Annie O’Neil and I have swapped blog dates, so I’m here today instead of Annie. So what better time to tell you about a project that we’ve both been involved with, along with Susan Carlisle and Karin Baine.
First though, I’d like to show you my new cover. Firefighter’s Christmas Baby will be released in November, and it’s a festive fling with consequences! (As you can see from the cover 🙂 )
But on with the blog. A little more than a year ago, Susan Carlisle, Annie O’Neil, Karin Baine and I began to plan out a four-book series. Set on an island, off the coast of Boston, The Maple Island Clinic was to be home to dedicated doctors, nurses and therapists who would be the heroes and heroines of our stories.
But first, we created the island. It had a name and we gave it a history, too. The autumn reds of the maple trees which cover the island are visible from the mainland, and early settlers in the area made their way across the water to tap the trees for their syrup. A small town was founded on the island and one of the wealthier town fathers left his house and collection of books to the people of Maple Island. Today, the town library is still housed in the building that Ezra Van Den Berg donated, along with his books and papers.
We probably went into far more detail than we really needed to – but we were having such fun! Ideas came thick and fast from both sides of the Atlantic and we wondered whether we were going to have to make the island a little bigger to accommodate everything.
We wanted a New England style covered bridge for the island. Orchards and a harbour with fishing boats. An old town on the East side of the island, facing out to sea, and opulent holiday homes for summer visitors on the West side, facing Boston. A ferry. A LIGHTHOUSE! Why hadn’t we thought of a lighthouse before…? We took walks along our imaginary High Street, planning out the shops, the Town Hall and the Sheriff’s office.
And then came the people. There’s a cake war going on in the High Street between the Brady family, whose five red-haired children all help out at Brady’s Bistro and Bakery, and Phoenix Flame Jones and his wife Sage Blossom, who are vegan bakers and the proprietors of Sunbeam Victuals and Delectables. Theodore Harrington – known to everyone as ‘Old Salty’ is a cantankerous old fisherman who becomes the hero of the hour in the first book of the series – and his story is carried through all four books. Each of us added new characters and their stories, along with events that are held on the island to brighten up the long, cold winter evenings.
It’s been the most enormous fun and an absolute honour to work on this project, with three of the nicest and most talented women I could ever hope to meet. Annie, Susan and Karin have a special place in my heart, along with the island that we created together.
Of course, it’s just a backdrop to the serious business of romance! But sometimes the location of a book catches my imagination in a special way. Do you have any favourite locations in books you’ve read?