Friday, September 29, 2006

Sheikhs and Round Robins

I ‘m at the ‘is my book published or not?’ stage with the latest novel.As you’ll see from the sidebar, my current book - At The Sheikh’s Command - is out in both UK and USA in October. (My lovely Aussie readers will have to wait until November – but I believe you can order it from the M&B Aus site from October.) I haven’t yet seen it in any shop anywhere when I’ve been out and about – but it has been selling on In fact it spent a few days as Amazon’s #1 bestselling Harlequin Presents , has only 2 left in stock – and as I said earlier, it was at # 4 on the Waldenbooks bestsellers list – so it is selling somewhere!

I was going to blog about the lasting attraction romance readers have for Sheikh stories to mark the occasion of the publication of this one, but the lovely ladies of the Pink Heart Society asked me to write about that for my guest blog over there next week, so it will appear there instead. On Thursday I believe – Ally said she had me pencilled in ‘for Thursday 6th October’ but I suspect she means the 5th – she’s in Australia so the time zones must be getting to her.

So that’s when the ‘Sheikh’ blog should appear. Instead I’d like to take this opportunity to say Hi to all the Writing Round Robin members – aka The Hoods – who might be reading this blog and who, indirectly, are the reason why I ever wrote At The Sheikh’s Command anyway.

Hi Hoods!

Last year I was asked to run a Writing Round Robin on the eHarlequin boards – and I was specifically asked for a Modern Sheikh story please. If you don’t know how these WRRs work, the idea is that a published author starts off a story - a romance, naturally, by writing the first Chapter. This is about 1000 words. Then there is a contest for the members of the Learn To Write section who all submit a potential 2nd chapter. The winner has their chapter posted on eHarlequin – and the contest to write the third chapter starts. Finally the author comes back in to round everything off and finish the story with Chapter 6.

So there I was, needing to think up a story to write my first chapter. And that was tough. I had to create a story opening, one that grabbed the readers and spoke to the writer in them. It had to make then want not only to read on but to write on – to continue the story and enter the contest. For the WRR, I had to create a first chapter that would open a story, establish a couple of characters, create a setting, set up a conflict, sketch in a background, leave enough threads of development dangling so that the writers who followed on could take them up and weave them into their own writing as they created the next chapters – and all in 1000 words. Phew!

I love a writing challenge , something that shakes up my writing, makes me think, takes me out of my writing ‘comfort zone’ – and this first chapter of the WRR was just that – a challenge.

And the hardest part of the challenge was keeping it to just that 1000 words – it would keep growing, because my writer’s mind was attuned to the way I work naturally – getting to know my characters well, putting them together, stirring in the conflict at watching how they grow and change – and the relationship develops – as the story progresses. I couldn’t do that with this one – I had to keep it all tight and short and someone else would develop these characters for me.

When I’d written that first 1000 words, and put it up on the eHarlequin site for the Hoods and anyone else who was joining in the WRR to get their teeth - and writing muscles into – I had all these pages and pages of note. The ideas I didn’t use. The characters that the hero and heroine of the WRR weren’t going to become. And I didn’t want to waste them.

So I turned them into a new book. At first I thought it was the book I would have written if I’d been making that first story the full sized book I normally write – but it didn’t work out like that. As always, Abbie and Malik, my hero and heroine, took the story and ran with it and made it their own. And although all the way along, I’d had this working title of The Wrong Sheikh, it didn’t turn out that Malik was The Wrong Sheikh in quite the way I’d anticipated. If you want to know more, you’ll have to read the book. But one thing I did do, because the hero and heroine of the original WRR (Stolen by The Sheikh) had given me such inspiration to write this second story, I gave them a walk-on role at the end of the book so that the Hoods can see how they ended up after their story closed.

And the great thing is that this little story has made an unexpected appearance as one of the launch Mini ebooks over on eHarlequin so that the Hoods and any other readers who want to know about Lucy and Hakim as well as Abbie and Malik, can do so for free if they want to.

So that’s how At The Sheikh’s Command started as too many ideas and ended up as a full book. And it’s dedicated to the Hoods who made the weeks of the WRR such fun with their chatty message and warm welcome to their thread of the boards.

There’s another WRR going on there now, this time run by New Zealand Silhouette Author Yvonne Lindsay, so why not drop by and see what’s going on – and maybe join in if you fancy trying your hand at writing the next chapter and maybe winning a prize.

If you, do, say Hi to the Hoods for me – tell them I was talking about them. And congratulate Ronda on the safe – if dramatic and stressful arrival of Carson Patrick. Great name for a hero that.

1 comment:

blueberri said...

Kate hosted a fantastic RR! The Hoods had a great time. Of course, we're excited our Anne's chapter is now in Kate's e-book.

Kate took the time to teach us about alpha heroes on the forum and that made the RR extra special.

Thanks for letting us in on on how AT THE SHEIKH'S COMMAND came to fruition, Kate.


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