I am so excited to have one of my dear friends, Lee Tobin McClain, with me today. Lee is a fellow Pennsylvanian and a prolific writer. Getting together with her is always a time of joy, laughter and crazy ideas. Sometimes, we even get some writing done! Welcome, Lee!
LEE: Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in multi-author book series? I have had the privilege of participating in several, including Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley, releasing today! Here’s the story of how I got involved.
One evening, I was chatting with my writer friend Valerie Comer, and she started asking some rather pointed questions about my upcoming writing schedule… and spilling the beans about this amazing shared-world project she was involved in. Six authors… six series… one small Idaho town. Except one of the original authors had to bow out due to health issues, and Arcadia Valley was now short an author.
“That’s an amazing concept, but I couldn’t possibly jump in,” I said to Valerie, not sure if she was really inviting me or not. I clicked out of the conversation, but what she’d told me kept playing in my mind.
Small, warmhearted town… foodie culture… faith-based stories… farmers’ markets and locally-sourced produce. Hmmmm.
Suddenly, the idea for a series about a struggling Mexican restaurant sprang into my mind. Once I thought of it, I couldn’t let it go. I’d been studying a little Spanish, and I enjoy cooking Mexican food (most recently, delicious vegetarian tacos with soft corn tortillas), and I’m even dating a man of Mexican descent. When I looked at the demographics of Idaho and realized what a large Latino population lives in the state, I messaged Valerie back with a tentative idea. She ran it by the other participants, and 24 hours later, I was in the group!
And then the work began… reading through long Facebook discussions of series parameters, and figuring out the town’s map and character spreadsheets, and working with the group’s wonderful cover designer… Wow. My head was spinning! Fortunately, I’d been part of Love Inspired’s Lone Star Cowboy League continuity series, so I wasn’t totally shocked by the process or the work involved.
The creative life can be lonely, and working together to build a world can be a lot of fun… IF the people involved are flexible and responsible, and IF the group is well-organized with a clear leader, and IF everyone agrees on goals and desired outcomes. Fortunately, the Arcadia Valley group is a delight! These ladies are pros, and we have a mix of talents. Everyone does their share, and everyone contributes. I feel so fortunate and blessed to be a part of this project.
In fact, I’ve got to say that the way I came into the group was a God thing. I just happened to have room in my writing schedule (barely!) and I just happened to get an idea I loved that worked with everyone else’s. The awesome writer whom I replaced was relieved to be able to focus on her personal situation without worrying about the demands of the project. I’m learning so much and having a blast. Most importantly, I believe that with God’s help we’ve created a group of stories that provide a strong faith message to readers who need an uplifting escape from their problems and a little romance in their busy days.
What’s your view of novella collections? Do you like reading them, or do you prefer individual novels? Comment in the next 24 hours for the chance to win a $10 gift card from Amazon. Since our novella collection only costs 99 cents, you can pick it up and still have money left over for another book or two of your choice. Win-win!
Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley
Join us in the fictional town of Arcadia Valley, Idaho, where a foodie culture and romance grow hand-in-hand.
Six popular and bestselling authors of contemporary Christian romance have teamed up to create an entire world exploring food, friends, and family.
This is not your usual collection of novellas! Each one is set in Arcadia Valley. Each kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors. This permanent collection is only the beginning of your adventure with us.
The giveaway ends at midnight, Thursday, January 12th.