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Writing for Multiple Harlequin Series: A Q&A with Author Lisa Childs

Author photo Lisa Childs

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Lisa Childs has written novels for just about every Harlequin romance line. From romantic suspense to paranormal, sexy contemporary to wholesome small-town stories, Lisa has captivated readers across the romance spectrum. We asked Lisa about the rewards and challenges of writing for multiple Harlequin series.

Harlequin: You are actively writing for more than one Harlequin series, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming, and two Love Inspired Special Release collections, Cold Case and The Protectors. With such a busy publishing schedule, how do you organize your time?

Book cover Legal Attraction

LC: I am not as organized I wish I was. 😊 I always start out with the best of intentions. I figure out all my deadlines, not just for the full books but also for the proposals, with the focus on how many pages I need to write a day to meet those deadlines. I usually plan on 15 – 20 pages a day. That’s not every day, though. I schedule time off for life and for unexpected things popping up in life and career wise. I still need to figure in more time for edits and art fact sheets for the cover art because they always sneak up on me and cut into the time I’ve allotted for writing. So then the amount of pages I’ve planned on writing each day tends to increase quite a bit as the deadline gets closer. For instance Legal Attraction, a Harlequin DARE book, I wrote in four days while I had a sinus infection. 

Book cover Buried Ranch Secrets

H: Is it creatively challenging to write for series with very different requirements at the same time?

LC: I love to challenge myself creatively. Writing for different lines at the same time keeps my writing fresh—hopefully.  😊 I also write for another publisher as well, longer single title suspense. Once I finish one book, I’m ready to set that type of story aside for a bit and write something new, and nothing feels newer than a whole different type of book or series. 

H: What do you enjoy most about writing for more than one series?  What are the pitfalls?

Book cover The Bronc Rider's Twin Surprise

LC: I love writing for more than one series because I get more releases that way and more feedback from readers. I’m fortunate that readers who like my books in one line have read my books for another line and enjoyed those, too. I haven’t really found a pitfall yet. Some books get scheduled the same month for release, but I don’t consider that a pitfall because it’s fun to promote them at the same time.

H: You’ve also written for Harlequin lines that have ceased publication, such as Nocturne, DARE and American Romance. Are there any series that you miss writing for?

Book cover Taking Back Mary Ellen Black

LC: I also wrote for Harlequin Next too, and that’s the one I miss the most, I think.  Those women’s fiction books were fun to write because they were so relatable for my life.  One of my favorite books I’ve written is Taking Back Mary Ellen Black.  Probably the one that most followed the “write what you know” writing advice. 

I miss Nocturne too.  I enjoyed writing witches and vampires and shape shifters.  I wrote my first vampire book because my editor at that time called and said she wanted a Lisa Childs vampire book for a Christmas novella.  I said, “Of course, because nothing says Christmas like a vampire.”  And that became the title of that book!  😊 

Book cover Christmas with a Vampire

DARE books were short and flirty, hot stories that were fun to write. Heartwarming is very much like American Romance, just longer with more secondary characters, so I feel a bit like I’m still writing for American Romance with my Bachelor Cowboys series. Blaze was another former series that I wrote for and loved, but fortunately the miniseries I wrote for Blaze has been continued in Romantic Suspense – my Hot Shot Heroes

H: What career or writing tips do you have for new authors?

Book cover Hotshot Hero on the Edge

LC: Number one piece of advice is to figure out what kind of writer you want to be.  I’ve talked to writers who want to write series but haven’t even read the books in the line they’re targeting.  Read all the lines and figure out which one appeals most to you and which one fits your voice best.  Writing across lines really only works if you’re able to change your voice from book to book, and if you’re a prolific writer.  You have to be able to write enough books for each series to build your readership in that series, so don’t try too much and spread yourself so thin that there is too much time between in releases in a particular series.

Thank you, Lisa!

Learn more about Lisa at lisachilds.com, and connect on Twitter @Lisa_Childs. And look for Lisa’s newest Harlequin books, Hotshot Heroes Under Threat from Harlequin Romantic Suspense and The Cowboy’s Ranch Rescue from Harlequin Heartwarming coming this fall!