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 fiancĂ©e 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.


Jane said...

Hi Kathie,
Congrats on the new release. I love series where the books are released back to back. Maybe basing a hero on a flying monkey will work.

Laurie said...

I've enjoyed several of your books! It's amazing to me how such a small seed of an idea multiplies and grows into a series of interesting books.
Oz!! Great story!!

Laura B. said...

Hi Kathie! Interesting how we have bad weather to thank for your series. I like the fitting-ness of the name Emerald with the Oz background.

Marcy said...

What a great story, Kathie. You're right...sometimes even the craziest ideas can work. It's all in the execution.

Congrats on the new release.

ColleenFL said...

Hi Kathie,
I've read a few of your books. Most recently I read Remembering One Wild Night (Texas Cattleman's Club. Great post and keep writing!

Problem Child said...

Welcome to the Playground, Kathie! (it seems I'm not the only Playfriend making a late start today...)

I read the Wizard of Oz series with AC, and the books creeped me out. I think I like the Hollywood and your versions of the story MUCH better!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Kathie. Great post. I love your writing.

Angel said...

Welcome, Kathie! So wonderful to have you on the Playground today.

What a wonderful idea for a series. It harkens back to that saying that there are no new plots, just old plots with new twists. This also reminds me of the Playfriends own plotting conversations. Everyone just throws things out there, no matter how crazy, and you never know what will stick. Or when someone will say, "If you don't want that for your book, can I have it for mine?" :)


Instigator said...

Welcome to the Playground, Kathie! And I loved your story. Isn't it amazing how our ideas really do come from anywhere and anytime?


Laura B. said...

I wanted to add that I knew you were celebrating 25 books this year, but I didn't realize your first book was published in 2000. You've accomplished a lot in 9 years! Good for you! (And for us readers.)

Playground Monitor said...

Remembering One Wild Night (and the rest of that TCC series) was great. I still remember the chat we did for that and how you surprised us by having the editor come in. That's still one of the best series I've ever read.

Misty Wright said...

Oh, I love this! Thanks for sharing Kathie! :)

gigi said...

Hi Kathie,
It has been a while.
As you know I have been reading all your books from he get-go.
I am so glad to see that you are writing again.
You write the absolute best bath-tub and bed time books. I can always go to sleep with a good feeling after reading one of your books.
I have to thank Marilyn for giving me the heads up that you were blogging in the Playground.

housemouse88 said...

Hello Kathie,

I love the way you tie everything together. It sounds like an exciting mini-series. Have a great day.

Kathie said...

Hi everyone!
I thought the connection with the Wizard of Oz was so obvious that everyone would pick up on it. Apparently not, because I didn't hear from a single reader, telling me they realized what I'd done. Just proves that brainstorming sessions can work miracles and turn the goofiest of ideas into your next book.

Kathie said...


Yes, THE BILLIONAIRE'S UNEXPECTED HEIR, to be released in October, will be my 25th book. I probably would have had more, but I took two years off from writing when my husband passed away. But I'm back at it and writing my chubby little fingers off. LOL

Anonymous said...

What a sweet thing to say, Gigi! Thank you so much. I don't know about most authors, but there's no greater joy for me than learning my stories bring readers pleasure and stay with them long after they read the last page.

Kathie said...

I don't know why I'm suddenly Anonymous, but that last comment was from me. LOL

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome Kathie. Sorry I'm late. Experiencing technical difficulties today.

I love the idea of the Wizard of Oz. I think it would be an exciting challenge to take something like that and turn it into a story. Give me weird characters and funky storylines and I'm in heaven. Of course, I've been known to develop plots based on dares, so...

Kathie said...

I want to thank the Writing Playground for asking me to be the guest blogger. I told my editor I was blogging today and she came by to see what I had to say. She had no idea what I'd done (she wasn't my editor at the time I came up with this concept) and absolutely loved it. So dig out those zany ideas and give them a little more thought. Editors do love innovation.

Liza said...

Hi Kathie! Congrats on your new release.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I'm late with everything today, but that is one of the BEST brainstorming ideas I've ever heard! Amazing how you transformed it into something like that. Very cool!

Minna said...

Congrats on the new release!

Laura B. said...

I'm sorry about your husband.

And nope, would never have caught onto the Wizard of Oz theme.

Christa said...

Hi Kathie
love your books
Never caught the wizard of oz connection. Guess was too engrossed in the story to catch that.
Loved Remembering One Wild Night. TCC: The Stolen Baby still remains my favourite TCC series

Latesha said...


Thanks for being in the Playground today. I can't believe you are about to release your 25th book. It seems like just yesterday I picked up my first Kathie book. I've enjoyed every book I've read by you and eagerly look forward to this next set of Illegitimate Heirs.

Carol Stephenson said...

Woohoo, Kathie, on the 25th book! That means we'll be hearing your name announced at the Harlequin party in Nashville!!! :) Carol

Roxann Delaney said...

Kathie DeNosky...where have I heard that name before? LOL

BTW, Kat, I think I saw Emerald yesterday as I was driving the streets of Wichita. She was out looking for more illegitimate grandchilden. ::grin::

Kathie and Kristi are the world's best brainstorming buddies! And Kathie is the pushiest friend I have. LOL She next thing to physically pushed me into my first editor appointment at RWA's Dallas conference back in 1996. She also kept me from throwing in the writing towel many, many times.

So how's the new series going?
(Talk to you tonight and will have my whip in hand.)

Emma said...

Hi Kathie,
Congrats on the new release.Have a great week.