As winter drags on in Iowa, I’m looking hopefully toward spring. One of my winter projects this year is to reread all of my Regency novels, novellas, and short stories, making a list of all the named characters.
Something I’ve always enjoyed doing is tying my books together with little details, threads that run through several stories. Even titles that aren’t part of a series will often have these little Easter eggs hidden here and there – casual connections that I hope will entertain the attentive reader, without annoying someone who’s picked up just one book.
In fact, all of my contemporary romances are linked together in a kind of complex spider web. Things like restaurants, hotels, and stores tend to show up in multiple books, and occasionally a character from a previous book will have a walk-on role in another story. Most of my contemporary heroines wear Midnight Passion perfume and Milady Lingerie — both of those products (as well as many others) first appeared in their own stories and then drifted through other books.
I’ve created some of those connections with the Regency books as well, though I wish I’d been wise enough to start keeping a list from the very first book. Still, better late than never. Having this complete list of names and the roles that each character, major or minor, plays, will let me add more connections, making my Regency world an even more interwoven society.
Of course the main connector in my Regency romances is Lady Stone – that unrepentant old harridan, the most notorious gossip in London – who appears in every one of the stories. Sometimes she’s a major character, sometimes only a walk-on, but she’s always somewhere in the mix.
But there are other bits that overlap as well. Minor characters appear in various stories — the Carew sisters who are a big part of Her Wedding Wager also appear in The Birthday Scandal.
At the end of An Affair for the Season, James and Julia attend Lady Stone’s ball, in her house on Grosvenor Square. Lady Stone’s companion, the one who’s discovered in embarrassing circumstances in the music room, is Portia Langford from Just One Season in London. And the house just off Portman Square that James tries to borrow for a tryst is the hideaway located at Number Five, Upper Seymour Street, which first appeared in The Mistress’ House.
And if you think it’s not a balancing act to keep all the characters consistent, and the time frames straight, think again! At least once, I slipped up badly — generally Lady Stone is said to be tall, but in one book she’s short. However, I think perhaps the person who ‘s noticing her in that story is very tall himself, so she only looks smaller than usual. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
Those are just a few of the Easter eggs waiting to be found. I hope you’ll have as much fun looking as I did in hiding them.