After I finished the Jane Austen Academy series, I wasn’t sure what to write next. I hadn’t sought out the realm of Jane Austen Fan Fiction on purpose. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until after my series was almost complete.
My first writing love was regency-style* historical romance novels, specifically the likes of Julia Quinn, with family and fun and humor and very little in the way of truly evil villains. You know. (Yes, I know, kind of like Jane Austen! I seriously didn’t see the connection at the time. I’m slow…)
When it came time to find another series, I was drawn to a character I had created when I wrote my Gentlemen Next Door series of romantic regency-style historical novellas. Sera was a Countess, destined to be a Duchess, and quite young and ethereally beautiful. She is introduced in the series as a young lady who helps introduce other young ladies into society and unintentionally reveals that while she is married and happy, she might not be happily married.
I really hated that she wasn’t happily married. How could I do such a thing to one of my characters? Especially one I liked. It bothered me and so I revisited Sera.
And in finding Sera, I found her sisters. Five sisters in all, to be exact.
“Sisters?” one of my writing partners asked. “But you don’t have sisters.”
This is true. I have three brothers. But I’ve always wanted sisters.
“Wanting sisters isn’t the same as having sisters,” this writing partner insisted.
I understood her concern. But even though I don’t have sisters, I do have very, very close girlfriends. With sisters. I understand the love-hate-love relationship that can exist. The way birth order affects dynamics. How fundamentally different (and yet the same) a set of siblings can be from each other.
Thus the Belle sisters were born.
Alice “the bossy” Belle. (She’s in charge.)
Bridget “the bookish” Belle. (She’s got quite the imagination.)
Charlotte “the bovine” Belle. (She really isn’t all that chubby, people can be so cruel.)
Dinah “the blasé”. Belle. (She like Spock….only not an alien or in space.)
Sera, “the belle” Belle. (She’s quite pretty. But there’s so much more to her…)
And where there are five sisters, there are also five gentlemen and five kisses. (For the record, I do know plenty about kissing!) So I hope you’ll join me on this journey, even if I don’t know anything about sisters.
- I say regency-style because true regency romances tend to be more historically rigid than regency-style historical romances.