Friday, March 7, 2008

What's Next?

I’ve been asked a lot lately about what’s next for a Heartsong theme. I explained our current theme awhile back in this post. But now I’m down to only ten historical state settings and ten contemporary states settings that I still need to finish out all fifty. That will take us on through 2010 at least, and release of the collections will extend beyond that. But we have started to think ahead.

Our sales numbers tell us that this state theme was a good one. Readers like these setting-driven stories based in the good old USA. So, we may just do another round. Or we may try something a little different that is still very setting-driven. I do get feedback from readers wanting more exotic locations in foreign countries. But there’s also common feedback asking for things like more books in favorite state settings, more American Revolution stories, more prairie settings, and more mail-order bride stories.

So, the next Heartsong theme is still TBD, but we’re brainstorming. I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have a great idea for our next theme, send me an email at

Happy weekend! Remember to turn your clocks ahead on Saturday night!


Ausjenny said...

being an aussie i would love a few aussie books. I know Mary Hawkins did the great southland i think they were called several years back and i loved them. As they were by an Aussie and were accurate. But i do like the civil war era and the west, oregon trail pioneers also. We dont get all the books here but the ones i have read i have mostly enjoyed and have shared between a church Library and the Town Library.
I just wish there were more Aussie and New Zealand authours out there writing.
oh and even Canadian settings.

Mary Connealy said...

JoAnne, how about not STATES but locations.

Yellowstone Park.
Colorado Rockies.
Black Hills.
Great Bend, Texas
Cumberlin Mountains
Mississippi River
Florida Keys
Great Lakes
10,000 Lakes
Every state would have something and if they didn't, it wouldnt' matter if you missed a state if the setting was enough of an anchor.
You could incorporate the prairie in Kansas Grassland, Nebraska Sandhills, Iowa Cornfield
Do more Revolutionary War stuff with the thirteen colonies or Civil War based novels in the north and south.
so that's EVENTs that anchor them to a place, not land formations.

Or how about National Monuments or National Parks or National Wildlife refuges.

Janet Spaeth said...

Apparently Mary and I are on the same wavelength! (Scary, huh, Mary?)

So, ditto what Mary said.

Plus, what about before they were states? For instance, the historicals split North and South Dakota, when they were the Dakota Territory until 1889.

Thanks, Mary, for giving terrific examples. Feel free to think for me anytime! LOL!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Janet. You are so brave. :)
I like ausjenny's ideas about Aussie books. I think Australia and maybe Canada appeal to American readers in ways say, French or British or more European books don't. I mean there are readers for those locations -Look at Regency England based fiction--but maybe not so much with Heartsong.

But Australia...that could work.

Or how about 'Territories' you could base the books in the historical category in states BEFORE they were states. I'm writing one now based in Montana Territory and it's pretty interesting the behind the scenes research stuff I"m finding for Montana Territory. And it'd have that same States appeal just take it from a little different angle.

Anonymous said...

don't forget puerto rico and guam...they're as close to states as they can be and not be!!

The Write Life said...

I was thinking sets like we do with the novellas would be fun and would leave lots of room for ideas. They could relate by family (three generations or three siblings), or by location (state, region, exotic locale), or by theme (sports, travel, missions) the ideas would be endless, but the title of a 3 in 1 would still have mass appeal for anyone that liked that specific topic.


Ausjenny said...

thanks Mary, I think the Americans think of england a bit like the aussies do as people who took over (or course Australia still hasn't become independant) But the English humour is so differnet and I think that is part of it. Aussies are so laid back and I think we still have a mystic to us. the best books have come from writers like Mary Hawkins as she has the authentic flavor unlike one i read cant remember who but many years back that had so many facts were so wrong. it was a romance and that was good but having it set as she did it would be like putting the grand canyon in new york state she had geographic places that many would know in the wrong area.
But having Australia as a setting writen well would be awesome. also Canada. I would love some books on Mounties.
Of course if its someone visiting australia and its writen as the main charators visiting then thats makes it much better. I did read one like that and it was interesting explaining some of the aussie ways and made it a great book for an aussie.

Cecelia Dowdy said...


I like Mary Connealy's idea about locations. Another interesting location to add would be Washington D.C.

Pam Hillman said...

Mary, great ideas. Forts and other military locations might be easily included in locations like that. How about natural resources and geography?

air travel (The Wright brothers era and/or modern-day flight for contemps)

I like Paige’s ideas of themes, too, and even if you didn’t actually do states with the themes, you could at least have the themes rotate throughout different regions of the country to avoid having a gazillion books set in one area/state.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I would love to do a lighthouse theme all along the east and west coast and along the great lakes area. They were built in different time periods. I also like Mary's ideas around locations and events.

Martha W. Rogers said...

Forgot to check in last week, so am a little behind, but this is a great topic. Mary's idea is a good one. So many beautiful places in the USA that could provide a very romantic setting for both contemporary and historical.
Paige had some good ideas too to help link the three books together.
Also, Washington D.C. could be incorporated with locations and national landmarks.

Darlene Franklin said...

Great ideas! I'll toss out a few more ...

A good portion of the 50 states will celebrate their centennials, sesquicentennials, and bicentennials in the next decade. If it wasn't too late for 2009-2010, there are even the states with the half-century mark (Hawaii and Alaska). It might be fun to revisit those states in time for their anniversaries.

Or - go by decades/quarter centuries. Something like Susan Davis' NH historical books (I've seen them in progress, not published yet) - 3 books all set in NH in the 1690s, I think.

National parks?

JoAnne said...

Great ideas, everyone! Thanks!!