Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Mystique of Series

I’ve been writing for a while. My first published novels were mostly time travel romances, all of them stand-alone stories that had no sequels. I soon started writing Harlequin Intrigues, and, again, each story mostly stood by itself--although in one instance I was asked to write a book in a miniseries in which other authors wrote the related books.

And then I began writing the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries. DOUBLE DOG DARE, which was published in June, is the sixth in the series, and Kendra will have at least three more adventures. I adore writing the Kendra books!

I’m also writing Silhouette Nocturnes. My first, ALPHA WOLF, will be a January 2009 release, and another one about a woman with Valkyrie powers will be published in June 2009 (the title isn’t certain yet). When I sold ALPHA WOLF, I had ideas for sequels, since the hero of the book is a werewolf who’s a member of a very Special Ops military unit, Alpha Force, composed largely of shapeshifters. At the time, I was told that sequels might not be in the cards, since there were already so many miniseries within Nocturne. That’s why I went to Valkyries instead of more shapeshifters. However, readers apparently like Nocturne miniseries. I’ll also have a Nocturne Bites e-published in January 2009--a novella, and my second e-story. (I did a short Kendra story for Amazon Shorts.) I haven’t written my Bites yet, but it will star a member of the Alpha Force. Perhaps there could be other Alpha Force stories to come. In any event, I’ve introduced some other Valkyrie sorts in my June 2009 book, and hope maybe to tell their stories, too. The possibility of one or more Nocturne series is a lot of fun, too.

So what’s a series? It’s more than one novel, where each follows in some way from the previous one(s). In a mystery series, there’s generally one primary protagonist who has a support cast appearing along with her (or him). In a romance series, though, each story focuses on the relationship between a different hero and heroine. There needs to be a satisfying ending regarding each relationship, in addition to whatever else happens in the plot, which also must be resolved. (I’m distinguishing a romance series from series romance here. Silhouette Nocturne, for example, is series, or category, romance. My Alpha Force novel and novella are potentially a romance miniseries which are Silhouette Nocturnes. Have I confused you enough?)

For someone who’s not the most organized person, I’ve found writing series a challenge. I have to keep track of people, pets, places, plots, time-lines, shapeshifters... lots of stuff! Thank heavens for computers. I’m able to keep lists of important details, and add to them as needed.

But I’ve always enjoyed reading other peoples’ series, and now I take great pleasure in writing them, too.

How about you--do you enjoy reading series? Writing series? What do you like most about them? Least?



Betty Hechtman said...

I like both reading and writing series,particularly since the way series are done now, the characters change and grow. I mean, Nancy Drew never got older, did she? Did her relationship with Ned ever get to be anything but superificial?

Terri Thayer said...

I commend you on your longetivity, Linda!

I've always liked series, getting to meet people like Lynley, Milhone or Pitt and their families and friends again and again. Feels like coming home.

Writing series is more fun than I'd imagined. I thought I might run out of ideas, but there are so many more stories to tell about Dewey and her band of quilters, I'm good for at least twelve more.

I am about to start the second book in my second series (started it on the second, actually!) and I really looking forward to getting back into April's world and seeing what's been happening since I've been gone.

It's a great gig!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I agree, Betty. I've had fun figuring out what comes next for Kendra, and what she does with it. Or, rather, she tells me how she'll deal with it and grow stronger!
And thanks, Terri! The ideas just keep coming, don't they? I always rely on Kendra to stumble onto yet another murder. She's got plenty of them to deal with.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Nancy Drew aged one year in the time I aged 30, lol! Ned never "got any" during all those years, either--a patient guy, indeed!