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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chatting with AC Arthur, Farrah Rochon and Phyllis Bourne: The Wintersage Weddings series

Farrah Rochon
 Three of the hottest names in romance have teamed up to bring readers a three book series about best friends and weddings. Farrah Rochon, AC Arthur, Phyllis Bourne will be heating up the fall and winter with the Wintersage Wedding series focusing on the Silk Sisters.

And while I'd like to think that these three powerhouse writers sat around in Starbucks with their MacBooks drinking coffee and writing — they gave me the real deal on putting this series together.

AC Arthur
Phyllis Bourne
How did you all come up with the Silk Sisters idea? 

AC: Actually, WE didn't. LOL The Wintersage Weddings is what Kimani Romance calls a continuity series. This means that Kimani comes up with the theme and the majority of the storyline -- even though the authors usually end up making changes once they start writing. 

Farrah: The Silk Sisters were actually developed as a continuity series by Harlequin. We each received an extensive "writer's bible" to follow, which contained detailed information about all three stories. 

Phyllis: It was an assignment. My editor asked if I’d like to participate in a three-book continuity set in New England. As a former resident of New Hampshire, I immediately said yes.

 Talk about the writing process. Did you get to read each other's stories before writing your own?

AC: For me, because the basic concept was not my own, it's always hard to get started writing a continuity series. I had to read the bible (this is the document that give the authors all the information about each book, each character, etc.) like twenty times before some ideas for how to write the story began formulating in my mind. Farrah, Phyllis and I shared detail changes that we each had for our characters and how we would tell their story. We talked about things like setting (we sent each other pictures of what we thought would be in the town), character clothing and even sometimes their conversations. We worked pretty closely together to make sure we were being consistent throughout, but we did not have time to read each other's books. :(

Farrah: No, unfortunately, we did not. All three stories were due back to the publisher pretty close to one another. We communicated a lot through email to make sure we were all on the same page. 

Phyllis: Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to read each other’s books. Although, Farrah’s is third in the series, her book was actually due before mine.

Eve of Passion is at the top of my to-be-read list, and I’ve pre-ordered A Mistletoe Affair. I’m dying to read both of them!

When the idea for the continuation came up, how did you three feel about working with one another?

AC: This is the second continuity series I've participated in with Farrah so I was pleased to be working with her again. It was my first time with Phyllis but I'd already known she was a great storyteller, so I wasn't worried. What I think I liked most about working with these ladies is that they were very professional and very honest. We laughed and commiserated together and I think we had a really good time, in spite of... (inside joke that we'll keep to ourselves, lol)

Farrah: That wasn't really our choice. The Harlequin editors chose which authors they wanted to include in the continuity. Personally, I was thrilled to work with AC again (we did The Draysons: Sprinkled with Love continuity) and with Phyllis, who I talk to every day, but haven't worked with since The Holiday Inn anthology many years ago. 

Phyllis: I didn’t know who the other authors would be until almost a year after I was contracted to participate. I was delighted when I found out. I’m a huge fan of both AC and Farrah.  

Farrah’s also a good friend, who I met while working on THE HOLIDAY INN anthology in 2007.

What is the best part about doing series like this for you ladies?

AC: I'd have to say meeting and working with like-minded authors. It was comforting to know that we could whine and moan for hours on end, but then we'd all go to our computers and write the damned story! I really enjoyed that.

Farrah: Getting a feel for how other authors work is always interesting. I read through the story bible and usually come away with a certain idea of how the other authors books will come out, but it isn't always the case. I find it fascinating to see their take on the characters. Hopefully, we will all be introduced to new readers, as well. 

Phyllis: Both AC and Farrah are continuity series veterans, but this was my first one. I enjoyed being able to take someone else’s vision and give it my personal twist. By the time I finished writing FALLING INTO FOREVER, Sandra and Isaiah were as familiar to me as the characters I’ve created.

Tell the readers what each story is about.

AC: Eve of Passion is about Janelle Howerton, a very ambitious heroine who because of a bad experience years ago has worked really hard to appease her father and protect her friends. So when Janelle is asked by her father to get the political backing from billionaire Ballard Dubois, she only hesitates slightly about doing so. As it turns out Ballard has other ideas in mind when it comes to Janelle and her father's campaign as he's under pressure from his own family to marry well and start a family. Two headstrong adults come together under unlikely circumstances and actually end up striking a business deal, but that deal soon becomes very personal.

Farrah: My story, A MISTLETOE AFFAIR, is the third story in the Wintersage Weddings continuity. It follows the third member of the Silk Sisters, shy and reserved florist, Vicki Ahlfors. Vicki's unrequited love for her best friend Sandra's older brother, Jordan Wollcott, comes to a head in A MISTLETOE AFFAIR. Of course, the best way to learn about the story is through the back cover blurb. 

From A MISTLETOE AFFAIR, Kimani Romance, December 2014:

Floral designer Vicki Ahlfors is a shy, hopeless romantic. The dutiful daughter of a banking dynasty, she has always done what was expected of her—until she falls for her best friend's divorced brother. 

Attorney turned political strategist Jordan Woolcott has always defined himself by his work. Now at a crossroads, Jordan's not sure who he is, other than a dad to his young son, Mason. It's a rewarding job, but being a single father is so much harder than he'd ever imagined. 

Vicki has a magical touch when it comes to Mason, and her heart goes out to the overwhelmed Jordan. As feelings grow tender, will an explosive political scandal end their dream of forever before it even begins?

Phyllis: I wrote the second book of the Wintersage Weddings series.

In FALLING INTO FOREVER Sandra’s and Isaiah’s parents are overbearing, embarrassing and hilariously obnoxious. They’re also loyal, loving and filled with high expectations for their offspring.

While the book is foremost a sexy Thanksgiving romance, at heart it’s a story about us as children—from toddlers to gray-haired adults with kids and grandkids of our own. We never lose our desire to make our parents proud.

What's next for the three of you?
AC: I'm releasing the next installment in my erotic romance trilogy, The Carrington Chronicles. The book is titled Needing You and it will be available in ebook on October 7, 2014.  

Farrah: I have a number of projects in the works this Fall/Winter season, including new stories in two of my small town romance series. 
Here's a quick and dirty rundown of my upcoming novels and novellas:

September 2014 

Book Four in the “Moments in Maplesville” Series
October 2014

Book Three in the Wintersage Weddings Trilogy
December 2014

Book Five in the Bayou Dreams Series
February 2015

Phyllis: Next up for me is the second book of my Espresso Empire series for Harlequin Kimani. MOONLIGHT KISSES is a May 2015 release. 


Marie Long said...

This was such a great interview! Thanks for sharing the inside scoop on the Harlequin continuity series with multi-authors! That's really cool how the three of you work together to make the storyline work. I'm excited to check out the series!

Kimberlee Stevenson said...

Really great interview. Enjoyed the introductions to each book in the series. I've read AC Arthur's book already. Time to read the other two!