by Vanessa Kelly
I’ve never been very good with big (or even little) goodbyes. Depending on the circumstances, I’m usually awkward or falsely chipper to compensate for how sad I feel. If it’s a family member or someone I’m truly close to, I just burst into tears. Most times, I’d much prefer to sneak out the back door or say goodbye with a casual wave or a hug, as if I’m going to see that person tomorrow instead of two years from now.
So it’s with some trepidation that I come to the end of The Renegade Royals, my current historical romance series, with the release of HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER. After four books and two novellas, I’ve finally reached the end of my stories featuring heroes who are the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes.
And I have to say, a big part of me hates to say goodbye.
My editor and I spent a lot of time developing the overarching plot line that wove these stories together. At first, I didn’t think it would work. There was a real need for historical accuracy in these books, grounded in real-life details about the royal dukes and their various illegitimate progeny. So, although my characters are fictional, I had to make sure that their life stories didn’t contradict the historical record.
But those challenges helped get me invested in my characters. For three years, I spent a lot of time thinking about my heroes and heroines (and a fun cast of secondary characters), connecting their stories and getting to know my Renegade Royals very well.
By the time I starting work on HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER, the last book in the series, I’d wrapped up most of the connecting storylines. That left only Capt. Alec Gilbride, soldier, spy, sexy Scot, and the last of the Renegade Royals. Since all my other characters had gone off to find their HEAs that meant I could mix things up a bit. So I moved most of the story from London to the Scottish Highlands and gave Alec a funny, sassy, and strong-willed Sassenach to fall in love with.
I think Edie and Alec are a hoot together, constantly engaging in battles of one-upmanship even as they fall madly in love. They ended up being much funnier than I initially anticipated, partly because I could do pretty much whatever I wanted with this book.
I really enjoyed working on ROYAL HIGHLANDER—until I got to the end. After I finished writing the epilogue, I sat there staring at my computer screen and feeling bereft. What would I do without my Renegade Royals?
Fortunately, my editor and I came up with a solution that we both love. I’m writing a spin-off series called The Improper Princesses featuring the illegitimate daughters of England’s royal dukes, women who are the half-sisters and cousins of the Renegade Royals. The first book, MY FAIR PRINCESS, will be out in the spring of 2016.
I’m so glad I’m getting the chance to give the royal ladies their turn. After all, why should the guys have all the fun?
HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER can be purchased in mass market paperback or eBook format for/from: