Roguish rakes and dashing dukes: Ann Lethbridge and Christine Merrill on writing new mini-series

Roguish rakes and dashing dukes: Ann Lethbridge and Christine Merrill on writing new mini-series

Meet the rakes who run the most notorious club in town in The Society of Wicked Gentlemen

We were lucky enough to get chatting to our lovely authors Christine Merrill and Ann Lethbridge to discuss The Society of Wicked Gentlemen mini-series.

How did writing The Society of Wicked Gentlemen series differ from your normal writing process?

Christine Merrill

When we do continuities, the editors usually give us a rough plot for the series.  We know who marries who, and where all the bodies are buried (assuming there are any).

But the authors of the individual books are left to work out the details. We have to make sure we don’t step on each other’s toes and put a character in two places at one time, or cause someone else’s hero to move houses in the middle of the story by picking a new location for his manor. There was a lot of give and take between us, figuring out the location of the gentleman’s club, and making sure we understood the personalities of the characters that move back and forth between stories.

After that’s worked out, we are all left to add details to our stories that flesh out the ‘bible’ and make it into an actual book.  The editor’s ideas are really only a rough framework, and there is still plenty of space for a writer to put their individual voice into the work.

Ann Lethbridge

My normal process is a fluid rather vague meandering path, where a scene occurs to me with the characters appearing in unusual circumstances. I then have to figure out what their story is and who they are. It is like wandering around in a fog trying to figure out where you are and who is there with you. I rarely have any idea of the plot at the beginning of a book..

Writing a continuity means the outline of the story is already established as well as the characters and I had to follow the story line while while retaining the creativity and originality of my own voice. It was exciting to read the ideas presented by editorial for the overall story.  I had goosebumps the first time I read it. It was also fascinating to take those bare bones outlines and develop to interesting and novel characters, fleshing them out into people with  hopes, dreams, and fears with a view to crafting emotionally satisfying story.

What’s the best thing about collaborating with other authors on a project?


I love getting to meet people I know mostly from their books. We authors might see each other once a year, at a conference, but most of us have never met at all. And it is always fun working globally instead of locally. Diane Gaston and I are from the states, but Sophia James is from New Zealand and Ann Lethbridge is Canadian.


Writing is normally a solitary endeavor, so working with the other authors, working out how our stories fit together, created a very different dynamic. We had a few laughs along the way and the occasional negotiation was required to make our particular stories work or fit together. The other authors were wonderful to work with. The best part was working with my fellow conspirators to mesh our stories together so they formed a cohesive whole, despite that each story stands alone. There were many jokes flying back and forth across the Ethernet as we ran scenes past each other.

Who was your favourite character to write in The Society of Wicked Gentlemen series?


Is it wrong to say Putah, the Mynah bird? Because I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments on him.  I always like to throw a little something odd into my books and have a big soft spot for animals of all kinds.  But I’ve never owned a bird, but I can’t resist talking to them, when I meet someone else’s.


I have to say, I loved writing Rose’s story the best. I so often write about noblewomen and high society. To write and ordinary girl doing an ordinary job in a very unusual place was a delight. I love that Rose respects herself and that she helps the other ladies who worked at the gentleman’s club. By the end of the story I felt as if she had become a friend. I was so pleased when she found her happy ending.


And just for fun…if you could turn these books into a movie, who would be your dream cast?


Hmmm.  For Georgiana, I’d want someone who could play comedy well.  Maybe Anna Faris or Jennifer Lawrence (who can do anything).

Frederick really needs to be a British actor, who can scowl well and is, of course, very handsome.  How about Kit Harington or Dan Stevens?

We need good villains, of course.  For Georgiana’s step mother, I could see Carrie-Anne Moss or Cate Blanchet.  And I see Nash Bowles as Timothy Spall.

And Ben Snyder was never anyone but Vinnie Jones. I loved him in Galavant (which is an American show all romance fans should see).


There are so many great actors and actresses out there it is hard to choose. I can only speak for my book, as these are the characters I know best.

I think Jake would require someone tall dark and handsome. Someone like Tom Ellis who plays Lucifer in the tv series by the same name comes to mind. His brooding good looks would work wonderfully.

And for Rose I think I would like to see someone like Emily Blunt cast in her role. Her ability to play historical females so beautifully would make her the ideal candidate.

Thank you, Ann and Christine, for taking the time to chat to us! We’re very excited about this series…


You can buy the first two books in The Society of Wicked Gentlemen mini-series now:

A Convenient Bride For The Soldier by Christine Merrill

An Innocent Maid For The Duke by Ann Lethbridge


Coming soon:

A Pregnant Courtesan For The Rake by Diane Gaston

A Secret Consequence For The Viscount by Sophia James