Thursday, May 12, 2011

Naked character connections

I’ll confess that my Naked world was born partly from panic. I sold The Naked Duke by accident. I was ecstatic, but I also now had a two book contract, which meant I had to write another book...on deadline. Ulp. I didn’t take note of the exact date that I started the Duke, but I’m guessing it took me 3 to 4 years, writing in fits and starts, to complete. I had less than 9 months to write book 2.

I had a little bit of that “deer in the headlights” feeling.

I also had two male characters--the duke’s friends. Hmm. I was first drawn to Robbie, the Earl of Westbrooke. I’d already identified his heroine--Lady Elizabeth, the duke’s sister. But Lizzie was only 17, in her first Season, and while by Regency standards she was old enough to marry, my modern sensibilities wanted her to be older. So that left Major Charles Draysmith--he became The Naked Marquis. (Actually, he was going to be an earl when his brother died, but then my publisher and I decided these would be the Naked noble books and I already had an earl--Robbie--waiting for his story, so I had to “promote” Charles’s brother to marquis before I killed him off.)

Then it turned out Emma Peterson, Charles’s heroine, had a very interesting sister, Meg. Meg became the heroine of The Naked Gentleman. And John Parker-Roth, Meg’s hero, had five siblings. I haven’t--yet--written all their stories.

Here’s a sort of scorecard of Naked heroes and heroines:

The Naked Duke: James Runyon, Duke of Alvord, and Sarah Hamilton, American

The Naked Marquis: Charles Draysmith, Marquis of Knightsdale (duke’s friend) and Emma Peterson, vicar’s daughter

The Naked Earl: Robbie Hamilton, Earl of Westbrooke (duke’s friend and Sarah’s cousin) and Lizzie Runyon (duke’s sister)

The Naked Gentleman: John Parker-Roth (earl’s friend) and Meg Peterson (Emma’s sister)

The Naked Baron: David Wilton, Baron Dawson, and Lady Grace Belmont (stood John Parker-Roth up at altar years before Gentleman)

The Naked Viscount: Edmund Smyth, Viscount Motton, and Jane Parker-Roth (John’s sister)

The Naked King: Stephen Parker-Roth (John’s brother) and Lady Anne Marston

There are also two Naked novellas connected to the Naked world: “The Naked Laird” in Lords of Desire and “The Naked Prince” in An Invitation to Sin. “The Naked Laird” happens during The Naked Baron, at the house party hosted by Viscount Motton. “The Naked Prince” occurs a few months before The Naked King and is somewhat of a prequel. Part of that story involves the “prince” trying to keep Stephen from being trapped into marriage by an unsuitable female.

Tomorrow, the how I accidently sold the Duke.

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