For years, readers asked me to write about the descendants of my Malcolms and Ives. But I have a bit of a problem writing about the children of my characters because I have a feeling they would be very interfering parents, and romance needs to be about the couple, not their overbearing, all-powerful families.
So I introduced the Unexpected Magic series and the great-grandchildren of the original Malcolms and Ives. Almost a hundred years after that first generation, I have a dozen fascinating families I can create, if I like, but I’m incapable of writing about the same concepts and setting into eternity. I needed to explore new shores and different conflicts. I’ll probably come back with more stories for the grandchildren at some point, but it might not be in England. My Muse likes to travel!
But I truly love the idea behind these stories—people with not-quite-normal abilities, a healer, an empath, a psychic artist or astrologer who have difficulty coping with a disbelieving world and who are often disdained because of their talents. Anyone who feels “different” from the social order can relate. And I love my rational scientists who attempt to explain away irrationality and learn to accept that the world isn’t an orderly place. All romantic relationships need conflict to strengthen them, and this concept gives me a wider palette for my restless Muse.
I have always written in different genres to satisfy my restlessness–and because I believe the lessons of history need to be applied to the problems of today. So I have straight contemporary romances (The Carolina Magnolias ). I’ve written contemporary romantic mysteries (Tales of Love and Mystery ) and straight mystery (Family Genius Mysteries ). I’ve written westerns and Americana (Rogues and Desperadoes , Too Hard to Handle ), and countless English-set historical romances as well as urban fantasy under the Jamie Quaid name. I usually write two different genres a year to keep my Muse happy. Without her, I am helpless.
When I reached book six of Unexpected Magic, my Muse demanded a change of pace. We’d just finished the last of the Family Genius stories, so maybe that’s what set me off. Whatever, my Muse presented me with this truly tempting scene I just had to follow. You can read it on my website https://patriciarice.com/books/sapphire-nights/
C’mon, tell me you can resist finding out what happens after a scene like that?
I had the town in my head already.(Look, I even have a map thanks to Illustrated Author)It’s been building for a while. It may not be totally clear in this first book, but generations of Malcolms have migrated to Hillvale, California at one time or another. I don’t think the Malcolm or Ives names can be carried by every family member after nearly three hundred years. I had difficulty enough in the first hundred finding a rationale for keeping the names. But as the series goes on, you may recognize the abilities my original characters have passed on and how old prejudices can cause problems in today's world. And as I go deeper into the series, the infamous Malcolm journals are showing up. I love it when even I don’t know where the story is going! Sapphire Nights, the first book in the series, will be released 3/27 and is on pre-order now at all major retailers.
How do you feel about series that span generations of families? Do you have any favorites? Anything you really hate about the concept?