A Pink Carnation Companion

Once again, I come seeking advice. As the Pink Carnation series continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder to keep track of who’s related to whom, who’s doing what when, and who that villain was again. My publisher and I have been discussing putting together some sort of Pink Carnation companion, with the vague idea that it might include character sketches, timelines, and family trees.

What I’d love to know is– what would you like to know? What would be most helpful to you as a refresher when you’re picking up a new Pink book? What bits of information do you find yourself most in need of?

As a related question, if there were to be some sort of Pink Companion, what format should it be in? On the website? In a booklet? Downloadable as a PDF? Or just a timeline or a family tree at the front of each new book?

As you can see, I’m all over the place with this project and desperately seeking a sensible place to dig in. Any and all suggestions incredibly welcome!


  1. Christine on July 22, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Oh this is an absolutely lovely idea. I was just thinking as I was reading Pink IV that I could not remember what had happened before, who had married who, and worst of all….who the pink carnation was?? It was terrible but it was because I had read all the other books last year. I am now re-reading in advance of the next release so I know.

    I would find family trees in the front of each new book a great help to remember where everyone is. A more in depth look online with trees, timelines, and highlights such as important missions or events wold be wonderful. I think online would be the best format. It could be more interactive like a family tree or timeline that could drill down with more detailed and important information.

    Another idea is to make the site a bit more interactive with the fans contributing to the information. There is phenomenon called the Wiki pages (like Wikipedia). Through Wetpaint.com you can create a free wiki page that others can contribute to. I saw this with a TV show and it worked well with everyone contributing to character bios and episode guides. Just a thought.

    Hope this helps. Thanks so much and good luck

  2. Courtney on July 22, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I agree with Christine–an online resource would be fantastic, especially since you already have a strong web presence, what with the blog and all. 🙂 It would give you (and us) much readier access to the info, rather than waiting for something to be published. That’s not to say I would turn my nose up to something in print, though. Several of my other favorite authors of multibook “sagas,” Elizabeth Peters and Diana Gabaldon, have whole “companion” books out. Peters’ Amelia Peabody series always seemed to have the same sort of style as I see in the Pink Carnation–her characters were always meeting up with historical figures. The companion continues in that vein, in such a way that an unfamiliar reader might mistake it for a textbook (for instance, the “P” section of the biographical sketches includes both Amelia Peabody and Emmeline Pankhurst). Might be worth a look, if you were thinking about creating an ink-and-paper guide.

    In any case, family trees would be great, and I would love to see maps–maybe one of London at the time, and a national one showing where Sibley Court, Selwick Hall, etc. are meant to be, and then one to show Jane’s many travels in the service of the Foreign Office. Also,(and forgive me if you’re already doing this; I don’t have my copies at hand to check) I’d love to see a nonfiction bibliography, for further reading.

    Thanks for the chance to weigh in, and best of luck!

  3. Gina on July 22, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    For one thing, I was always a tad confused on what exactly was going on historically in Emerald Ring. I would LOVE family trees, and Courtney’s comment above mentioned maps….Maps would be cool. I’d love to see a floorplan of Selwick Hall or of the Balcourt House…..This is a great idea! Keep us posted on progress please!

  4. Camille la Flamme on July 22, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I think the idea of a family tree prologuing (?) each book is best.

  5. Ariana on July 22, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    I totally agree with the family tree, it’s a must because it gets a bit confusing. I’ve seen family trees in other novels with a map of the area of London etc. They have been really helpful and since they are in the book as you go reading you can go back and re-check when it gets tangled up.
    In reference to the maps, the only book of the Pink series that I would say really needs the map is IV since there is a a lot of running around. It would be great to have it all on the website, and in the books just include the family trees or sort of a concept map of relatives. The floor plans of the houses are a great idea,especially for book 1&2. It would be great if it could all be included in the website because it makes it more accessible.
    Hope the feed back helps! Good Luck!

  6. Stephanie on July 22, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Many of these ideas are great. I’ve reread the books with each release because I can’t remember the details. I think information available right here on your website would be fantastic. How much easier is that. It would be great to have basic events listed for each title with a timeline and some character sketches. Personally, I like a family tree in the book. Thank you for the great entertainment.

  7. Rachel on July 22, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Family trees, please! An online companion for historical information would also be helpful. Sadly, my European history is a bit rusty. Personally, I like to re-read the previous books before each new release, because I enjoy them so much. Thank you for writing such a wonderful series and for asking for reader feedback.

  8. Michelle on July 22, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I think a family tree, a timeline, and maps would be outstanding! Like the others that have posted, I also re-read the others before the new one comes out, so they are fresh in my mind. This would be so helpful, especially when you lose your footing when you read and forget which family a character belongs to. Thank you for asking!

  9. Jessica on July 22, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Hmm…I think, as demonstrated on a discussion thread I started on your Pink Facebook group, a primer on the peerage would not be amiss. Family trees are a great idea, too. Maps, particularly of London in the early 19th-c., and today, would be fun.

    Maybe you could have a list of the Pink Carnation’s exploits that gets updated with each novel!

    Also — a glossary of 19th-c. items and cultural information? What *is* ratafia? Why does Mary remove her corset but Amy, Hen, and Letty never mention theirs in their love scenes?

