Post-Civil War Mississippi U.S. Marshal, Zack McCade takes pride in protecting the good folks of Greenville—especially the beautiful Dr. Suzanne Martindale. He doesn’t always understand her need for independence, but he sure does like getting under her skin. It’s not like he’s looking to settle down—his job is too dangerous to risk taking a wife and family. In an era when women aren’t readily accepted in the male dominated world of medicine, Suzanne doesn’t have time for courting—especially a charming Cajun rogue like Zack. When he proposes a fake betrothal to keep the matchmaking town out of their hair, she’s sure it’s a bad idea, but can’t deny her longing for a respite from the over-zealous bachelors in town. Their ruse starts a fire in their hearts that neither expected, but will the re-emergence of Suzanne’s real fiancé douse the flames?
Who’s Your Daddy and Where Does He Live? – The intricacies of plotting a multi-story, multi-location family series
When we began planning the McCade Legacy series, we can honestly say we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It seemed easy at first … outline a couple of books and pitch them to an editor. However, the more we outlined, the more characters and possibilities came into our sometimes creative, but always active minds. What was originally planned as three books quickly became seven and we were off to the races!
Once we realized our original plan had morphed into something huge, the first thing we developed was a comprehensive outline for each book, listing the working title, the hero and heroine’s name, description, occupation, age and a two-three paragraph synopsis of the plot. After the outline, we designed a family tree (which, BTW, has changed a few times as weird thoughts popped into our caffeine-driven brains). We created a family patriarch and gave him multiple progeny. Our “tree” sprouted limbs, followed by more limbs, and even an illegitimate limb. One of our favorite scenes in the series is when Aunt Virginia, now the family matriarch, tells our heroine the family history … right down to the dirty laundry!
Because the books occur in succession we realized we needed a timeline that included not just the start and finish of each book, but also each carry-over situation. For instance, in Gambling on Love, the first McCade Legacy book, our heroine Felicity gets pregnant. In book two, she gives birth. So, the timeline for book two had to encompass the end of her pregnancy. This type of inter-twining between books will continue throughout the series, although the carry-over won’t always be a blessed event. Both Gambling on Love and the second book, The Lawman’s Agreement, are set mainly in Greenville, MS with extended family and plot situations taking place in Vicksburg and Natchez.
In order to keep the supporting characters straight, we developed a database for each of the three main towns and included names of the local residents, e.g., the sheriff, the banker, the mercantile owner, etc. Currently, we have over 100 supporting characters between the three locations. We also developed a family conglomerate where the extended family share in the profits from the McCade businesses. These businesses include the gambling boat, the River Maiden, which is docked in Greenville, the Grand Hotel in Vicksburg, and the mining and manufacturing interests just outside Natchez. In the second Legacy book, we also introduce the new McCade hotel in Greenville, which will play an important part in the plot. The third book in the series, scheduled for release in the spring of next year and tentatively titled The Barrister’s Temptation, will take place mainly in Vicksburg, with a rather eclectic and new group of characters. The McCade family will, of course, be there but the story actually revolves around that illegitimate tree limb we mentioned earlier. We also developed one particular story arc that, while not a huge plot changer, will carry from one book to the next.
A few years ago, we published the original McCade story about the romance between Matthew McCade and Miracle Johnson. Both are supporting characters in The Lawman’s Agreement as well as the rest of the Legacy. We plan to re-issue the original book as a prequel and the next-to-last book in the series. In that original book, Matt’s sister Elizabeth disappears. We are carrying the mystery behind that disappearance over through each successive Legacy book. Then, once we’ve re-issued the original, we’ll close the series with Elizabeth’s story. Writing a series with such emotional depth has been a challenge, to say the least. What we hope is that our readers will bond with our characters, as we have, and want to follow their lives from one book to the next.
TO WIN A COPY OF THE LAWMAN’S AGREEMENT, ENTER AT RAFFLECOPTER AND ANSWER THIS QUESTION IN THE COMMENTS:
In The Lawman’s Agreement, our heroine is a physician/surgeon in a time when they weren’t common. If you had lived in the mid 1800’s, what profession do you think you might have followed?
About the Authors
Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and enjoys traveling and reading. She invites you to visit her website (www.nancyfraser.ca) or follow her on Twitter (@nfraserauthor). Or, more importantly, just enjoy what she writes.
Patti Shenberger recently signed a contract for her twenty-first romance novel/novella sale. She’s published in short contemporary, historical time travel, paranormal and erotic romance, as well as multi-published in fiction and non-fiction magazine length work.
Patti is a wife, mother of two, mother-in-law of two, brand new grandmother to a beautiful baby boy and pet mommy of two. Patti resides in Michigan, where she complains about the heat in the summer and the snow in the winter. When she’s not writing, Patti can be found with her nose buried in a book.