Friday, August 5, 2011

Ask Elnora--about continuities???Lenora Worth

It's a continuing saga, darlings. Those pesky but adorable continuities we love to write. Heavens, it took Elnora forever to learn to spell that, let along pronounce it. But now I'm a veteran at writing continuities. Last count, I've been a part of seven now, some for Love Inspired and some for Love Inspired Suspense. So I thought it would be nice to talk about little know facts about continuities.

First, dear readers, a continuity is a series of six books written by six different authors that contain a common plot thread that moves through each book. They usually involve big families (six children, or six cousins, or six friends). And there is usually a mystery or a conflict that starts in book one and continues until book six.

Elnora has written book number one, two book number twos, book number three, book number five, and two book number sixes. Confused yet? That's a little know fact about continuities--we all stay confused. When you get six writers together with six different plots that our dear editors come up with, you get confusion. But I'm happy to say (and I've worked with a lot of different writers) after much hashing and a few hissy fits, we all seem to get along famously! Writing a continuity teaches one to play nice with others. We learn compromise and diplomacy and it is fun to brainstorm. (Odd, word that--brainstorm!!)

But one other thing about continuities--They also drive the readers a bit crazy. Our readers love them, of course. But we get letters of confusion all the time. Sometimes the readers don't understand that the thread is continued in the next book or that there is even going to be a next book. Some get a tad angry and some jump up and down and go and order all six books. I have one friend who buys each book but refuses to read any of them until she has all six. Then she gets into the story and keeps reading until she's finished. She says she likes reading them all together. Right now we have the Rocky Mountain Heirs continuity in Love Inspired. It began in July with Linda Goodnight's "The Nanny's Homecoming". There's your starting point!

So let's discuss--Do you know what a continutiy is? Do you like reading them? Is there something you don't like about them? And would you help us spread the word that there is one LI continuity and one LIS continuity out each year (nice that we have twelve months since that's twelve books) (so far) and I do believe LIH has ventured into continuity territory. We don't want confused readers. We want happy readers. But we don't mind clarifying things for all of you either. You can usually find the books in a series listed in the front of each of the six books.)If you're not sure, just check there. So what do you love about continuities and do you have any favorites???

To be continued......


  1. Yes I do like them. And yes LIH has them but they come in threes. I had number one and three in the LIH series and now have 2 so I can read them.
    I loved the alaskan one last year. I have 3 of this years LIS series. Got your book this week.
    I have a few books of other series but not all of them.
    I do like them but hate the wait.
    I do love the word brainstorm learnt alot about it doing my studies.
    Im wondering why no book 4 yet!!!
    Ok my question do you get to read the other books in the series before they are released. and is it good writing the last book which can tie the others together?

  2. Jenny, great questions. We do sometimes get to scan the other books, depending on timing of each book. Timing and communication are key in keeping up with the details. We read each others proposals and the first few chapters to get a feel and correct mistakes. Our editors also help fix anything that doesn't make sense. Writing the last book can be fun but it is also a challenge. In our "Protecting the Witness" LIS series I had the last book. (Risky Reunion). My hero was involved in all the other books. So I had to keep a close eye on him. The other writers did a great job of making sure he stayed in character. But writing the last book is hard because you do have to bring all the threads together. Elnora's head does spin at times.

  3. Hi Elnora:

    ”To be continued......”

    Now why is that not a surprise? Who are the five authors who are going to continue this post? How long will we have to wait for the next issue? I just hate waiting!

    IMHO, the key element in a six book continuity is having a great location that readers would like to visit in real life and return to year after year. A great location provides a strong attraction in addition to the story itself.

    I enjoyed every one of the Alaskan Bride Rush series. But then, I’d love to visit Alaska and most of these stories took place outdoors! That’s delivering on reader expectations. I was very happy to learn that after reading all six books in the series that LIH is doing a three book prequel to the series. I’ve read one of them so far.

    Like in real estate: location, location, location.


    P.S. I really like it when one of the authors is doing something very different for her. I liked Janet Tronstad’s Alaska book because it was totally different from all her other books. She did great by the way.

  4. You bring up some good points, Vince. We enjoy writing about different locations, too. I'm glad you enjoyed the Alaska series.. That one is on my to- read list! So hint, hint for our lovely editors--Vince wants to see interesting locations.

  5. Hi Lenora:

    If the editors are reading this here are some great locations:

    St. John, Virgin Islands
    Lake Louise, Banff, Canada
    Crested Butte, CO
    Lake Powell, AZ
    Alaska cruise route, inside or outside
    Maui, Hawaii

    These are autobuy locations.


  6. In the Alaskan brides series I loved how the last book pulled it together and also finished the story of a few secondary characters and it was really good.

    Vince I loved the Alaskan Bride rush series but I am in love with Alaska. I have the 3 LIH to read now.

    Can the books be read on there own and still followed?

    on Location anywhere in Hawaii would work. I particularly like Kauai. With Waimea Canyon it would be great for the LIS setting there are so many beautiful places but places for a crime to happen. Or even Vince's idea of the alskan cruise could happen around Hawaii as they have cruises there also. Although I know Barbour did a novella set there.

  7. Hawaii. Now that would be fun. We'd need to do a research trip. Elnora loves tropical flowers. Good suggestions, Jenny and Vince. Jenny,we try to write the romance in each book as a stand along but the continuity thread has to flow from one book to the next.

  8. Thanks for the clarification. I have a couple of books in a few continuities.