The Write Way Café welcomes Elizabeth Harmon, who encourages readers to go Easter Egg hunting in a unique way!
Who loves an egg hunt?
Nothing against bunnies and chocolate, but the Easter Eggs I love best have zero calories. Sometimes they’re out in plain sight, others you need a keen eye to spot. My favorite Easter Eggs are the hidden references tucked into books, movies and TV shows, for savvy fans to find.
Stephen King frequently mentions of the towns of Derry and Castle Rock, and characters with the same last name (Halloran, Deschamp, Flagg) show up in unrelated books. Turns out, King loves to hide Easter Eggs that weave together his sprawling story universe.
Series romance readers are familiar with reunion scenes in which the earlier books’ happily-partnered characters, and often their children, return to inspire (or annoy) the newest heroine and hero along to their own HEA.
All well and good, but if I’m jumping into a series late, I often skim these scenes because I don’t know any of the characters. If I’m picking up a book mid-series, it can feel like I’ve walked into a movie that’s half over.
For my Red Hot Russians series, I wanted the books to be truly stand-alone stories, that a reader could enjoy and follow no matter which one she read first. I also wanted the flexibility to leave my primary story world of elite figure skating—like I do in my new release Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, which is set in Antarctica.
But readers expect that series books will feel connected, so I describe my books as stand-alone stories with recurring characters. Carrie and Anton from Pairing Off appear as coaches in Getting It Back, as does their training center in Lake Shosha, a fictional town outside Moscow. The Lake Shosha center’s rising star, Daniil Andreev, will be front and center in Shining Through, the next full-length Red Hot Russians novel, which comes out this fall.
But there are more subtle references too, and here’s where the eggy fun comes in.
Without giving too much away, I’ll hint that two future heroes make cameos in Pairing Off, and we learn a little about the perils awaiting one of them after he leaves figure skating. Book two, Turning It On, is set in reality TV, and continues that troubled ex-skater’s story. It also offers a glimpse at the successful new career of Pairing Off’s smarmy, snarky villain, Cody deWylde. (Cody’s also the villain in Turning It On, but he still gets some of my favorite lines.) Getting It Back’s heroine Amy is a fan of Turning It On’s reality show, while Misha, the hero, knows one its stars. We also learn that Misha’s brother Alexei, lives in Antarctica.
Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella is Alexei’s story. There are subtle references to Turning It On, Getting It Back, and the upcoming, Shining Through--which contains several EEs of its own. Heating It Up also hints at a few ideas I have for future stories set in the Amity Bay world, including one that brings a Red Hot Russians supporting cast member down to Antarctica for a romantic adventure.
I don’t plan what eggs I’ll hide or where I’ll hide them ahead of time, the situations seem to present themselves organically. But it’s fun for me as a writer, and even more fun when I hear from readers who’ve found them. So grab a Red Hot Russian and happy hunting!
Red Hot Russian Alexei is king of the Ice…Antarctic style
Alexei Zaikov loves his life in remote Amity Bay, Antarctica, until a new luxury guesthouse threatens the community’s future. As head of Amity Bay, he’s driven to save it, but first must discover who is hiding out in the supposedly deserted lodge…and why.
Nora Bradford has lost everything; a promising career and the man she loved. Glacier Ridge Lodge, the architectural masterpiece she designed but was denied credit for, seems like the perfect place to grieve her loss, until a ruggedly handsome Russian arrives on her doorstep, determined to bring her in from the cold.
Desire sparks, leaving them hungry for more. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise, doom their romance?
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Contemporary romance author Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different. She is the author of the Red Hot Russians sports romance series. Her debut novel Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA® Award Finalist.
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