Pippa Heart Presents
The journey of one (relatively) young, single girl’s romance with Harlequin Presents!
by Editorial Assistant Pippa Roscoe
Behind the scenes of a continuity!
It’s May and you know what that means for Presents… Yes, the continuity is back, bigger and better than ever! This year we are introducing you to the Correttis; Sicily’s most powerful, most notorious, most outrageous family – and where there is scandal, there are always secrets.
Behind the closed doors of their opulent palazzo, ruthless desire and the lethal Coretti charm are alive and well. We invite you to step over the threshold and enter the Correttis’ dark and dazzling world… Young, rich, and notoriously handsome, the Correttis’ legendary exploits regularly feature in Sicily’s tabloid pages! But how long can their reputations withstand the glaring heat of the spotlight before their family’s secrets are exposed? Once nearly destroyed by the secrets cloaking their thirst for power, the new generation of Correttis are riding high again – and no disgrace or scandal will stand in their way…
But while you’re reading Sicily’s Corretti Dynasty, the Presents team are already planning the next! So I thought I would tell you a little bit about how we create a continuity and what we love most about them.
We often like to start with what newspaper articles have caught our eye this year, what TV series have we been most obsessed with, what stories we have loved most… However, where we end up is often a million miles away from where we began!
And once we’ve hit upon our idea, then the meetings start. In we go to our secret closed-door room, laden with biscuits, tea, sweets and chocolate and we don’t emerge until we have found our story! If you pass that room, you can hear laughter, screams, groans, frantic typing, even a few pages being torn up as we start all over again with a new idea. Sometimes the best ideas come from the last fifteen minutes of a meeting, but they could also be the first idea that caught us and never let us go.
Then we begin to look at the characters and their back story – where they have come from, what has shaped them, and what they need to learn from their relationship with their hero/heroine. From there, we flesh out the individual stories in the present, focusing on a wide range of nationalities, locations and conflicts.
The thing I enjoy most about planning a continuity is the research. Sadly we weren’t able to fly out to Sicily (that would have been AMAZING!) but I do love scouring the internet for images of characters and locations…finding character inspiration, the family trees, the family names! That’s always a fun thing to overhear in the office… what’s an authentic name is always tricky. Is John an alpha hero name? And there are always the favourites that have imprinted on our minds because our writers have created such great characters around that name and we can’t use them (Lucas is one in particular!).
And when we finally emerge from the room we’ve been holed up in, for what sometimes feels like months, we have a finished bible. But undoubtedly the best thing about any continuity is seeing what wonderful worlds and characters authors create from the bare bones of these ideas. The emotionally powerful highs and lows, the stomach churning journeys each character takes to the path of true love. It’s reading the amazing stories that makes all the tea and biscuits and planning worth every single minute.
To whet your appetite, a prequel to the series, Uncovering the Correttis by Carol Marinelli, was made available (FREE) to readers. Be sure to download this perfect introduction to this breathtaking series.
So ladies, tell me – what do you like most about our continuities? Do you have a favourite? If so, why?