Over the course of the last 30 years, I’ve written a number of novellas that were part of multi-author collections (sometimes called anthologies). For most of these, the publisher picked the authors who would write the collection and told those authors what was required in all of the stories (they have cats, they have dogs, they have horses, they are set in the West at Christmas, etc.). And then each author wrote a story that met those requirements, usually without any interaction with the other authors.
But when Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy and I teamed up (thanks to our mutual agent, Natasha Kern) to propose a novella collection to a publisher, we were able to brainstorm together and come up with the premise we wanted. That premise turned out to be mail-order brides who all find true love through the “help” of the Hitching Post catalog. It became our first collection, A Bride for All Seasons, which came out last year.
I wasn’t sure we could top the first collection. I was wrong. I think we topped it in Four Weddings and a Kiss.
In the spring of last year, the four authors joined one another on a conference call to brainstorm the second collection. These gals are super-creative writers and funny, witty women, so our brainstorming chats were a guaranteed delight. The ideas began to come together when someone suggested “unlikely brides.” Not that the brides were unlovable or ugly or anything like that. Then that idea evolved into “unlikely couples.” Couples who no one would expect to get together. So who might know the stories about such couples? How about pastors? They tend to know a lot about people in their congregations. And out of that grew a story that would connect the novellas.
This fifth story is told through a prologue and epilogue. It opens with five pastors sitting around a campfire. One of them confesses he has fallen in love with a woman he doesn’t think would make a proper wife for a minister. And so the other pastors begin to share stories about unlikely couples and how God brought them together.
We loved this idea, and so you can imagine our delight when early reviewers loved it too. Here’s my favorite from RT Book Reviews (a Top Pick for the month):
This amazing group of authors shares how love is sparked under unfamiliar circumstances. The tidy way these novellas are bound together makes this one of this reviewer’s all-time favorite anthologies. The most unexpected matches will make readers laugh and cry. The authors manage to draw our attention and deliver each love story in a quick, easy read. This collection is extremely entertaining and will make readers think back to their first kiss.
I am so very glad I had a chance—not just once but twice—to collaborate with these terrific writers. We didn’t just come up with two fun collections. We bonded as friends for life. Nothing beats that!
PS A blog tour with a great giveaway will begin on June 19 and end with a Facebook chat on July 8. Be sure to watch my website for more details.
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