Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Temptation Tuesday - The lure of the linked story

Hands up who can't resist 'linked' books? There's got to be a reason why the Niroli continuity series flew off the shelves. This Tuesday at the Pink Heart Society Carol Marinelli talks about the joy (and agony) of linking books ...

I believe most writers have a touch of the OCD gene about us.

You wouldn’t think it looking at my house – but there is this strange obsessive gene that comes into glorious manifestation when a book is linked.

When I fell in love with Levander Kolovsky – Expecting his Love Child – I never expected to have feelings for his brother!! A touch like when I was pregnant with my second child – will I love this one as much as the first? Thankfully I did (In both cases)!

Billionaire Doctor – Ordinary Nurse, is a Medical Romance which is due out in May. Iosef Kolovsky is the hero of the story. I had enjoyed writing Levander so much, in fact, he was probably my all time favourite hero I had written, so I was worried Iosef would be a poor relation. From almost the second I sat down to write, all my worries were put to rest. He was gorgeous enough, sexy enough, conflicted enough and already there enough in my mind, to be a pleasure to write from start to finish.... all I had to do was type up his story as I watched it unfold. A story which, to my intense relief, was very different from his brother’s, Levander.

One of nice things about a linked book is that the characters’ are already there, you know how they will react; you know, perhaps more than in a standalone book, their conflict. The trouble with writing it though, is I find, making sure the reader knows their history too. Particularly the reader who might not have read the preceding book/ books, while, not wanting to bore the reader who has!


I know I’m not alone with this feeling.

Working on a linked continuity – where it is not just brothers, but entire families that are linked and merging, I smile to myself when I email another author with a query about their character – how would he/ she react to this, would he/she do that? The replies are generally instant, detailed and long. Clearly, there has been no consulting of notes, just a glorious response that tells me they know their characters so well, know exactly what they would do/say in a certain situation, exactly how they would react.....

The Royal House of Niroli books are a good example. Many emails flew, particularly between Natasha Oakley and I. I was working on Bought by the Billionaire Prince, while Natasha was working on the next book The Tycoon’s Princess Bride – and by the time I had finished, I knew, not only Luca and Megan (my hero and heroine) but I felt as if I also knew well, Domenic and Isabella. As soon as the books were released I bought the set, yet, I read them out of order – I couldn’t wait to read Natasha’s (and a brilliant read it was too). It was especially thrilling when Natasha was nominated for a RITA for that very book!

All the note keeping in the world, doesn’t compete with the real tiny details in the writers mind in a linked book. That’s one of the reasons I love to write them – and certainly love to read them.

Here are a few images of sexy brothers to feast your eyes on – some real, some scripted.


Carol Marinelli

The billionaire doctor: dedicated, desirable – and rich!

Nurse Annie Jameson is having a bad week – not only has she got to squeeze herself into a bridesmaid’s dress, but she also has to deal with her new boss, Dr Iosef Kolovsky, whose famous family is currently keeping the Melbourne tabloids in business!

Annie is determined not to succumb to the gorgeous billionaire doctor’s charm – until she realises that Iosef has turned his back on his family’s lavish lifestyle and dedicated himself to his work.

At the wedding, Annie and Iosef share the first of many delicious kisses… But if their relationship is to survive the Kolovsky family secrets, Annie and Iosef must ignore the glare of the paparazzi – and start to follow their hearts…

Carol has yet to be persuaded to create a website but blogs regularly at http://www.medicalromance.blogspot.com/.


  1. Carol, I LOVE linked books, both reading them and writing them. Especially brothers. From a writing viewpoint, by the timne you get to brothers 2 and 3 you know them so well you don't have to think about their character, their reaction, what they would think or say. It just flows from the fingers. Loved yr Levander, and looking forward to making Iosef's acquaintance.


  2. Hi Carol

    I'm a huge fan of linked books and although I've only completed four books myself I've already managed to link two of them. When I was writing my second book, The Mile High Club, my heroine's best friend just kept butting into the story, she was funny, flirty and totally reckless and I finally realised why she kept taking over - because she had to have a story of her own. So I've just finished her story, which will be my fourth book - and of course it meant I got to revisit the Hero and Heroine from The Mile High Club while I was writing it and give them three kids! What a laugh.

    For my next book I'd love to do a linked story from my first book Bedded by a Bad Boy, but this story will be a prequel and at the mo my ed's not sure. Anyone know if there has ever been a prequel linked story published by Harlequin so I can have ammunition.


  3. Bron, I still have a Russian brothe to go - the eldest one(yum) + a sister... have loved doing them.
    Heidi, it sounds really interesting - I guess it's all about making it a stand alone, as well as glimpsing favourite charecters. Let us know what happens - oooh, my heads spinning now - it would be fascinating to do...

  4. Carol--your cover is gorgeous. Whew!

    For my 3rd and 4th books I pitched brothers. I was worried about biting off too big a portion so I stuck with just 2 guys. I'm having a great time with this! Maybe I'll have to see about some long lost siblings or cousins!

    I'm looking at your cover again--those people look so happy. Love that pose.


  5. Ellen, there is something soooo special about brothers! And, if they work, it is so nice to explore the family a bit further. I am finding out more that once the conflict is fixed (in your head) the words flow.

  6. Fictional kingdoms are time consuming to create. I reckon it would be *wasteful* not to people them with several hero and heroine possibilities. (Says she who has squeezed in an Arab kingdom next to Oman. Just fits. An alpine principality next to Austria. Oh and Mont Avellana next to Niroli for the continuity we did, Carol.)

  7. Hi Carol,
    I really enjoy "Contracted: A Wife for the Bedroom." I love Hunter. I'm a fan of linked books. It's fun to revisit with past characters.