Writing (and Reading) a Series

First of all a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the Riskies’ own Diane Gaston, the recipient of a Washington Romance Writers Award for her body of work. I have not read the citation that accompanied the award but expect she may share it eventually!

And now back to the regular schedule:

Series are my favorite thing to read AND write. They must be the single best way to develop a market for books. I wonder if the idea for series grew out of the way stories were serialized in the nineteenth century (you know, Dickens.) If anybody has an answer ton that question please leave a comment.

I have no doubt that series are a great way to develop a reader base because I love them as both reader and as a writer. Here’s why: because it lets you get to know characters better. And if I like the protagonists in a book there is nothing I want more than to know what happens next to them and in their world.

As a writer I like series for the same reason but from a different perspective. I know what happens to my characters after the story ends. One couple is not as happy as I would wish and in another the wife dies in childbirth and she haunts her husband until he finds someone else to love and also someone who will love their daughter. Nope, not gonna tell you what books they are because no romance reader I know wants to hear that the HEA is not quite perfect.

The Pennistan Series I wrote for Bantam (TRAITOR’S KISS is the first) is still in my mind, years after I have technically finished the series. It’s a series where family members appear in each others books and secondary characters find their own romance.

ONE_MORE_KISS_ResizedMy favorite scene is the final one in the final book (ONE MORE KISS) when the whole family gathers for Beatrice and Jess’s wedding. As the Duke, his brother says, “having Jess here makes us a family again. Having every one here for his wedding to Beatrice completes us.”

It was my chance to give readers a look at each couples life since marriage. Elena makes the Duke laugh more. Gabriel’s wife Lynette is still uncomfortable at the thought that her brother-in-law is a duke. Mia and David “make bickering seem romantic” and Olivia Garrett would rather be in the kitchen coming up with a recipe for salmon that will appeal to her almost sister-in-law, Beatrice.

And Michael Garrett, Olivia’s husband, has the time to talk to everyone who approaches him, and in the process learns more secrets than anyone else in the room. The fact he is the Vicar of the Church in Pennsford might have something do with why people are so willing to confide in him.

Michael and Oivia are the launch point for a new series I am starting as soon as I come home from vacation. The stories (I’m thinking 40K word novellas) will be set in Pennsford and each story grows from a secret a parishioner shares with Michael. He never betrays a confidence but we, as readers in his point of view, will see the story develop from the perspective of what he knows.

For sure you will hear how the stories progress right here.

So what do you like best about series as a reader and/or a writer?

About Mary Blayney

I have been writing both contemporary and regency romances since 1986, first with contemporary romances for Silhouette and later with historicals set in the Regency period. Family will always play a strong part in my books since, for me, family relationships are as fundamental as the love between a man and a woman.
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