stand-alone romance. Most people do tend to buy all the stories in the series, because there is always an continued suspense element that isn't wrapped up until the end. Lots of fun!
Truly, I love Colton's books. Not only do they sell well, but the readers love them, and they help introduce me to a new group of readers. The artwork for the covers is always fabulous too - check out the cover of Colton's Christmas Cop. This is one of my all-time favorite covers. And, it's on sale NOW!
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