Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Story Behind What Sarah Saw

In November of 2007 I was asked to be part of the Love Inspired Suspense continuity series for 2009 called Without a Trace about murder and a missing person. Steeple Hill asked me to write the first book, What Sarah Saw, in the series. This was my third LIS continuity series for Steeple Hill. I’ve been fortunate to work with some great authors because doing a series where each authors (six of us) have a different story but must tie these stories together is difficult. Our books will stand alone with the romance between the hero and heroine (which is resolved by the end of the book) and usually a mystery/suspense thread that is in your book only will be resolved, too. But there are other elements of the story that will continue into the next book and often all the way through all six stories.

So the first thing the other five authors and I do is set up a yahoo group so we can easily discuss the series. After we get the bible (an overview of the series and each book with certain details that must be included in the different stories), we begin to brainstorm the series and individual books. We iron out the details and make sure they flow from one story to the next. We come up with secondary characters who can be used in different books. We flesh out the villain(s) and map out the suspense and mystery elements in each story. Although we are giving a framework to work within, there are a lot of aspects we have to come up with. We share our synopses and our stories after they are finish to help the authors after our book.

I love to brainstorm, but I have to admit doing a continuity is a challenge. I have enjoyed the challenge that tests my writing in a different way from when I come up with everything in a story. I have to fit my story and characters within a framework that holds the hold continuity together. The bonus is working with some great writers and learning from them. The other authors in this series are Robin Caroll, Shirlee McCoy, Patricia Davids, Roxanne Rustand and Terri Reed. See what I mean by a great lineup of authors. Getting six creative minds working on the same problem is wonderful, and there are so many interesting tidbits that develop from that. Our villain blossomed with a full-fledged past and motivations that caused the mayhem in each story.

On top of that nice bonus of working with those authors, with this continuity series I was asked to write a prequel called When Night Falls about my hero and heroine who had a past. They had met in New Orleans a year before and had dated for a while but a child kidnapping case that had gone badly broke them apart. You can enjoy this novella by clicking on this link ( a free download of the story. If that doesn’t work, cut and paste the link to take you to the download, a gift from eHarlequin and Steeple Hill.

What Sarah Saw will be out the second week in January. It’s available right now at eHarlequin. The back blurb is:
The only witness when a single mother mysteriously vanishes is her three-year-old daughter. FBI agent Sam Pierce needs to question little Sarah. Yet child psychologist Jocelyn Gold will barely let him near the girl. Or herself. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart the year before, and their hearts still haven’t healed. But for the child’s sake—and the mother’s—they must join forces to uncover just what Sarah saw.


Lenora said...

Margaret, that sounds so good! As always, it sounds as if you've woven a great tale. We do love those continuities!

Lenora :)

Margaret Daley said...

A lot of hard work but neat people to work with--you being one of them, Lenora.

Pat Davids said...

It was great working with you on the Without a Trace project. Without your help I would have snatched myself bald a dozen times. It was a challange, but well worth it to get to know so many other great authors.