Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Anne McAllister | No Such Thing As A Loose End

March 6, 2008

Thanks so much, Fresh Fiction, for inviting me to come and blog with you today. I love reading all the various blogs and getting to know writers (and thus adding to my TBR pile) in the process.

I’ve been writing romance fiction since the mid 80s and am currently working on my 61st book. For quite a few years I would amuse myself on long car trips by seeing if I could name the books and the heroes and heroines in order. Then I started seeing if I could name them in any order. Now I just write the books and think fond thoughts about all those lovely men in my past.

Sometimes, though, there’s one who doesn’t get his happy ending in one of my books and he turns up, rather like a bad penny, demanding one of his own.

That was what happened with Flynn. Six years ago Silhouette published a single title of mine called The Great Montana Cowboy Auction. It was part of a series of books I’d been doing for them since the mid-90s called Code of the West. TGMCA ran to 97,000 words, which should have been long enough to give everyone in Montana a happy ending.

But sadly, the heroine’s daughter, Sara, who had a brief life-shattering fling with a footloose Irish journalist called Flynn Murray, got pregnant in the book. But she didn’t get her happy ending. She came back in a later book and we knew she was doing fine as a single mom, but there was no Flynn in her life. Nor was there anyone else.

I went back to writing Harlequin Presents and wasn’t writing Code of the West books anymore (it’s what happens when you write as slowly as I do — they make you pick a place to be since you’ll be spreading yourself to thin if you’re both places. That’s the theory anyway). So I wasn’t doing those books anymore.

Try telling that to Sara and Flynn.

They wouldn’t let up. They kept coming around asking when was it going to be their turn. I said, figure out how you can be a Presents, and you can have a turn.

They’re nothing if not resourceful. They did. Flynn managed to stop being quite so footloose, got himself saddled with a 500 year old castle that is crumbling around his ears, and an earldom which he really doesn’t want any part of, but is obligated to shoulder because, well, he is the earl. Sara, of course, knows nothing of this. She hasn’t heard from him in six years.

And then one day, Flynn got a letter out of the blue. . .

That was basically the way they told the story to me. I told it to my editor. Said, “Sound like a Presents to you?” She said, “Give a shot.” Of course I had to. I owed it to them. They were quite right — they deserved more than to be a ‘loose end’ in someone else’s book.

I’m delighted to have written it because it took me back to my roots. And I got to revisit places and characters I didn’t realize how much I’d missed.

That’s one of the really lovely things about writing so many books — especially linked books — there is a whole other universe out there with these people in it that I can dip into now and again, stop back in and check on. It’s like getting Christmas cards from them — only better. Every once in a while they invite me back into their lives and let me share them with you.

And if you haven’t read The Great Montana Cowboy Auction and are thus worried that you won’t have a clue about the people in One-Night Love Child, let me assure you that I can barely remember what I wrote yesterday, so every book absolutely has to stand on its own!

How do you feel about linked books? What are some of your favorites? I never mind adding more books to my TBR pile, so suggestions for great reads, especially linked reads, are very welcome!

One-Night Love Child is a March 2008 Harlequin Presents and an April 2008 Mills & Boon Modern. If you want to read an excerpt, please click on the link.

Anne McAllister

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