Thanks to Lynn Kerstan for inviting me to guest blog here today and tomorrow! I decided to tell you all the dirt I have on her—No! I forgot. I’m supposed to tell you about our history of collaboration in fiction-writing. We’ve written two books together (one won a RITA award), and are embarking on some new linked novellas.
Lynn and I first “met” online, when we were both on the GEnie network (one of those Internet roundtables in the dark ages before the Web, when we had to get online through the phone at 24 baud a second, using only flints to light our candles). We were both writing Regencies, and the Romex roundtable on GEnie was rife with Regency writers discussing the important issues. (Example: Did men really sign dancecards to claim a dance at a ball?)
Lynn and I are remarkably similar while being almost complete opposites. I mean, she’s had this exciting life—travel, cruises, high-stakes bridge (ask her about her time with Omar Sharif), gambling, hot cars, hotter men… and here I am with my boring little Midwestern life. (But actually, I like boring. I am not good with change, something that should make my husband grateful.) However, in intriguing ways, we’re a lot alike. We both grew up Catholic and went to parochial school, though she went to a posh one high above San Diego Harbor, while my school was in a ramshackle house in Boston and had to close after my family (eight children) moved to Virginia and took half the students away.
We both studied literature in grad school, though she was a Shakespearian (this gets important later :), and I studied American lit. We had a similar tendency to plunge drastically into love with certain writers and books (Dorothy Dunnett got passed back and forth between us). We both wrote Regencies, but mine were all about the relationships and the slang, while she liked to take her characters on rollicking adventures. And while I always loved my heroes and treated them gently, Lynn liked to shoot them at least once every book.
We didn’t have much contact online until I mentioned that I wanted to write a book where the hero (John, a secondary character from Royal Renegade) found some rare book and love too. (Hey, my heroes have adventures too! They can find books!) Lynn, who had actually handled Shakespeare Folios when she worked at the Folger Library, mentioned in an email that I might want to look into the playscript of Sir Thomas More, part of which was purportedly written in Shakespeare’s own hand. Whoa! That sent me off into the rabid swamps of Shakespearian denialists, who think someone else (usually Francis Bacon) wrote the plays. Within a few days, her wise counsel had led to a real plot, in which John really does have an adventure allying with Jessica to save this manuscript from the destruction planned by an evil “Baconist” librarian.
So I owe that book to Lynn! It is, by the way, Poetic Justice, and it’s available now on Kindle. Really. Lynn inspiration. Shakespeare denial. Evil librarian. Aren’t you scared?