Message From The Author
MORGAN'S MERCENARIES: THE NEXT GENERATION
Lindsay McKenna Shares the Story Behind Her Record-Breaking Series
and Her Two New Spin-offs Launching This Year.
By Lindsay McKenna
Imagine, the legacy of Morgan's Mercenaries first began
back in 1988.
But the events that gave life to Morgan Trayhern and his cache of courageous comrades started in 1984, when I challenged the editors at Silhouette to let me write three linked books, released back-to-back. Well, the response was tepid, to say the least. My editor said it couldn't be done. There were two issues at stake. A linked trilogy had never been done in category. And the idea of releasing several books in close succession could potentially overexpose an author. I urged them to let me try the first tack. And they said, 'yeah, go ahead', and I'm sure promptly forgot about my endeavors, thinking it was impossible.
I, on the other hand, was inspired and set out to write category romance's first trilogy about the Travis family. Red Tail (Silhouette Desire #208) was published in 1985, exactly as I had envisioned it. The second of this unsung trilogy, Dare to Love (Harlequin Temptation #76), came out in 1986. Book two was down and put to bed! I was on a roll as far as I was concerned. I was showing Silhouette that a category writer could create a series of books. Book 3, The Right Touch (HT #101), came out in 1987 and my series was complete. I was proud.
I presented these titles to my editor at Silhouette and said, "See? It can be done!" I begged for a chance to create a "real" series under one imprint and have it recognized. Since I'd proven I could do it, my editor decided that yes, I could "officially" do a series. But she said it had to be something really good.
I responded with another idea new to category: the military romance. I wanted to use the series as a "vehicle" that would honor the men and women of the service community, especially those who were harshly judged as "murderers" in the 1960s. I know because I had been in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. People now separate out the person from the war or military situation, but that wasn't my experience.
Aptly titled "Love & Glory", the series about the Trayhern siblings launched in 1989 with A Question of Honor (Silhouette Special Edition), followed by No Surrender, and finally, Morgan's tale, Return of the Hero. I added a prequel, Dawn of Valor, about Morgan's parents, in '91. But the response to Morgan in book three was dramatic. My readers wanted to know more about him and that got me thinking about anchoring Morgan into a "job," where readers could see how he and his growing family were doing while reading about a new hero and heroine. And "Morgan's Mercenaries" was born! Since then, I believe I've created the longest ongoing series in the history of romance writing.
With the publication of First Born (June), which follows the next generation of Trayherns, there are twenty eight books that have spun off my original "Love
& Glory" series, plus two anthologies.
I have enjoyed seeing the children of Morgan and Laura Trayhern grow up throughout the "Morgan's Mercenaries" series. I wanted readers to get to know them, so that by the time their stories came to life, they would be eager to
follow them through. The time is now.
First Born is Jason Trayhern's story, the first of the five siblings. I really looked forward to completing his tale because of his checkered past—which includes getting kidnapped by drug dealers at 6 years old. His scars from the past have made his life fairly unhappy since that time, and finally he has a chance to overcome his unhappiness.
Lucky for Jason, Annie Dazen walks into his life, and whether Jason knows
it or not, she is going to offer him a second chance at living his life in a more positive manner.
I also wanted to tap into my own background, for no writer writes outside of herself—ever. For the longest time, I have not written much about the spiritual aspects that I live daily as an Eastern Cherokee métis. But with Jason's book, it just seemed so right to dip into that vast well of experience. Deep wounds scar us at the spirit level. And Native Americans, with their own unique medicine and healing, always work with a person's spirit first. Heal the spirit and you heal the person. Annie Dazen knows this. And it is Jason's spirit that is wounded.
I'm a working shaman, so my life consists of more than just being a writer. My close friends and my shamanic students know this, but readers do not. And shamanism can and does save lives and certainly improves them. First Born is a wonderful vehicle with which to share that part of my world through Annie.
Mysticism also permeates my second series spin-off, "Morgan's Mercenaries: Sisters of the Ark", created for Silhouette's Bombshell launch next month. Daughter of Destiny follows an ex-military heroine on a vision quest to look for missing totems from the Ark of Crystals, belonging to the Eastern Cherokee nation. The second book, Sister of Fortune, will
be released in November. Then I return to the next generation of Trayherns with A Good Day to Die, a May 2005 release from HQN.
Hard to imagine that it all started with three back-to-back books in 1988.
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