  10. Andrea on July 22, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I think a family tree would be just thing for in the front of the book and on the website. But it might also help if you include friend ties along with family ties. I also appreciate the chance to give an input and i can’t wait till the next book is out!!!

  11. Andrea on July 22, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    I love the idea of a family tree at the front, but I am balancing that with my memory of other authors’ works where their characters grew so numerous that the pages of the book were insufficient to contain the tree and still save the reader from serious eyestrain.

    Maybe a family . . . twig at the front of the book, rather than a full tree? Twig plus timeline? Something that centers on the contents of that book in particular, but which is supplemented with a direction to find the complete tree online? That way the information found at the front of previous editions won’t be outdated at the advent of the next book (and the addition of new characters) but at the same time we also won’t necessarily NEED to have the website on hand if we just want to brush up on what the book itself will contain.

    Just found your site this evening, by the way. A friend recommended your books to me about a month ago and I have been gobbling them up as greedily as time permits. I am nearly finished Vaughn and Mary’s story and I found I needed a convenient outlet for all my giddy delight!

  12. Amy Mc on July 23, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Several years ago, Masterpiece Theater aired a mini-series called “The Forsyte Saga.” On their website, PBS has an interactive family tree, complete with pictures of the actors/principal characters, and descriptions of each. It may be WAY more difficult to execute than I realize, but I think it could be helpful to those who have a harder time reading the small print used for most family trees. (The link to the PBS website is here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/forsyte/credits.html

    Then just click on “Forsyte Family Tree.”

    I think a timeline showing how Pink events overlapped “current” events would be helpful too.

    I love the idea of a companion piece. Thank you for being willing to consider it!

  13. Paige on July 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    What a fabulous idea! I love what everyone has suggested so far, especially Jessica’s comment about maps. What a great addition. That would make a companion even better!
    I think an online resource would be very useful, but being the bibliophile that I am, I would also have to have an actual book to put on the shelf with all my others! That would be a must! 🙂

  14. Alexandria on July 23, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I think that maybe a downloadable booklet on the website would be neat, you could get an artist to sketch out what the main characters look like! It could have a family tree, and maybe some deleted scenes that did not make the print (like an epilogue) and maybe a short story or something! Thanks, Alexandria

  15. Lois on July 24, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Hmm, well, I vote for anything of the above. . . but maybe something in the books, but more and more detailed with anything online. In the end, when I totally enjoy a book or books that are part of a series, regardless if you really need to read them in order or not, I always bring out the previous ones and reread before opening the newest. That way, I pretty much never forget. LOLOL 🙂


  16. Maggie on July 24, 2008 at 9:34 am

    I think a timeline and family tree at the front of each book (like Julia Quinn’s in the Bridgerton Series) would be really helpful. That way before you start each new novel the reader would get a refresher course. Oh and this is completely off topic but I just got signed to a really awesome agent for my book All That’s Best of Bright and Dark. I’m super excited, and I’m telling anyone that will listen.

  17. Lauren on July 24, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Maggie, congratulations!!! That’s incredible news. I hope you’ve been celebrating like crazy!

  18. Maggie on July 24, 2008 at 11:47 am

    You bet I have 😀

  19. Anne on July 24, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Lauren, this is such as great idea! Thanks for the opportunity!

    Jessica has a good point about the fashion and undergarments. I have often wondered why Mary wore a corset but Letty didn’t. Hmm.

    I would love to have maps and floorplans in a complanion book. Sketchs of landmarks would also be nice, for exmple the bridge where Hen and Miles spilled the cabages.

    Deleted chapters, backstories, and shorties on what characters thought of the adventurs of their friends would be jems. I have often wondered what the other girls thought about Mary’s capers.

    Newpaper stories on the exploits of the Pink Carnation and friends would be fun. Maybe a collection of clipped articles from the Intelegencer and the gossip rags?

    I’m also looking forward to Miss Gwen’s novel. hahaha. Thanks!

  20. Elizabeth on July 24, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I personally hate online databases when reading books, yes they are useful for after or before, but when you’re reading you really want it right in your hands. I love love love the idea of a family tree, also like a little summerary of each character like the do at the back of the George R R Martin song of fire and ice books would be nice.

  21. Chelsea on July 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I’m all in favor of a PDF or some online resource. That’d be super helpful! 🙂

    — Chelsea 🙂

  22. Robin on July 29, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    I agree with everyone. I really like the idea of family tree’s at the beginnings of the books. It would also be nice to have something online possibly similar to what Stephanie Laurens has.

  23. Katelin on July 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    I would love to see a booklet of some sort. It would be great to have some kind of family tree. But, more importantly than that I would love some historical backgroud on any relevant events taking place throughout the course of the book. You could also do it as an online resource since you do have a wonderful website. And perhaps just publish a family tree or any other information that would be or import at the begining or end of the novel.

  24. Elizabeth on July 31, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I like the idea of a family tree, in the front of every book. So far, the only things that have confused me are the houses– so, as someone else said, floorplans would be cool. I can’t think of many books that have them; Agatha Christie’s “Mysterious Affair at Styles” has one for the floor where the murder occurs, and I found it quite helpful.

    A website would be really accessible. If you don’t want to spend an insane amount of time on it yourself, we fans would love to help (I’d already been thinking of starting a fansite). Something like the HP Lexicon (before the legal debacles) would rock: character bios, timelines, etc.

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