Gayle Callen author
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How the Books Relate...

You can quickly tell I love to plot in trilogies! As an author, I do so much work making characters come to life that I enjoy allowing them to appear as secondary characters in other books. But I never want a reader to feel like she's missed something if she hasn't read the books in a certain order. I make certain each book can stand alone. That being said, readers also like to know how the books relate when they're plotted in trilogies. This page is my answer to that!


"Secrets and Vows" Series

cover of Compromised cover of On Her Warrior's Secret Mission cover of the Knight Who Loved Me cover of The Bodyguard Who Came In From the cold

This series is based on a family, two brothers and their sister, and a friend. Compromised's heroine Elizabeth is the best friend of Katherine from On Her Warrior's Secret Mission. Katherine's brother-in-law James is the hero of The Knight Who Loved Me, and his sister Margery is the heroine of The Bodyguard Who Came in from the Cold. Sounds confusing, but I swear it isn't! I set this series in the middle of a real historical moment, when Richard III was about to lose his crown. I came up with my fictional plot idea when I was doing research and saw that several of Richard's noblemen secretly planned to betray them. So what would happen if my heroine knew the truth? And a whole idea for a series was born. (WARNING: if you don't want a plot element spoiled, don't read the rest!) A fun detail:  in Book #2, I named the villain James after my husband, just to be cute.  Before I knew it, James had reasons for what he did, and I couldn't make him a bad villain, and suddenly--he was the hero of Book #3!    

"Highland Weddings" Trilogy

cover for The Wrong Bride cover of The Groom Wore Plaid cover of Love with a Scottish Outlaw


The Wrong Bride is the first book of my "Highland Weddings" trilogy--my first foray into Scotland! I was itching to try something different, so I moved back a hundred years from the Victorian into the Georgian era, where Scotland and England didn't exactly get along. I love the clashing cultures, especially since in the first two books, our heroines are Scottish but raised in England. There's a marriage contract signed in childhood, mistaken identities, a kidnapping--and that's just in the first book! That awful marriage contract continues to plague our new hero and heroine in the second book, The Groom Wore Plaid as they try to satisfy the terms and bring peace to their warring clans. In the third book, Love With a Scottish Outlaw, Hero #2 Owen's sister Maggie strikes out to find her own happiness--and loses her memory! I've always wanted to do an amnesia story...

"Brides of Redemption" Trilogy


Return of the Viscount Surrender to the Earl Redemption of the Duke



Return of the Viscount, Surrender to the Earl, and Redemption of the Duke are the three books in my "Brides of Redemption" trilogy. Since my last trilogy was centered around three women, I decided to go for the guys this time. I wanted to create three men as close as brothers, and what else can bring men closer than war? One hero is still a soldier, the other two have resigned their commission, and they all come home to atone for the mistakes they made that caused the death of three of their fellow soldiers. They plan to help the families left behind--and all three families have women who desperately need their help!

"The Scandalous Lady" Trilogy


In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady A Most Scandalous Engagement Every Scandalous Secret

I loved the characters in my last trilogy "Sons of Scandal" so much that I decided to tell the stories of their female cousins/sisters. This is the "Scandalous Lady" trilogy, so named because the first book introduces a nude portrait, and we don't know which heroine is the model. Also, Scandalous Lady is the name of diamond that's the subject of a life-or-death hunt in the first book. I give you clues through all three books, In Pursuit of a Scandalous Lady, A Most Scandalous Engagement, and Every Scandalous Secret, but hopefully you won't figure out until the end who the real nude model is!

"Sons of Scandal" Trilogy


Never Trust a Scoundrel Never Dare a Duke Never Marry a Stranger

"Sons of Scandal" is my new trilogy set in the 1840s about three scandalous male cousins. I wanted to explore what it would be like to come from scandalous parents and grandparents, and either live up to that history or try to change their lives for the better. I thought of how three very different men would respond to notoriety. One becomes a scoundrel to outdo his parents (Never Trust a Scoundrel), the next cousin becomes the perfect duke after overcoming tragedy, (Never Dare a Duke) and the third cousin enters the army to escape it all (Never Marry a Stranger). In the first two books, everyone thinks this cousin is dead, but he's going to return with a vengeance.

"The Sisters of Willow Pond" Trilogy

The Lord Next Door  The Lord Next Door  Viscount in her Bedroom
"The Sisters of Willow Pond" is a trilogy set in the 1840s (surprise, surprise!). It's about three sisters whose father kills himself, and what they have to do to survive. Victoria, Meriel, and Louisa Shelby are closer than best friends; they're sisters who banded together during a distant childhood.  In the Victorian era, if a gentlewoman became poor, she only had a few ways to earn money--marry, or become a companion or a governess. I've always wanted to write a governess story!  But first I chose a classic plotline, one of my all-time favorites, a Marriage of Convenience. Definitely the usual way for a gentlewoman to find security, and the man to get something he needs. Hmmm...and that could be...anything. In The Lord Next Door  Victoria goes looking for a husband and finds the boy she wrote to during childhood. In The Duke In Disguise, Meriel teaches the son of a mysterious duke.  In The Viscount In Her Bedroom, Louisa works for an elderly woman with a blind grandson.

"Spies and Lovers" Trilogy

   

"Spies and Lovers" is a trilogy set during the Victorian era in the 1840s.  The three heroes are a band of spies, tracking a traitor through three books.  But if you've read any  of my books, you know that I definitely enjoy the romance relationship the best!  I came up with the premise about three spies, because I was looking to create heroes who were comrades-in-arms, closer than brothers. No Ordinary Groom and The Beauty and the Spy actually take place in the same time frame, so there are a couple identical scenes in each book.  The only difference is, you'll read the scene from a different main character's point of view.  Plotting the first book was fun, but the second one was...tricky.  There were so many things I couldn't do, because I'd already "set the scene" in the first book.  Another challenge was making sure each book stood alone.  I don't want my readers feeling like they have to read my books in a certain order!  In A Woman's Innocence, the final spy gets his lady. I don't want to say too much so I don't ruin the surprise!

The "His" Trilogy

   

My second trilogy didn't start out with a title, but became the "His" books by default.  My editor came up with the title His  Betrothed, and we decided to keep "His" going.  These books are set during the 1590s, the Elizabethan period (think  "Shakespeare in Love").  To many readers, they're just as medieval as my first books, but historians like to insist that the medieval period ended in 1485, when the first Tudor kings came to power.  So technically the next era (including Queen Elizabethan's reign) was the Renaissance. More than you wanted to know, I bet...;)  So anyway, I was reading a research book (my favorite thing to do!) about the Spanish Armada, and how some ships were destroyed at sea, leaving sailors to be washed up on the Irish coast.   I started to think, "What if he washed up on the English coast?" I decided my hero couldn't be Spanish, so "What if he was a British spy?"  And then, since my hero Spencer was away spying for the Crown, I gave him a twin brother who took his place--Alex, the hero of His Scandal.  And Alex had to have a buddy, someone he could talk to, who also set up a plot that continued into the third book--and there you have Edmund, hero of His Bride.  So do you think I like to base my books around men? ;)


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