Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Joys And Challenges Of Participating In A Continuity

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  My new book, A Baby Between Them, just hit the shelves this week.  I’m very excited about this story - I fell in love with the characters and it turned into a highly emotional storyline for me.  It was also a challenge to write in a number of ways. 

For one thing, it was my first time to take part in a continuity.  For those of you who don’t know, a continuity is a set of connected stories whose concept has been developed by the editors rather than writers.  Basically they come up with the connecting threads and the general storyline for each book in the series and then invite various authors in to actually develop their two page treatment into a full blown story.

 As I said this was my first time to be involved in a continuity and I was very excited to get the invitation to participate in The Irish Brides project.  Not only had I always wanted to try my hand at a project like this, but the other two authors who were participating - Renee Ryan and Cheryl St.John - are fabulous writers and friends of mine.

It turned out that my assigned book was to be the third and final book of this set, which I thought was kind of neat.  Being last meant nobody had to wait on me and it also meant I could fudge on my timeline a little bit if I needed the story to go just a tad longer than the one month in the specs and it wouldn’t throw anyone else’s story off.  It also meant I was the one to wrap up all the continuity story threads which was something of a challenge but in a fun kind of way.   Cheryl, Renee and I worked closely to make certain the things they set up in their books could be logically wrapped up in mine, and vice versa - that the way I wrapped things up could be foreshadowed to some extent in theirs.

Another challenge about writing a continuity that I hadn’t anticipated is the fact that both the time period and location would be something I was totally unfamiliar with.  I’m used to writing about East Texas in the 1890s.  These books were set in Ireland and the Boston area in 1850 - this required major research on my part.  I do enjoy research but in this case I had no opportunity to actually visit the location, which I normally like to do, so I had to rely on online resources to get a feel for the location.  Hopefully I succeeded in getting a good feel for the area.


Here's a short blurb for the book:

For two months, Nora Murphy has cared for the abandoned infant she found on their Boston-bound ship.  Settled now in Faith Glen, Nora tells herself she’s happy.  She has little Grace, and a good job as housekeeper to Sheriff Cameron Long.  She doesn’t need anything more - not the big family she always wanted, or Cam’s love...

A traumatic childhood closed Cam off to any dreams of family life.  Yet somehow his lovely housekeeper and her child have opened his heart again.  When the unthinkable occurs, it will take all their faith to reach a new future together.

So tell me, how do you as a reader feel about continuities and connected stories in general?  Any pros or cons you’d care to share with us?

9 comments:

Rhonda Gibson said...

Hi Winnie! I've been waiting for your book to come out. I can't wait to read it.

I love continuity stories.

What I don't enjoy about them is having to wait for the next book... but knowing this I read them anyway! LOL

Winnie Griggs said...

Rhonda - I know what you mean about hating to wait!! But at least with continuities, unlike single author series, the books are released back-to-back in consecutive months, so the wait isn't TOO long

Debby Giusti said...

Winnie, the continuity sounds great! I know your book will wrap everything up in perfect style!

I have heard readers say they buy all the books in a series but wait to read them until the last one is in their hands. Actually, I always think of the continuity series as strong books that can stand on their own. Usually there's a short bring-you-up-to-date segment in the beginning of each story that lets the reader know what has happened prior. The end of each particular book is satisfying even if the overall conflict isn't completely resolved until the last book. But that's just my humble opinion. :)

Winnie Griggs said...

Janet, you are absolutely correct. The books in the series are deliberately structured to be able to stand alone so if for some reason a reader doesn't have access to the entire series they won't feel cheated.

But of course reading all of them allows for a deeper experience as the reader gets to experience the entire arc of the series

Winnie Griggs said...

Ack! Sorry Debby for calling you by the wrong name - I'd just gotten off the phone with my friend Janet and had a brain freeze moment! Mea culpa!!

Lyn Cote said...

Winnie, I am continuity free. Love your cover!

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks Lyn! The art department at LIH really outdid themselves with this entire series

PamelaTracy said...

I like to read them, and usually wait until I have all three :)

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Pam! I kow a lot of readers who do that - they like to be able to read them back to back.