The series itself will be called London Shadows.
I love this. My editor recommended something that has "London" in it as immediate branding of the setting, and after toying with a few ideas for a few days, this is what I came up with, and I'm so glad they liked it. The "London" comes because, though the majority of the books aren't actually set in London, my main characters are all from there, and it greatly affects who they are. Because they're not upper-crust London-dwellers. They're former urchins . . . they're the underbelly of London . . . they are the shadows. Not to mention that the name hints at the mystery and suspense that will be threaded through the series, and, if you're getting very deep into it, the shadow of war over all of Great Britain in 1914.
So that's the series . . . but what about each book?
My original plan was for The Name Thief, The Music Thief, and The Time Thief. I liked these quite a bit, but the team at Bethany House wanted the titles to immediately evoke the era, and while these sound cool, they certainly don't scream "historical romance!" A very valid point. So I sent in a list of alternative titles for each book, and I'm thrilled with the ones they decided on:
A Name Unknown
A Song Unheard
An Hour Unspent
These sound much more historical-romancey . . . plus they have the same rhythm as The Lost Heiress, The Reluctant Duchess, and A Lady Unrivaled, which should give readers a sense of continuity as we switch to the new series. Which means I'm one very happy girl. =D
A Name Unknown will release next July (2017), following thief Rosemary Gresham as she leaves London for a job unlike any she's done before--she has to steal a man's good name. She heads to Cornwall (where I will be heading in September, SQUEEE!) to the home of Peter Holstein, suspected German spy. But what she finds is a man who stutters so badly he can barely speak, not one filling important ears with German sentiments. She finds a man with secrets, but with a faith unlike anything she's ever seen. What she finds is a good man . . . and so how can she steal his good name? Peter, meanwhile, is debating changing his name to the nom de plume he uses for his popular adventure novels that he writes in secret. But would even that convince his neighbors to trust him and remind them that he is English at heart? As he digs into his family history with Rosemary's help, he seeks to discover why his family first left Germany to begin with . . . and whether it will ever again be enough to be simply Peter Holstein.
I'm just now doing my research for book 2, A Song Unheard. This one will focus on Rosemary's "sister" Willa Forsythe, who is sent to Wales in autumn of 1914 to infiltrate the Belgian Symphony Orchestra, who was brought to Wales by two wealthy sisters to save them from the German occupation of Belgium and bring arts to their principality. Willa, a violin prodigy who has never had a day of training in her life, is eager to rub elbows with these world-class musicians . . . even if her true purpose there is to steal from one of them, so that he's forced to accept the help of her boss in getting his super-intelligent little sister out of Brussels . . . and into British Intelligence. Among lessons in music, hints of the Belgian Resistance, and a foray into Belgium to steal his sister for him, Willa and violinist Lukas will learn more about themselves than they ever thought they could . . . and unleash music inside Willa capable of soothing more souls than just her own.
The final book is just barely an idea, LOL. An Hour Unspent will feature the older brother of my clan of thieves, Barclay Pearce. He will be issued a challenge to steal an hour from Big Ben's clock tower, and his research in how to do so will take him to the door of the clock-maker who helps care for the iconic clock--and, inadvertently, to the aid of this clock-maker's daughter, Evelina, a suffragette who is frustrated at how the war is stifling her cause. This one will delve into how clock-makers found new uses for their talents in this time of war, helping to create weapons rather than timepieces, and also on how these fierce suffragettes turned their attention to the war effort as well . . . and accomplished more for their cause in so doing than any of their marches or rallies had ever achieved.
I'm so excited for this series!!! And will soon be launching a contest related to A Song Unheard, so stay tuned for that (tuned . . . ha. Punny.).