Back in Fortune's Bed
When my editor called with an invitation to write a book in the Dakota Fortunes continuity series I hesitated for, oh, three seconds before accepting. The Fortunes of Texas is one of the longer and most popular of the Silhouette mini-series, you see, and the first that I'd glommed as a devoted Desire reader. Be part of the Fortunes saga? Absolutely, I said.
At that stage all I knew was the title of my book—Back in Fortune's Bed--that my hero was one of the Australian Fortunes, and this would be a reunion of past-lovers. Oh, and the book would be set in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My immediate research, therefore, covered two areas. First up, I needed to find out what had already been written about Max Fortune's family background in Australia. The series editor found me a copy of the series "bible" that explained how these Fortune cousins ended up in Australia, where they lived, how they'd made their fortune (excuse the pun.)
I also managed to find a copy of Karen Rose Smith's "Marry in Haste", which featured Max's brother and his family backstory. Next, I researched Sioux Falls and the February weather in South Dakota. Thank heavens for the internet and the friends I have made in the mid-west who helped me beyond the statistics to what heavy snowfalls and icestorms and airport and road closures meant to those who lived through them. This was my first mid-winter book and I have to say I enjoyed using the bleak weather as an extra external element on the romance development between Max and Diana.
The other big--and fun--part of any continuity series is working with the other authors. In this case I found myself working most closely with charlene Sands (Fortune's Vengeful Groom, Mch) and Jan Colley (Expecting A Fortune, May.) Charlene's heroine Eliza and my heroine Diana were sorority sisters at Wellesley, and it was through Eliza Fortune that Diana came to meet Max...both the first and second times. Eliza has a significant role in Back In Fortune's Bed, and likewise my Diana plays a part in Charlene's book.Jan and I worked even more closely as our heroes are best friends and business partners. They came to South Dakota on business, to inspect horse stud farms and purchase stock for their joint venture into breeding thoroughbred racehorses. Max's cousin, Skylar Fortune, runs a small but successful stud farm on the Fortune estate outside Sioux Falls and she helps introduce them to the right people in the industry. Jan and I had a lot of fun researching the horse industry and coming up with the layout of Sky's barn and the horses therein, as well as looking further afield.
When you think of horse breeding, horse racing, thoroughbred horses, horses of any kind, you think of Kentucky and the blue-grass county. A significant portion of Back In Fortune's Bed is set in Lexington, and as a horselover with a yen to visit this part of America I had a ball both researching and writing those chapters. I hope you enjoy reading them, too.