Here is the problem: I come up with an idea for a new series, propose it, Avon loves it, and I start writing. Of course, the last book in the previous series is well into production, somewhere off doing what books do once they leave the safety of the author’s nest. And then it comes out when I am already into something new, and you all discover some couple in that book, go gaga over them and hound me about writing their book. (Okay, I really don’t mind all that, but come on, I can only write so fast . . .)
So, no, the next book is not about John and Molly. I actually did propose their story, but I also proposed this other series, which Avon went gaga over. But never fear for John and Molly (and if you don’t remember them, you need to finish reading Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress), I will write their story. I think they will be one of my next three books after these three books. (And yes, before you rush off to email me, I will include Nate and Ginger in that series as well.)
So what are “these three books.” Well, as I was writing Love Letters from a Duke and Confessions of a Little Black Gown, I made up a family tree for Captain Thatcher. As I was creating his character, I thought he should have good reasons for running away and changing his name and joining the army. So I gave him a family that would make one weep. A despotic grandfather. Yucky, creepy uncles. A snobby, pretentious aunt (Aunt Geneva). Two older brothers who were no shining examples. Thatcher would end up the duke not just because all the other heirs stuck their fork in wall, but because his leadership and heroics in battle had renewed in him a sense of what had made the Sterlings great in their illustrious past.
And as I was writing, I realized that the three previous heirs, Thatcher’s uncles, Philip and Edward Sterling, and Thatcher’s brother, Archibald Sterling, had all married (as anyone slated to inherit well does.) Of course, for Thatcher to inherit, they all die (heart attack after a life of excess, fell off his horse and broke his neck while drunk, stabbed in a gaming hell, respectively) and leave their not-so-grieving widows behind. Heck, Philip had buried two wives during his life and had just taken his third before his number came up.
Three widows, all with the same title, Lady Standon, with the same rights, and income, and petty jealousies that come with having married the heir who was supposed to be duke and then find themselves in that no man’s land of widowhood. It was a situation ripe for stories: Minerva, Elinor and Lucy, all sitting around, bickering and complaining, running through Thatcher’s money and driving everyone nuts. And to add insult to injury, they despise each other. Enter that matchmaking demon, Felicity Langley. There is nothing Felicity hates more than an unmarried woman who isn’t being matched, and here she has three of them. Light the fireworks.
And to spark it all off, Lucy Ellyson gets her story first. I like Lucy because she is the most unlikely of the three to be Lady Standon and her hero, well, he needs her. Desperately. He needs her heart, her spirit, and her vitality. They loved each other once, long ago, so it is also a reunion story–which I dearly love. I hope you enjoy, How I Met My Countess, when it comes out the last week in December.
I have the cover, which I will share later in the week and more hints about the books. And as always, I’ll share them with you all first. So are we good? No picketing in front of my house because it isn’t John and Molly?