Building a Novella

By Mary Jo Putney

The Hero

One of the fun things about writing a novella is that it gives me a chance to go back and work with secondary characters who intrigued me but wouldn’t work for a full length novel. This process gave me Anthony Raines, the young duke who is the hero of my Seduction on a Snowy Night novella. Anthony first appeared as the younger brother of Julia, heroine of my novel Never Less Than a Lady. I very seldom write dukes unless there is a powerful story reason to do so. In this case, Anthony and Julia’s father, the Duke of Castleton is a bully and a brute who drove Julia into exile and made the life of his heir, Anthony, a nightmare. Anthony has a deep sense of responsibility to the Castleton tenants, which means finding a way to work with his horrible father. He managed that and grew into a reserved and respected young man who was never really happy except for the brief summer when he’d fallen in love with Lady Diana Lawrence.

The Heroine

Lady Diana didn’t appear in an earlier book, but she was part of the background story of Once a Scoundrel. That book’s heroine, Lady Aurora “Rory” Lawrence, was a traveler and she and her cousin Constance had enjoyed an extended visit with their Aunt Diana in India. Then on the way home, they were captured by Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean. Though Diana was off stage, she was a strong influence on Rory, and I knew she was a very young aunt. Now why had she been living in India?

The Story

Once I figured that out, I had my story! Anthony and Diana had fallen deeply in love, but he was a minor and his father hated all Lawrences, so Diana left England rather than destroy Anthony’s life. When she returned to London, she was sure that he’d forgotten her and married someone else. But he hadn’t!

The Catalyst

This particular story had a third essential character: a very large black and white tuxedo cat called The Panda. Diana found him as a stray kitten in Bombay, and he’d grown into a cat of great presence, substantial appetite, and a profound sense of entitlement. He’s also a crucial factor in the romance of Anthony and Diana–and as I type this, the real Panda is lying a foot away from my keyboard and snoring gently. My human characters are fictional, but my cats are generally real cats!

For fans of holiday romance magic steal away with the reigning queens of Regency romance–plus one or two dukes, an heiress, and a headstrong beauty–to a surprise snow storm, the comfort of a blazing fire, and the heat of a lover’s kisses. This collection of novellas is not to be missed.

A Christmas Abduction by Madeline Hunter
Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill–and a creative plan to insure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection…

A Perfect Match by Sabrina Jeffries
Whisked away from a wintry ball by a commanding colonel, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for Lord Heywood. For he is a man sworn to marry only for money–and Cass is an heiress who will accept nothing less than love…

One Wicked Winter’s Night by Mary Jo Putney
Dressed as a veiled princess, Lady Diana Lawrence is shocked to discover that the mysterious corsair who tempts her away from the costume ball is the duke she once loved and lost. Now ensconced with Castleton at a remote lodge, will she surrender to the passion still burning hotly between them?