Today I’m pleased to host the lovely Bru Baker. I had the pleasure of meeting her in meatspace a few weeks ago, and she really is as sweet and fun as she seems. Bru is celebrating the release of the second book in her Dropping Anchor series, Finding Home, and talking about writing a series. Thanks so much for coming, Bru!
First off, I’d like to thank Charley for being so kind as to host me. I’ll admit that this blog tour was pretty hastily thrown together, since I’m in the final stages of finishing the third book in my Dropping Anchor series, Playing House. It’s due July 1, and that’s kind of sapped all my focus. The June 23rd release of the second book in the series, Finding Home, totally crept up on me!
When Charley suggested I talk a little bit about crafting a series, it seemed like kismet. How to create something that ties to the other books but still has new and engaging characters of its own has been on my mind for the last two months as I’ve been writing Playing House.
Other than sharing characters, all three books in the series are linked by a common theme. I named the series Dropping Anchor both as a play on the heavy role boats play in all three but also because it means settling in. For Island House, that’s the story of Niall moving on after the death of his longtime partner and finding love again. In Finding Home, it’s Ian finally growing up and seeing that there’s more to life than partying. And in Playing House, it’s Frank realizing that he and Warner really are ready for kids, despite Frank’s abundant protests that they’re not.
Funny thing is, I never intended for the series to be more than two books. I’d always known I would write a spin-off sequel to Island House, but when I sat down to write the synopsis of book two, the characters I wanted to feature kept wandering off the page. The only one who stayed was Ian MacKay, a secondary character from Island House who I’d never intended to do anything else with.
I’d vaguely thought about his back story while writing Island House. He’d fled the competitive corporate banking industry after he’d gotten a large inheritance, ending up on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands with a lot of money to spend and no shortage of one-night-stands willing to help him do it. Honestly, I kind of thought that was all there was to Ian. He was Niall’s fun-loving, never-serious playboy best friend.
Except he wasn’t. And that’s how a two-book series became a three-book series, and how the book I’d intended to write next got put off so I could write about Ian and his journey toward becoming a mature, well-adjusted adult. Most people get there before age thirty-five, but with Ian I think all of his friends and family were just thrilled he got there at all.
Ian shows up in book three a fair bit, so we get to continue to see his progression from a sun-bleached beach bum to someone who actually has good advice for his friends from time to time.
All three books in the series feature different main characters, which I think makes things more interesting. While I love Ethan and Niall from Island House dearly, they got their happily ever after, and there just wasn’t enough left of their story to justify another book. I could have done a novella, I suppose, but I’m much happier tying in glimpses of their life with later books in the series. In Finding Home we get to see them get married—from Ian’s point of view, which is kind of hilarious. Ian still isn’t sure he buys into the institution of marriage, but he’s definitely happy for his friends. And at that point he’s starting to realize that while he probably won’t ever be the marriage type, he just might be the monogamous relationship type—with one special guy, Luke Keys.
For the third book, Playing House, I wanted to bring Ian in as someone my main character Frank can lean on. They struck up a friendship in Finding Home, and when Playing House picks up they’re already besties. And Frank definitely needs a support system, since his entire world seems to be falling apart. He thinks everything is pretty good, and then his husband drops the bomb that he wants kids. On top of that, Frank finds out some things about himself that throw everything into question, so Frank’s a mess. Ian helps with that, and we get to see a bit of Niall, too.
I’m about two chapters away from finishing Playing House, and I’ll be sad to finish it, since it’s the last of the series. At the same time, though, it’s a great ending place for all of the characters. I’ve had so much fun writing them over the last few years!
Finding Home Blurb:
When an inheritance fell in Ian Mackay’s lap, he fled the high-pressure banking industry and didn’t look back. Since then, he’s spent four years living carefree on the island of Tortola, his life a series of hookups and hanging out with friends.
After his best friend moves to Seattle and gets married, Ian finds himself lost. His unapologetic existence doesn’t hold the same appeal, and he wonders if he’s throwing his life away. After visiting Niall in Seattle, Ian decides to stay, but that means taking his life off hold and finding a real job. Meeting Luke Keys, who is about as far from a player as possible, isn’t the plan but might be just what Ian needs. Luke and his values intrigue Ian, and he pursues Luke ruthlessly until Luke agrees to a date.
Their courtship sweeps Ian off his feet, and when the relationship gets complicated, Ian has the chance to cut and run. Habits born from years of being on his own are hard to shake, and self-proclaimed playboy Ian must decide if love is worth fighting for.
You can read an excerpt from the first chapters of both Island House and Finding Home on my website, www.bru-baker.com. I’ll be doing giveaways on Twitter to celebrate the release of Finding Home, so follow me there for a chance to win some fun gifts! Follow me @bru_baker!