Who remembers the Man from Del Monte adverts? :) “The man from Del Monte, he says YES!” Well that’s what the mood has been like around here these past couple of days. “The editor from Spice, she says YES!” :o) Anyone too young to know what I am on about can see evidence here.
Ahem, as I’ve mentioned here and on Twitter, my second Harlequin Spice title will be THE HARLOT: a tale of lust, revenge, and forbidden magic, set in mid 18th-century Scotland. It’s scheduled for release in June 2011, and I’m thrilled to bits to be writing this story for publication!
The story is loosely linked to the back-story of RAMPANT, my first Spice title, due to hit shelves in April 2010. For background, RAMPANT is a contemporary paranormal set in the Kingdom of Fife on the east coast of Scotland. This is an area we know and love, and it was while we were staying at an old fishermen’s cottage on the coast that the inspiration for RAMPANT came to me. (If you'd like to read a little more about RAMPANT you can do so here, on my website.) The story draws on the folklore surrounding witches and ghosts in the area. The back-story for RAMPANT is set in the early 1700’s with around 15% of the MS told as flashbacks/visions into that period, a time when suspected witches were persecuted and condemned. THE HARLOT will be set completely in that historical world.
THE HARLOT was one of several ideas discussed with my editor. She absolutely loved this one, and so do I, which led to much celebration and relief. :) It’s the first time I’ve been in this position – i.e. a two-book deal with an unnamed second book. It’s been a real learning process working with the editor to find the best second book for the line, and I'm not going to pretend it was easy. I felt heaps more pressure than I did when submitting un-contracted proposals to an editor. The expectations were high, and I wanted to step up the mark. (That’s why things have been a bit quiet around here these past couple of weeks!)
After working through the ideas with my editor and my agent, I now see what the editor was attracted to in my voice and my ideas, and what she wants me to focus on for the line (and that will be really helpful if I get the chance to present more work in the future - which of course is a very big *IF*, in this business...) In a nutshell, soft paranormal erotica.
By soft paranormal we mean that the paranormal elements are not blatant. In both of my Spice books there is witchcraft, but it is secret, hidden, and in the case of the second book – forbidden. On the surface, the character's lives appear normal to their time and setting. This is the way I approached the magic and the world building in both my Juno titles, and in my Red Sage novella, WHAT YOU WISH FOR. You’ll find no machete wielding vampire slayers here, sorry UF lovers. ;)
It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to develop that approach with Spice. For me, these two novels feel like a coming together of all the different things that I dreamed of writing when I started out: stories with elements of erotica, romance, adventure, paranormal, fantasy, history and folklore. Yes, I am pinching myself. It hasn’t quite sunk in.
Now that it’s confirmed, what does my schedule look like? I won’t be starting the actual writing on THE HARLOT just yet. I’m expecting revisions and edits for RAMPANT at some point soon, and I have a contemporary erotic novel in the works, INESCAPABLE. I’ll be finishing that title and several short stories first. I’ll likely be doing my research and making notes for THE HARLOT all the time, because that’s how things work for me. I picture my writing mind like a stovetop with one pan boiling vigorously at the front, while several others simmer away on the other burners. I plan to begin the actual writing on the 1st of August and I’m looking forward to it immensely. I’ll post more about the plot another time. THE HARLOT will be bawdy, blatant, and bursting with passion! I can’t wait to get stuck in!