Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lucinda Riley Discussing Her New Series

Seven Sisters_FC_US


The Challenges of Writing a Seven Book Series
by Lucinda Riley

Surprisingly I don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of writing an internationally based seven book series. If anything, I see it as a gift – because unlike when I normally finish a book and feel bereft that I have to leave my characters behind and then wonder what to write about next, I am excited by the thought that I will develop the same characters further and know exactly where the story is going for a number of years.

I simply see ‘The Seven Sisters’ as one huge 4500 page book (1.2m words..) split into seven books, each a stand-alone story in its own right.

Writing a book set in all kinds of locations around the world certainly isn’t an issue. I travel extensively to promote the books and the places I see and the experiences I have whilst travelling then ignite my passion to write about them. For example, I went to Rio in Brazil to promote ‘Orchid House’ in 2011, and there I met the great granddaughter of Heitor da Silva Costa, the creator of the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue that overlooks Rio. She told me the story of how the hands and head were sculpted in 1920’s Paris, and the mystery of which woman was supposedly the model for his elegant, long-fingered hands. This was the inspiration behind the first book of ‘The Seven Sisters’ series.

I have always written about exotic and fascinating locations – places my readers, and I, want to escape to, and the second book in the series, ‘The Storm Sister’, contrasts strongly with the heat and vibrancy of Rio – it is based in the frozen but beautiful Norway and also in Greece. Later I will be off to the Lake District and great country gardens of England, Ayres Rock in Australia and The Far East.
The actual process of writing and editing a series does provide a few challenges, but generally they are challenges that exhilarate and excite me. I have to weave the overall plot through each book and keep tabs on each sister and when and where they are. This gives me sleepless nights – I must make sure that as I write each book, I  think back to previous stories and forward to future ones to ensure I don’t contradict myself or find the plot line I wish to take is blocked by circumstances I had not foreseen.

Each sister’s story has to start concurrently and with the same line ‘I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that my father had died’. This all remains ‘on file’ in my head; I rarely write things down.

The astrological and mythological links add other dimensions to the series, and the use of anagrams makes it even more enjoyable for me. Despite its challenges, ‘The Seven Sisters’ actually feels like quite a selfish project because adding these elements is what I have always wanted to do.
There is also a hidden plot line going right through the series like an invisible thread, and I have to ensure the clues are suitably subtle and consistent across all books. I won’t say too much more but it surrounds the mysterious father that adopts the sisters from all across the globe. I am thrilled to see extensive social media speculation already on ‘who is Pa Salt’.

So, although I am enjoying the whole project immensely, the series has worried some others – I have an 80yr old fan from Norway who wrote to me concerned that she might not live to read all seven books. Also my publishers ask me ‘what happens if you die half way through the series, Lucinda?’ I say I have told the plot to my husband – but in reality I suspect that he has forgotten it all already!

THE SEVEN SISTERS by Lucinda Riley
Atria Books | 480 pages | 978-1-4767-5990-6 | May 5, 2015 | $24.99


Lucinda Riley_author photo

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, and The Midnight Rose. She lives in London and the English countryside with her husband and four children. Visit her online at LucindaRiley.com.

I have read EVERY book Lucinda Riley has written and have loved them all.  My favorite was The Lavender Garden.


  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    Whilst I am still not certain that I could undertake reading a seven volume series, with each book being something of a monster read in its own right, I am oddly intrigued by the concept and storyline so far.

    Lucinda's post was such an interesting read and I am definitely off to check out some of the other books you mention, seeing as you are such a committed fan and I trust your judgement to always come up with some excellent recommendations :)


    1. I LOVE her books.

      Check out my reviews if you like. They are all reviewed on Silver's Reviews.

      Thanks for stopping, Yvonne.

  2. Okay, Elizabeth...I trust your judgment too, BUT (and I'm sorry this does not pertain to this post) I am in the middle of "The Splendour Falls" right now and I know you've read it and I just wanted to say WOW. There was a plot twist (a death) that took me totally by surprise. And I don't have anyone else to say OMG to. So, it's you! hahaha. Anyway... I know you Loved the Lavender Garden. I will give it a try, as this is a new author to me too.

    1. That is my favorite of her books.

      They are all awesome, but The Lavender Garden was the best in my opinion.

      Susanna Kearsley is awesome too.

      Thanks for stopping, Debbie.

  3. I'm really excited about this series...thanks for sharing this guest post, Elizabeth! I've read The Lavender Garden and The Midnight Rose and loved both. Thinking about doing this series on audio - did Midnight Rose on audio and it was fabulous!

    BTW - heard you were going to be at BEA this year...hope to meet up at some point!

    1. The series does sound very good.

      Loved The Lavender Garden.

      I would LOVE to meet you at the BEA. Let's try to say hello.

      Thanks for stopping, Kristin.

  4. This sounds like something I could commit to, especially since it sounds like there will be one book coming out per year (like the 80 year old lady I'm figuring out how old I'll be when it's finished!).

    1. LOL on how old you will be. That is funny.

      Thanks for stopping, OnDBookshelf.

  5. Wow. Such a huge undertaking. I was glad to read that she said each would be a standalone as I really don't like cliffhangers. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

    1. Standalones are much better for me too.

      Thanks for stopping, Diane.

  6. Thanks for stopping, everyone.