Roz Denny Fox talks about writing her newest release - DUKE: DEPUTY COWBOY
There are a lot of things for a writer to take into consideration when writing a story within a continuity series. If you write a single book using only characters in a setting that you’ve dreamed up, all of the information is your sole responsibility. When you write in a continuity dealing with a family other writers also use, there’s more involved in establishing facts before anyone sits down to write. The farther into the continuity your book lies, the more details that writer must keep track of.
For the Harts of Rodeo set mostly on a ranch in our version of a town called, Roundup, Montana, our editors supplied the continuity thread, the setting in general, and short character arcs on characters peopling each of our six books. As well they gave us our main characters’ romantic interest. Add to the general information, a ranch running on the edge of financial distress, and a matriarch who has sunk too much capital in a horse pinned with the hope of restoring the ranch fortune. Oops, they tell us the gorgeous stallion gets stolen!
I wish you could all see the stack of emails six writers can create while brainstorming. If I had to guess I’d say between three and four inches of paper, some pages marked up, some x’d out, some dog-eared as a special reminder there’s something on that page that impacts one of my characters. Half way through that process ideas begin to blur. I read and reread notes and went to bed talking to myself. Someone set up a special loop for everyone to use. Photos began to appear---suggestions for how the ranch looked, how the town looked, real-life people our characters might resemble. For someone as tech challenged as me, panic set in. The great thing about working with a really helpful group, those who were more tech savvy jumped in to help (me) who falls short in that department. Little by little I began to form an overall picture of our town, our ranch, our characters including Midnight, the horse. I’m only guessing it was the same for everyone else. Ever circling around the planning stage are things that happen in our real lives. Most are in phases of writing other books. Visualize sick kids, vacations, and more difficult trials life throws at writers. At long last the first story takes shape and all of us laugh and cry and write faster. One by one we get to read the books in manuscript form. They aren’t perfect. There are revisions and last minute adjustments needed to seamlessly mesh with books already put to bed so to speak.
Now all six books are finished, including a prequel readers have probably already read. Cathy’s book will be available in bookstores in July, C.J’s in August, Roz’s in September, Shelley’s in October, Marin’s in November, and with Linda’s in December we’ll all say good-bye to the Hart’s of Rodeo. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our editors, all of the other writers in the group who were a joy to work with, and thanks to friends of books like the host of this web site, lastly stacked with special thanks to readers. I hope you enjoy every one of our books.