Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Those of you who are familiar with my Texas Grooms books know that it’s a 10 book series. But it wasn’t always conceived to contain so many books. I originally wrote the first book under the title Lady’s Choice for Leisure Books, an imprint of the now defunct Dorchester Publishing Company.
Several years later my editor at Love Inspired Historicals somehow got hold of a copy and loved it. When she learned I’d reacquired the rights she asked if I’d be willing to rewrite it to fit within LIH guidelines. Since I really love the characters in this book it was a no brainer – of course I said yes.
Once I turned that one in, with the new title Handpicked Husband, she asked what I thought about developing stories for each of the three strong secondary characters that appeared in the book. I gave her an excited YES! response and the Turnabout Grooms series was born. At that point it was supposed to be a four book series. But as I wrote those other three books the community of Turnabout really came alive for me and my imagination kept weaving stories for other characters who lived there. And my editor agreed to let me explore the possibilities. So I happily wrote additional stories set in Turnabout right up until the time Love Inspired closed the Historical line.
But all of that is backstory. What I wanted to talk about today was some of the things that go into tracking the details for a multi-book series. Since this one wasn’t originally conceived as a series going in, I was a little behind the curve putting my series bible together.
Of course, I’ve always tracked information within a book – I document all the secondary characters who pop up in any of the books, no matter how minor a role they play. This also includes animals – pets, horses, etc. And I have a spreadsheet that lists backstory events and milestones for my key characters. So it wasn’t to difficult to put all of the info from the books written to date together into one comprehensive series bible.
However, the deeper I got into this series the more I realized I’d need an additional document to keep track of the world I was building. Because I found myself losing track of where the different residences and businesses were in relation to each other. So after I finished the first draft of book three (A Family For Christmas) I finally bit the bullet and decided to draw up a town map. I had to dig into all three books to get things laid out properly, and I found one or two inconsistencies that I had to take care of in the edit stage of the third book but I finally had a good working copy in hand. I initially drew it up by hand, but the nerd in me wanted to have it on the computer so I wouldn’t have to keep up with a piece of paper.
Since I already had an image creating/editing software package I pulled it out and went to work. I decided to keep it simple and use straight lines for the streets even though I pictured some of them as being more of the winding variety. Then I found some clipart I could use for the buildings and plugged them in.
Once I finally had it set I was not only able to use it as a visual reference as I wrote new books set in Turnabout, but it was easy to update as I described additional residences and business/landmarks in those other books.
It’s not fancy and it’s by no means drawn to scale, but it helped me keep the relative positions of everything straight.
If you’re interested in taking a peek at my map, you can find it at this link: https://www.winniegriggs.com/images/Turnabout-Map.jpg
And speaking of my Texas Grooms series, Harlequin has been gradually reverting the rights to some of those books back to me and I’m repackaging and reissuing them as I can. I’ve also renamed the series from Texas Grooms to Turnabout Hearts.
In December I released His Christmas Matchmaker (formerly titled The Holiday Courtship) and just last week I released Her Tailor-Made Husband (formerly titled A Tailor-Made Husband).
I still have several copies of these books under the old titles that I’d like to find a home for. So leave a comment – let me know how important it is to you that the author is consistent in those sort of details from book to book or if you really don’t notice.
His Christmas Matchmaker
A guilty secret… Vowing to put her past behind her, schoolteacher Janell Whitman has resigned herself to spinsterhood and she’s erected walls to guard her heart from all but her pupils.
A solitary heart… Hank Chandler is quite comfortable with his uncomplicated bachelor life. But when he suddenly finds himself the guardian of his orphaned niece and nephew he knows all that that will have to change. Not only do the children need a mother’s love, but he’s not fit to be a single parent. So he’ll need to marry quickly, whether he wants to or not.
A Christmas bargain… Seeing their need, Janell impulsively reaches out to help the hurting Chandler family. But when Hank proposes a businesslike marriage she draws the line at becoming his wife. She softens her refusal, however, with a counteroffer – she’ll take care of the children after school and help him find an appropriate wife in time for Christmas. After all, how hard can it be?
Her Tailor-Made Husband
What she needed was a clean break. what she got was a fake engagement.
Hazel Andrews has been in love with Ward Gleason since she was an adolescent. Her admiration and attraction for him have only grown over the years as she sees his dedication and integrity in action. Ward, however, continues to see her as only a friend. Frustrated, Hazel decides it’s time for a change and accepts her aunt’s invitation to join her in New York. But fate has other plans…
Ward Gleason had to grow up quickly. Man of the house by age ten, he took on all the responsibilities of a grown-up, including guilt over a family tragedy. Now serving as sheriff, Ward is determined to do the people of Turnabout proud. When he finds an abandoned child, he knows he’ll need help caring for the five-year-old until her situation is resolved. Hazel seems the perfect person to watch little Meg during the day, but when he learns of Hazel’s plans to leave Texas, it’s more than disappointment that settles in Ward’s gut. Could his feelings toward Hazel have deepened without him realizing it?