We're so thrilled to be here on the HEA blog today! The five of us are celebrating the release of our super hot Wedding Dare continuity series! A continuity refers to stories by different authors that take place at the same time or one right after the other, sharing characters, settings, and plots. The Wedding Dare series kicked off with Laura Kaye's Dare to Resist, which tells the story of how the bride and groom fell in love, and continues with four sizzling stories all set at that first couple's wedding, including:
• Baiting the Maid of Honor by Tessa Bailey
• Seducing the Bridesmaid by Katee Robert
• Best Man with Benefits by Samanthe Beck
• Falling for the Groomsman by Diane Alberts
Today, we wanted to share some behind-the-scenes scoop about how we handled the challenge (or madness, depending how you look at it!) of five authors all writing in the same world and using the same characters!
Q: How did you decide who got to write which characters and what your characters would be like so they remained unique from all the others?
Tessa Bailey: In this case, our editor played to our strengths and helped assign character types. It was so important to have these characters stand out as vastly different from each other, since the books are releasing at the same time. I was given Reed, the broody, anti-social law enforcement officer, who falls for the sunshiny people pleaser. Julie was a challenge because my heroines are usually stubborn, rather than sweet, but I had a blast pairing these polar opposites together.
Katee Robert: It really helped to have an outside source (or editor) looking at the big picture as we planned these books. We knew going in that each character had their own place within the group, and sometimes that's only possible when you already have the group picked out before you even start. For example, my heroine, Regan, was the ballsy go-getter of the group. She's that friend who's always pushing the limits and dragging the rest of her girlfriends along with her. On the opposite side, I knew that my hero's core group of guy friends was a balanced one. The groom, Colton, is the brains and the other groomsman, Reed, is the hell raiser, so my hero was the fun-loving one who threw everything into enjoying life to the fullest (and using his playboy persona to protect himself).
Samanthe Beck: I got the best of both worlds with my characters. My hero, Logan McCade, is the third of my McCade brothers, so I already knew him a little bit when I started to write Best Man with Benefits. I knew he was outgoing, confident, adventurous, and a little bit driven. I couldn't wait to throw something like falling for his best friend's shy, adorable, strictly off-limits little sister at him! My heroine, Sophie, was a product of the Wedding Dare continuity. She's the outsider — a little bit younger than everyone else, a late bloomer, but, underneath all the angst and insecurity, every bit as adventurous as Logan!
Diane Alberts: As Tessa said, our editor helped a lot with that. I was given the best friend's BFF trope, which I love, love, love writing! Tyler, I decided, was going to be a hot doctor with a proclivity for dirty talking, and Christine was going to be the one who he slept with eight years ago ... and then never talked to again. I'd never done the reunited lovers trope before, and I had tons of fun with it! With them! Especially when they were fighting because passionate fighting leads to ...
Laura Kaye: I had it a little easier where characters were concerned because my book was releasing first/separate from the others and I joined the project after the other four authors had done most of the heavy lifting in world and character building, so I could work around what the others had already established. That also meant that I needed to work the existing backstory about how the characters had met, knew one another, were related, etc., into my story. It was a fun challenge using part of a world that other authors had created!
Q: Why and how did you come up with the concept of the "wedding dare"? How did that help or hinder writing a story with shared characters and plots?
Katee: The wedding dare was the inciting event. It's one of those things so many people joke about — hooking up at a wedding — and so we decided to put it into play and force our bridesmaids to put their money where their mouths were. By creating this situation where our heroines are determined to seduce a groomsman, we paved the way for some SERIOUS shenanigans. Because nothing can go as planned!
Samanthe: I loved the "wedding dare" concept as soon as I heard it, but, to be honest, I didn't think it would play too much into my story, because shy Sophie would NEVER deal herself into a dare like that and say, "I'm going to bag the best man!" But Sophie surprised me! She turned out to be quite the dare-devil, much to Logan's delight. He's a little less delighted when he finds out he's been the target of not one, but two bridesmaids. I think he says something like, "My God, I've been passed around like a canapé." :)
Diane: It was a great way to push the characters, the women in particular, into action. And I love the idea of all these strong, independent women making these bets, while the men are COMPLETELY clueless. They're just carrying on, without a clue that they're being auctioned off to the highest bidder. It just creates the perfect setup for a week of fun for our girls. My girl, Christine, doesn't join in the bet. She's too upset because Tyler is back in her life after years of nothing. So to say it throws her off when he's claimed by someone else is the understatement of the year. ;)
Laura: Dares can be fun and sexy and filled with conflict in general, so I thought it was a great way to tie the series together and create an inciting incident to kick it all off. In my prequel story, I incorporated the idea of the dare by making it a standing part of the couple's backstory — part of their rivalry included daring and betting one another to do things. They just never thought it would go so far ...
Tessa: We needed to give these women a push to send them after the groomsmen. They are all driven individuals who would have a hard time turning down a challenge, especially when presented by their college best friends/sorority sisters. It made the series fun and gave us a jumping off point at their first initial meeting to send them off in different directions.
Q: Did you have any interesting plot or character continuity goofs along the way? How did you make sure none of the stories contradicted one another?
Samanthe: OK, yes, Creepy Glen! We ... cough, cough ...Tessa (whew, 'scuse me, I sneezed), came up with the idea of a weird, on-the-make guy who would wander through all of our stories, showing up at the most awkward times and generally making a nuisance of himself. I think, at the end, we were going to discover Glen had absolutely no connection to the wedding and was basically crashing the whole thing. He never made it to the page, for a lot of reasons, but Creepy Glen will forever live in my heart.
Diane: OMG, Creepy Glen. We loved him, but he was cut from the book, haha! I think I kept a character named Glen, though. Maaaaybe. But I think the main thing came from making sure that we didn't confuse characters. I accidentally, after weeks and weeks of editing/writing, had it in my head that my heroine and hero, Christine and Tyler, were siblings ... which would have made my book a WHOLE other genre. Ha!
Laura: Most of my consistency issues came with Diane's book, because her hero is my heroine's older brother, and her heroine was my heroine's roommate, so we had to coordinate a lot. Otherwise, I got out of a lot of the heavy lifting by writing a story that took place at a different time than the other four. You can't imagine the work the other four did — I have a ton of respect for the planning that went into the Wedding Dare series!
Tessa: I had the brilliant idea (not) that was Creepy Glen. I thought it would be funny to have a recurring guest in all of our books who is basically a slimy wedding guest who keeps popping up at inopportune moments and making passes at the girls. Not surprisingly, he was nixed in his inception. RIP Creepy Glen.
Katee: *salutes Creepy Glen* He was the greatest idea ... or so we thought. But we nixed a lot of the problems before we even started writing because we had a REALLY intense timeline set up that we shared with each other. On that timeline, we saw where any given character was at any given time, and had access to our overall timeline. It helped save us from any huge snafus, as well as the fact that we all read each others' books with an eye for keeping things consistent. It was a huge task, but it was truly amazing seeing it all come together!
Find out more about the authors at their websites: