Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Write a Series?

I spent some time on the Ellora's Cave fan chat group a while back and "met" someone who had never read any of my books. She asked me some questions, I assume to get to know me a bit better before spending her hard-earned cash on a book by an author she didn't like.

One of her questions had to do with series and why an author decides to write them. Great question, and it made me think about my own books. When I got the idea for Rent-A-Stud, I never thought about writing a series that would include books about the other two Cooper siblings. I wanted to tell Jade and Zach's story. I figured I would type "The End" and go on my merry way with a different set of characters in the next book.

Nuh-uh. Michelle and Brent, Zach's sister and brother, wouldn't leave me alone. They demanded that I tell their stories. Well, when my characters start making demands, I'm gonna listen! Michelle's Men was born, the story of Michelle and the two men who fall in love with her.

While I was writing about Michelle happily making merry with her guys, Brent was standing behind me, impatiently tapping his foot. "Write MY book," he told me. "Hey," I told him back, "I have contracts for other books. You'll have to wait."

Brent wasn't exactly patient. He kept bugging me until I finally HAD to write his book so he would leave me alone.

So two years after the release of Michelle's Men, Brent now has his own story--Almost Perfection. I had a lot of fun redeeming the "bad boy" of Coopers' Companions. He needed a strong woman to tame him and show him how special the love between a man and woman can be. Robin is that woman.

I didn't mean for Zach's book to be the first of a series, but I truly enjoyed writing all three books. Will I do another series? I plan to. I love reading them, and loved writing a series more than I thought I would.



Anny Cook said...

Most of my stand alone books seem to generate series. Those secondary characters just seem to demand their own stories. I love reading series because I already know many of the characters so they feel like old friends.

Diana said...

I have readers who keep asking me to tell the stories of "side" characters and I see that as a sign that I made the characters interesting enough that people want to know more about them. The fact that the other two brothers pestered you into telling their stories is testament to the fact that you created them as interesting to begin with, Lynn. Good for you! :)

Nikki_Soarde said...

Oh, I WISH I could write a series. I know readers love them, and I certainly understand why. The trouble is, for as compelling as many of my side characters are, I always seem to have trouble coming up with a plot that sufficiently tells their stories. Maybe it's because I tend to come up with basic plot/conflict premise first, and then create characters to fit it. I also love the thrill of creating new characters, so maybe that's another reason series just don't seem to me.

The closest I've come is telling Ben's story...a side-character from my Quickie Wild Oats. Beyond that...I'll just keep trying. And cudos to the authors who's do it!

Liddy Midnight said...

Series rock.

Who -- writer or reader -- doesn't want to revisit a place and people they love?


Micqui Miller said...

Stand alone books are fun, but if you love the characters in a novel you've just read, you want to know more about them and continue to tag along on their merry adventures. I think every novel has at least a couple of characters like that.

As an author, I suffer terrible separation anxiety for days, and sometimes weeks, after I type THE END. I've made a place for my characters in my heart. If they come back and tell me they have a story to tell, how could I possibly turn them away.

Here to the entire gang at Coopers' Companions! and many happy sales to you, Lynn!

Redameter said...

In Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, the first of the Travers Brothers series, I had an idea once I created the four brothers, that I couldn't just leave them out in the cold. They each had a story.
With Clint coming next, it was Courting Abby, then Rusty the youngest sprang to mind, and Hannah's Man. But the last one, Jake Travers, is a slow ending.
Along Came Love will be out before long, I promise.

All three of the first books were easy, however, I've stumped my toe with the last one, or it merely because I hate to see the series end?

Ruby Storm said...

Good blog, Lynn! I guess I'm in sync with Miqui in regard to separation anxiety. My Keeper Series was never a planned series but once I'd written Keeper of the Spirit, that family had already moved into my home and heart, lock, stock and barrel! So okay, three brothers equalled three stories and it wasn't a chore but more a labor of love!

I'm sure, Lynn, you felt the same about your Cooper brothers. Sometimes it's just hard to let go! Congrats on that series!


Lynn LaFleur said...

A big thanks to everyone who commented. My Coopers' Companions series spoiled me. I've already started a new series for Ellora's Cave called Lavender Lace. The first book is about half through.


Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Thanks for this discussion, Lynn!

Every time I start writing what I think will be a stand alone book, other people keep showing up! The world mushrooms! It's the plague of loving your secondary characters or your world-building so much you give them a sparkling life that then you, (and readers) want to engage further. But I always seem to expand one series just when a different project needs attention... hmmm... maybe that's some sort of escapist tendency...

Seriously though, my favorite books to write and to read are all series books.

April said...

Great post! I think writing a series is a gift to oneself and to readers. We get to spend more time with the characters we love and so do our readers.

carl brookins said...

I follow many of the previous comments. In fact I write three series just in order to use ideas that don't have universal fit. But if series are a problem for all those readers who want to start at the beginning, do they all avoid us in this time of short runs and short shelf life? a good argument for Epublishing I guess.