Q. How do the Maclolm and Suzanne Rannoch books fit in with your Charles and Mélanie Fraser books?
A. Vienna Waltz is essentially the story of Charles and Mel’s adventures at the Congress of Vienna. Their time at the Congress is referred to Secrets of a Lady and in Beneath a Silent Moon there’s mention of a murder Charles investigated in Vienna. But my new publisher wanted new names, so they are called Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch. However, I wrote the book using their “real” names to I could keep the characters and chronology consistent, and I think readers will recognize that they are very much the same characters. Imperial Scandal follows them to Brussels at the time of Waterloo, and The Paris Affair to Paris after Waterloo, during the Bourbon Restoration and the White Terror. His Spanish Bride goes back in time still further to tell the story of their wedding and first investigation together. I like to think that Charles and Mel lead such adventurous lives it’s no wonder some of their adventures are chronicled under aliases :-).
Q. What order should your books be read in?
A. I’ve always liked books that play with time, both as a reader and a writer. I wrote Secrets of a Lady (Daughter of the Game) first, then took the series back two and a half years so I could explore Charles’s family history in Beneath a Silent Moon. I deliberately wrote Secrets and Beneath so they could be read in either order. Neither contains major spoilers for the other. Vienna Waltz, as I discuss above, goes even further back to the story of Charles and Mel’s adventures at the Congress of Vienna. Imperial Scandal follows with their experiences before, during, and after the battle of Waterloo. The Paris Affair continues in post-Waterloo Paris. I also have an enovella, His Spanish Bride, about their wedding. The Mask of Night picks up the story a couple of months after Secrets.
But eventually I realized I had to catch the two series up to each other to get to the stories I had always wanted to write after The Mask of Night. Wtih The Berkeley Square Affair the Malcolm & Suzanne books movie into a sort of parallel universe. The Berkeley Square Affair is set a bit earlier (late 1817) but covers some of the same revelations and developments (though things unfold in a quite different way) as in Beneath a Silent Moon, Secrets of a Lady, and The Mask of Night. The Mayfair Affair is the book I had planned to write after The Mask of Night.
Chronologically here’s the order they take place in:
His Spanish Bride (enovella) – December 1812
London Interlude (enovellla) – June 1814
Vienna Waltz – November 1814
Imperial Scandal – June 1815
The Paris Affair – July/August 1815
The Paris Plot (enovella) – December 1816
Beneath a Silent Moon – June/July 1817
The Berkeley Square Affair – November/December 1817
The Mayfair Affair – March 1818
Incident in Berkeley Square (enovella) -April 1818
London Gambit – June 1818
Mission for a Queen – June/July 1818
Secrets of a Lady – November 1819
The Mask of Night – January 1820
Because of the parallel universe aspect, I would now suggest going from The Paris Affair to The Paris Plot to The Berkeley Square Affair for continuity and then on to The Mayfair Affair, Incident in Berkeley Square, and London Gambit and reading Beneath a Silent Moon, Secrets of a Lady, and The Mask of Night as a group after. Though they do take place in a parallel universe, I think they shed interesting light on the characters. All of the books are written to stand on their own, and I think you can have fun starting the series at any point. If you haven’t started the series yet, Vienna Waltz or His Spanish Bride are probably a good introduction to the characters. And if you’ve already read about Charles and Mel, I think you’ll find that the Malcolm and Suzanne books shed some interesting new light on the characters—even with other names.
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions about reading order, continuity, or anything else relating to the series. Feel free to post questions or to email me through the link on the About Tracy page.
Q. What is the Fraser Correspondence?
A. The Fraser Correspondence is letters between Charles/Malcolm, Mélanie/Suzanne and their friends and family. I’m keeping their names as Charles and Mélanie in the Correspondence, but if you’ve come to the series through Vienna Waltz, you can be assured they are the same characters. In fact, a number of the letters involve their time in Vienna. The letters move around in time, but usually a cluster of them are from the same time period. I post a new letter each week.
Q. Will The Mask of Night ever be published as a print book and/or on other e-book platforms?
A. We’re starting with Kindle, but eventually we plan to to expand to other e-reader platforms. And if the e-book does well, that makes it more likely there a print publisher will pick the book up. Print publication is still my goal. Meanwhile, you can download a free Kindle app that will allow you to read it on your phone, computer, or iPad.
Q. Why are you Teresa Grant for the Malcolm and Suzanne books?
A. Kensington wanted me to have a more historical sounding name. I chose Teresa, because Tracy can be a nickname for it. I’m still the same person, and I still write the same books.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m finishing up the next book in the series, which follows Malcolm (Charles) and Suzanne (Mélanie) to back to London in late 1817 where they are caught up in a mystery involving an alternate version of Hamlet (that may or may not be by Shakespeare), Irish Rebels, the secrets of Malcolm’s family, and Lady Caroline Lamb. It’s provisionally titled The London Gambit.
Q. Will you ever take the series forward after The Mask of Night?
A. Yes. Much as I’ve loving exploring Charles/Malcolm and Mélanie/Suzanne’s early years, I have lots of ideas for stories to tell beyond The Mask of Night. As you’ll have seen if you’ve read Mask, Charles and Mel and the other characters still have a lot of issues to work out, problems to confront, and adventures to engage in.