Take eight Regency authors from three countries and ask them to come up with an upstairs/downstairs-themed series and what do you get? CASTONBURY PARK. The first of this Regency "Upstairs/Downstairs" series is published in August 2012 (with a bonus prequel available online in June). This was a new and exciting project and I am so pleased and proud to be a part of it.
We spent some time discussing just what we wanted to do. We decided that the house would be pivotal to the series. It was to be a ducal seat, and the beautiful Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire was quite perfect for our stories. We studied floorplans, some of us even visited the house and reported back, so that we could all visualise the setting.
We decided to set our series soon after Waterloo. The Montague family is in turmoil, the old duke is ailing, his eldest son missing, another killed at Waterloo and the rest of the family struggling to hold the family together and contain the mounting debts.
In between searching for the missing heir, the sons and daughters have their own problems to cope with, including scandalous relationships. We had great fun planning out the lives of this wonderful family and their servants. We had to keep in close contact as we worked on our stories, sharing information, double checking dates and places. The house and its servants feature in every book, although the stories take us as far afield as Spain and India.
So here is the complete list of books – in order:-
Flirting with Ruin (Undone! Prequel) - Marguerite Kaye
The Wicked Lord Montague - Carole Mortimer
TheHousemaid’s Scandalous Secret - Helen Dickson
The Lady Who Broke the Rules - Marguerite Kaye
Lady of Shame - Ann Lethbridge
The Illegitimate Montague - Sarah Mallory
Unbefitting a Lady - Bronwyn Scott
Redemption of a Fallen Woman - Joanna Fulford
A Stranger at Castonbury - Amanda McCabe
My own book - The Illegitimate Montague, is published in December 2012, so watch out for news of this on my website or here on the blog later in the year.
This was a whole new way of working – usually we create our own characters and stories, constrained only by history and our own imagination, here we worked together, bounced ideas around, brainstormed and came up with a whole new Regency world. We think it is a pretty amazing place – we hope you agree!