Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Guest Blogger: Kathie DeNosky
Kathie DeNosky's first book, DID YOU SAY MARRIED?, was released by Silhouette Desire in May 2000, and a year or so later, when I was discovering the wonderful world of romance novels, I discovered Kathie's books (she had a couple more out by then). A couple of fan letters later she called to offer me the job of review coordinator at a new website her late husband was starting. I stayed with Writers Unlimited until I knew I had to write and not review romances. So in a way, it's all Kathie's fault that I'm in this whirlwind world of romance and writing.
Kathie is a two-time Golden Heart finalist, a Waldenbooks bestseller and HIS BABY SURPRISE (Silhouette Desire, June 2001) received the National Readers' Choice Award for Best Short Contemporary Romance of 2001.
She's a great writer, a fabulous mentor and one of my dearest friends, and I hope you'll come to love her books as much as I do.
The Birth of a Mini-Series
One of the most popular questions asked of an author is where they get their ideas and how they connect the stories to make a mini-series. Usually my stock answer is, “My stories come from just about everywhere and connecting the books is as easy as having some of the main characters be either friends or siblings.” But there’s an interesting story behind the way I connected the Illegitimate Heirs mini-series that only a handful of people know about and few would recognize as being based on a movie we all know and love. When I was asked to be the guest blogger here at the Writing Playground, I thought it would be a great opportunity to let everyone in on the secret and show just how easy it is to turn a crazy suggestion into a bestselling mini-series.
During a late-night phone conversation with my good friend and sister author, Kristi Gold, a tornado watch came across the weather alert radio and I jokingly commented that I was going to have to base my next mini-series on the Wizard of Oz because it looked as if I was going to be carried “over the rainbow.” She laughed and as we continued to joke about the possibilities, I realized that I might be onto something.
What if I turned the Scarecrow, aka “man without a brain,” into a handsome farmer who, because of family obligations, hadn’t been able to go to college and regretted his lack of education? What if the cowardly lion became a good-looking guy who had been forced as a teenager to flee his family’s ranch in the middle of the night for fear of doing jail time for a crime he didn’t commit, but couldn’t fight? And what if the Tinman, who didn’t have a heart, became a sexy helicopter pilot who felt responsible for the death of his fiancée and vowed never to lose his heart again to another woman? And how on earth could I connect these heroes in a way that made sense?
I needed a set of circumstances that would land them all in unfamiliar territory—their Oz—and an all-seeing, all-knowing Wizard to orchestrate everything. Enter Emerald Larson of Wichita, Kansas, self-made bazillionaire, CEO of Emerald, Inc. and the mother of a narcissistic, world-class playboy who, in his youth gave a whole new meaning to the Biblical passage, “be fruitful and multiply.” Knowing about the three boys he’d fathered, but not wanting them to be tempted by the endless wealth and self-indulgence of her son, Emerald waited until they were grown before contacting them to tell them who their father was and offering them one of the many companies she’d acquired over the years. That set each of them on a journey, much like Dorothy’s, to find their way to their heart’s desire.
Wonder of wonders, the editors at Silhouette Desire loved my crazy idea and the Illegitimate Heirs became a three book mini-series—ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN ENEMIES, January ’06, REUNION OF REVENGE, February ’06, and BETROTHED FOR THE BABY, March ‘06. But the story doesn’t end there. Two weeks after the first book was released, my editor called asking for three more Illegitimate Heirs—making it a six book mini-series.
Obviously, I couldn’t come up with anything that would connect these three books as strongly to the Wizard of Oz concept. (Somehow I just didn’t think readers would want me to base a hero on a flying monkey and I doubt there would be any way to redeem a heroine based on the Wicked Witch. LOL) But Emerald is still the all-knowing, all-seeing icon of the series and the three Garnier siblings feel as if they’ve landed smack dab in the middle of Oz when they discover they are her illegitimate grandchildren in BOSSMAN BILLIONAIRE, out this month, ONE NIGHT, TWO BABIES, to be relesased next month, and THE BILLIONAIRE’S UNEXPECTED HEIR, to be released in October.
What’s the moral of this story? Given the right amount of thought, enough brainstorming with writer friends and a unique twist or two, a writer can turn even the craziest idea into a bestselling mini-series. So give it a try. Let your imagination run wild and never dismiss an idea without giving it the proper amount of thought. You just might be discarding a bestselling mini-series if you do.
P.S. One random commenter today will be selected to win a copy of BOSSMAN BILLIONAIRE. I don't know about you, but I'm going to start writing down every throw-away comment I make to the other Playfriends.