Jo here, pulling together a group post.
We had fun creating The Last Chance Christmas Ball. At times it was the sort of fun you get from a camping holiday with unpredictable weather and odd creatures invading the tent.*G*
After all, the Wenches are eight strong minded women living around the world. Even within the US we have east coast and west coast, but add in England, which is five hours ahead of the east coast and eight hours ahead of California. Pat was getting up when Nicola and I were thinking about dinner, and Anne, down in Australia goes to bed round about the times America wakes up! Even in this modern age we often had to wait many hours for the answer to a continuity query.
But we did have fun, and as you'll see, we all love Christmas stories.
I posted about the prologue on Sunday, but if you missed that, you can read it here.
So here are the Wenchly answers to the question: What's it like to create an interwoven anthology?
Joanna: My True Love Hath My Heart.
Read an excerpt here.
I wanted to write Christmas Eve turning into Christmas Day. I wanted that moment of change. I wanted lights. I know it's not the solstice, but for me midnight on Christmas Eve feels like the old is going out and the new is coming in. That was very much the 'feeling' I wanted for my story. It's a 'Second Chance at Love' tale and my hero and heroine have to change. So this felt like the right time and place
Also, decorations. And plum pudding. And holly. All the Right Stuff. I ended up a little surprised I didn't overlap with anybody else. I feel like I grabbed the best date and ran off with it.
Susan: A Scottish Carol
(Jo.Susan shares a picture which is not of the Scottish borders in the snow, but has the right feel.)
Read an excerpt here.
Oh I just adore Christmas, Christmas love stories, winter and snow, Scotland, Scottish Regency settings — so it was a no-brainer for me to wrap those elements into a story when we Wenches began talking about writing another holiday anthology. When Alicia Condon suggested that we interweave our novellas and focus on the same Christmas ball, suddenly we had a lot of details to work out – the central location, the occasion, the hostess and her ties to each of our characters and their past and present circumstances. Jo Beverley created a Wiki page where we shared our details, and as we asked questions and figured out solutions, helping each other, the stories began to work together. The extra effort by all the Wenches as well as our editor and copy editor in making sure all the puzzle pieces fit perfectly was worth it – I think this is a very special Christmas collection!
(Jo. We set the story in Northumberland to make it close enough to the Scottish border for Susan's characters to plan to attend.)
With my story set in Scotland in the midst of a snowstorm that affected more than one of the guests attending Lady Holly's Last Chance Christmas Ball, it didn't seem likely that my characters – Dr. Henry Seton, Laird of Cranshaw, and Clarinda Douglas, Lady Hay, the widowed daughter of Henry's old mentor – could safely arrive at the ball in northern England. So they became stranded in a blizzard, alone and cozy inside Cranshaw Castle — where Clary yearned to go to the grand ball, Henry was secretly relieved to miss it, and both had to face their shared past of first love, heartbreak, and the fear of starting over. With a little help from Dickens and a nod to Scrooge, Tiny Tim and a some other Christmas characters, I loved writing this story – and I hope you all will love reading our latest Wench venture, The Last Chance Christmas Ball!