Since my Alison Kent website is in the middle of a big overhaul and the blog is in maintenance, I’m going to talk some here about books written under that name…
In late 2004 and early 2005 the first five books (one single title, four novellas) in my Smithson Group series were released. The next book followed mid-2005, two were released in 2006, one in 2007, one in 2008 (along with reprints of the original 5), and the final two in 2009. The publisher introduced the series with this tagline:
Meet the members of the Smithson Group… Highly-trained alpha males whose best work is done undercover. Unimaginably skilled, they’re the spies you want on your side… of the bed.
They were fun books to write, especially since I was influenced a lot by Alias, and probably a little bit by the original MacGyver. The plots are as outlandish as were those of the TV shows, but the people were as real to me as any I’ve written since. Thing is, the publisher didn’t do the best job of branding. The first novel and the next four novellas had a similar look using equipment “spies” might be found with. (Remember, this was over a decade ago!)
The one to follow got its own look, I thought, yay, branding with the two after that, but no. The last four finally had some continuity, but too little too late. I’d planned more in the series, and was in discussions with my editor when she passed. I moved on, finishing up with Harlequin then writing my Hope Springs and Daltong Gang books.
When I got the rights back for the series, I decided to group them accordingly and have covers designed to show each set of books. The first five lay the groundwork for the SG-5 team’s conflict with Spectra IT. That arc then concludes at the end of book eight. IMO, all the stories still stand alone. But there is the Spectra IT element threaded through those initial eight books. That story line is wrapped up before the final four books, and those are only tangentially related: a brother, an agent on vacation, a cousin, a chopper pilot. I reissued all of the books last year, and I loveed the new covers, but they weren’t selling as well as I wanted, so I’ve recently redone some of them.
The first bunch I redid were the four novellas. The rest of the books are full-length novels. I’d seen some of the dudes I’d picked originally on a lot of other covers, so went a different route this time. These are a little more in line with what’s out there selling and I can picture each of my guys fitting these photos perfectly! (Eli McKenzie, yum!)
For the last four, I took a completely different tack, and who knows if it will work! Rather than guys which are all the rage, I decided to go with the girls! Of course each one still hints at the man involved, because what would good romance be without a partner? If this change flops, it’ll be back to the drawing board, but I love them!
So what do you think? I’d love to know!
And you can find out more about the books here: http://alisonkent.com/smithsongroup.php