Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Peek Behind the Scenes #1

Erica here:

Wow, release week is off to a roaring start! The Facebook party was a rousing success, with more than 100 participants and hundreds of comments and likes. There were games and trivia and character sketches and plot summaries, cyber-food and prizes and more. You can scroll through the posts on Facebook by clicking HERE

There are SEVEN copies of the book up for giveaway over on Goodreads: You can find that giveaway by clicking HERE.

And our Loaded Kindle Fire Giveaway is really getting a lot of attention! More than 1000 entries so far! Thank you!!! (Enter below.)

On Saturdays over the next few weeks, we'll be giving you a peek behind the scenes on how seven authors worked so closely together to create a cohesive collection of stories that would read as a single story while keeping the characters all unique enough so as not to cause confusion.

Communication was key, and there were two primary ways we communicated.

1. A secret Facebook Group. This group was set up from the beginning, and it was here that we hashed out things like who would get what character as their hero, what the order of the stories would be, and where all the characters would be at any given point in the stories.

2. The Master Document. This is a 25+ page document where we collated and organized all the information we were deciding in multiple Facebook posts. This document contained character sketches, story synopses, timelines, secondary character charts, maps, photographs, and more!

One of the most crucial items in the Master Document was a map of the fictional town of Hartville, Texas. It was important that if Gabrielle had the church at the south end of town in her story, that Keli not accidentally place it in the north end of town in her story.

So, I did a quick search for a map of an old west town. I had thought to find something like Cowtown in Wichita, KS or Stuhr Village in Grand Island, NE but what I found was a map of the town used in the TV remake The Magnificent Seven. (Kind of appropriate, don't you think? What with there being seven magnificent Hart brothers?)

Here is the original map I found:

As you can see, there are lots of things we wanted to include: a church, a livery, a newspaper office, a hotel.

But we needed to customize the map, too. So as the writers plotted and wrote their stories, if they needed a certain building to be in a certain place in the town, they would post it in the FB group and I would add it to our map in red.

Eventually, this is what the map came to look like:

As you can see, we needed a doctor's office for Travis Hart, a Mercantile, a lawyer's office. I know that I referred to the map while I wrote, and I referred to it even more when it came time for continuity edits. 

It was keeping track of details like this that enabled us to work so well together, to create a cohesive set of stories in a fictional world that feels real.

Be sure to come back next week when our hostess is Lorna Seilstad. She's got a swoony hero who is a Texas Ranger and has the most adorable dimples! You won't want to miss her posts!

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below. Please "Like" our FB pages and sign up for our newsletters to be entered. 

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  1. Very cool! I like the map! The way y'all worked together on this is just fascinating! Yay for internet!

    1. I don't know how we would've pulled this off without the Internet! :) Working together was the most fun part of this collection.

  2. I'm a detail-oriented person, so I found watching the behind-the-scenes coordination that took place fascinating. One small change to my story could have ripple effects in those taking place before and after mine, so prompt communication was of the utmost importance.

    For instance, a seemingly small thing such as what Coralee, the heroine of my story, "A Love Returned," chose to look at while visiting Mortenson Mercantile in Hartville could help connect the stories. In chapter seven of "A Love Returned," the fourth story in the collection, I had Coralee examine and purchase a bar of soap that had been made by her friend Meribeth Mortenson, who owns the shop with her husband, Michael. At the time of my story, July, Meribeth is big with child. In chapter four of Erica's story, the final one in the collection, "Love at Last," which takes place late in the year, her heroine, Elise, buys a Jasmine-scented bar from Meribeth, who hands off her baby to Michael. Many details such as these were hammered out behind the scenes in order for the stories to flow one into another. Seeing the pieces fall into place as we coordinated was fun.

    1. Also fun, when I knew Meribeth made her own soap, it reminded me that I have a friend who makes soap, so I asked if she would make a batch of jasmine-scented soap for me...and she did! Now I have some lovely gives to give to readers through the next several weeks that will hopefully remind them of this collection!

  3. OH man, I love the map of the town! I would need that all shown to me, too, if I had to write about places.

    1. The town map was the tip of the iceberg! I can't wait to show some of the other aids we used to keep everything straight! :)