Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Peek Behind The Scenes #4

Erica Here:

It's time for another Peek Behind the Scenes Post! We've talked about how we as the authors set up the collection, creating the story lines and the town of Hartville. We've taken a look at the Hart ranch and house. And we've talked about the origins of the idea and the time line of the back story.

Today, I thought it might be fun to talk about how we handled things when differences arose.

I'll let you in on a little secret: Starting out, I actually thought there would be far more disagreements/problems/challenges than there wound up being. But things worked out well all the way around, and I think it was because we followed a few, basic guidelines:

1. Communicate.

If you need something, or think something isn't working, speak up! The sooner you bring an issue to the attention of others, the sooner we can work out a fix. This is one place where having the private Facebook group paid off in spades. It was easy to post a question, tag the person most affected, and get an answer quickly.

2. Be A Pro.

No tantrums, arguments, or hissy-fits. (Not that I expected anyone to do this!) We did need to remember, however, not to take things personally, and also remember that we're all on the same team. We all wanted to turn out the best product possible. Everybody worked well together, and it was so fun to see friendships deepen, authors get to know each other, and everyone come together for the good of the collection.

3. You own your main characters, and everybody owns the rest.

Would it surprise you to know that authors are proprietary? We create characters that come to feel like part of our families, and if I am honest, it was this part of writing a continuity series that had me the most worried. How would the other authors treat my character? And I know the rest of the gals were wondering the same thing. But we needn't have worried so much. By providing good character sketches up front and checking in with one another as we went along, I think we were able to keep each others' characters consistent and not use them in a way that made their creator feel uncomfortable. I know that I had to request a couple of changes to the way that my character, Bowie, was written, and the authors were gracious to make those changes. I had a couple of things I needed to change in my story to accommodate another writer, and those changes got made without a fuss.

4. Try to settle things between the two or three authors and come to an agreement.

No need to pull in everyone on an issue if it only affects a couple. We saw this with some timeline issues, with some character issues, and with a few logistical issues. It was interesting to see how writers naturally gravitated toward one another as they plotted. Travis and Houston Hart were always close as youngsters and had stayed in touch through Houston's absence, so Amanda and Keli worked together on their stories, even beta-reading for one another. Austin and Bowie Hart were close in age and the oldest two, so it was natural for me to have Austin be Bowie's 'voice of wisdom' when he needed it, and to consult Vickie on how best to portray Austin in my story.

5. The buck has to stop somewhere.

Sometimes an executive decision needed to be made, and that responsibility fell to me as the team leader. If a difference couldn't be settled, or needed an outside opinion, that's where I came in. We had this happen a few times, where it wasn't even a difference of opinion so much as a need for information. Which of the sons would inherit El Regalo? Where would each sons' land be? When would the annual cattle drive be held? (Austin, check the map of the 7 Heart Ranch, and spring into early summer so there would be grass and water for the herd headed north.) :) I handled most of these issues, trying to keep things fair and on track.

I am so blessed that this group of ladies was so easy to work with! The communication and cooperation were fantastic, and I hope we get the chance to work together again soon!

The winner of Keli Gwyn's E-X-P-A-N-D-I-N-G giveaway Friday prize is:

Trixi Oberembt won the final prize package in Keli Gwyn's Expanding Giveaway. Trixi will receive three Texas-themed candies and four Texas-set stories by Love Inspired Historical authors, a total of SEVEN items. Congratulations, Trixi! Keli will get your prize package on its way to you pronto.

Congratulations to all this week's winners, and to Keli for a great week of blog posts and Texas-themed prizes!

Come back next week when Susan Page Davis is our hostess. She'll be talking about Crockett and Jane's story, For Love or Money. (This one...oh my, I fell in love with Crockett in about three paragraphs, and I think you will, too!) 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a LOADED KINDLE FIRE TABLET!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What a wonderful post, Erica! I had SO much fun working with everyone, and creating our lovable Hart family together. :) You captured this "behind the scenes" peek perfectly!!

  2. This was my first time to work with other authors on a novella collection. I was impressed with how well and how quickly we worked things out when questions or potential story conflicts arose. Everyone had the best interests of the collection at Hart.

  3. What a fun project for you ladies to work on together! I wouldn't have expected much conflict between anyone either, you all did a marvelous job on each story. I loved how it read as one cohesive novel :-) I enjoyed getting to know each brother and how perfectly they were paired with their ladies. I hope you get to work on a future project! Merry Christmas to you and yours and many blessings for the new year!

    Thank you again, Keli, for your generous prize packages you offered this week! Congrats to the other winners as well :-) Looking forward to the tasty treats and NEW BOOKS!!

    1. Trixi, I was so happy to see that you were the winner of the final prize package in my Expanding Giveaway. There will be a lot of Texas-style fun headed your way soon.

  4. Thank you for a look at what it is like to collaborate with other authors to put together a series that flows well and keeps the characters true to their author's vision.