Seri(es)ous Ruminations

Sunset While Mary Jo is lazily sailing the rivers of Portugal, we thought we’d fill her day with another dialogue from behind the scenes.  If you ever wondered what the wenches talk about in private e-mails, here’s your chance—

From Pat Rice: I just read this article in the RWR about series where other authors claim that writing them makes life easier.  Will someone tell me how?  Yeah, sure, we have characters and a world already established, but that only makes my job harder as far as I can see.  It limits what I can do with people and places when they’re already built in.  And it leaves me with half a dozen balls in the air that keep growing instead of decreasing as the series continues, until by the last book, I’m locked in and cornered and hard objects are falling on my head.  Screaaaammmm!

From Loretta:
Pat, you can probably hear me screaming with you at times.  I’ve got my Carsington family in Family Tree Maker, and I do spreadsheets for characters but Lf41signingtheregisterpostersI’m always having to calculate dates.  And I’ve had to kill a spouse.  Benedict the eldest started out with a wife, and was supposed to live happily ever after, but that couldn’t happen when he got stuck in my brain and needed his own story.  Luckily, I didn’t make too many decisions at the start of the series, so I had some leeway with the earlier books.  But now, with the youngest son, a great deal is settled–and I think this is part of what’s made this story so tricky to write.

But there are benefits to having some part of the structure already built:  Like the parents, in my case–and the grandmother.  It’s also lots of fun to look at characters from the different perspectives of different family members.  I like playing with the family identities–the Smart One, the Crazy One, etc.  I love exploring family dynamics, and this has been a joy in that way, absolutely.

FromSusan/Miranda:
Loretta, at least you were wise enough to begin with a family tree!  I wrote my Sparhawk Family series one by one, as the mood and character struck me.  I went backwards and forwards in time, through brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters. I was always getting confused.  I wrote them out of sequence, all over the place, through (I think) nine short stories and full books until, at last, I left the publisher and could finally put the Sparhawks behind me. 

But I really enjoyed it, too.  Writing that many books over so many years in history is almost like writing one enormous family saga.  Since most romances take place over a relatively short span of time — often only a few weeks or months — writing a series lets you  update readers (and yourself) about how everyone’s doing.  I especially liked being able to move the family fortunes along with the history.  Since the Sparhawks were primarily a seafaring family in Newport, RI, I could move them from the "fat" colonial times through the 18th century, when the family fortunes are definitely prospering, through the lean days of the American revolution, when the family is scattered by the war, all the way through the final books around the War of 1812.  Couldn’t do all that in a single historical romance, at least not for today’s market…

From Pat:

All right, you’ve twisted my arm into admitting there are certain advantages to series.  I miss the long historical sagas where we can soak up the ups and downs of family history, and I’m a pure sucker for series like Poldark.  I love the family dynamics, although I’m not at all certain readers remember from one year to the next how the different characters viewed one another.  With the MAGIC series, my books came out a year apart, and the only real constant was Aidan.  I never knew which characters would show up.

With the next series (the first book won’t be out until next summer), I’m trying to stick to a straight historical time line–the French Revolution.  They may be in England or Portugal for all I know (and half the time, on an invisible island!), but the historical reference has to advance with the characters.  So I’ll be skipping big chunks of years to get to the exciting bits.  <G>  But I can see the big build up to the last book hovering over me already.  There’s this compulsion to outdo the book before, so by the end of the series, it’s hair-pulling time.

From Susan/Miranda:

Oooh, that sounds like a great series, Pat (though I wonder about that invisible island — does Robespierre know about that?)

And yes, I think readers DO know who’s who and where.  If letters are any judge, they probably keep closer tabs on characters that go from book to book than we do.  I’m always surprised by a letter that wants to know "What ever happened to X, the youngest nephew?  When will he have a story of his own?" when, in horrible reality, I’d kinda forgotten X even existed.

I know Jo’s not here, so I hope I get this right <g> — but I remember her saying how she’d purposefully chosen a different kind of series "arc" for the Malloren books.  Most series start with the oldest sibling, and move through the family that way, but she decided there would be more tension/interest if the oldest were the last to fall in love.  Worked, too.  Who doesn’t remember Rothgar? 🙂

From Pat:

Personally, I favored the fancy dandy in the yellow coat in Jo’s series, but I needed a family history in my Magic series just to keep up with my own characters. No way I’m remembering names from elsewhere! Sorry, Jo!

So, what do readers think about books in a series? Do you want family trees? Do you want each book to stand alone so you can read them out of order? Do you hate them with a passion? It’s okay. There are days we hate them with passion, too!  We won’t tell. But this is a hot topic right now, and editors (and authors) are listening, so speak your mind!

39 thoughts on “Seri(es)ous Ruminations”

  1. I get bored with series and have quit reading authors because they stopped doing stand alones and went to strictly series (Elizabeth Peters jumps to mind – I love her work, but can’t stand the Amelia Peabody series, so I haven’t purchased an E. Peters book since ’98 or ’99).
    And there are some writers who I’ve read one book, loved the writing style, but didn’t want to get bogged down in a series so I’ve never read anything else they’ve done.
    I’ve thought about this and decided that I prefer to read stand alones because I like using my imagination to imagine what happened after the story ends. I get more enjoyment out of daydreaming than I would from being told what “actually” happens.
    I feel old because it seems like wanting to use my imagination and enjoying daydreaming date me.

    Reply
  2. I get bored with series and have quit reading authors because they stopped doing stand alones and went to strictly series (Elizabeth Peters jumps to mind – I love her work, but can’t stand the Amelia Peabody series, so I haven’t purchased an E. Peters book since ’98 or ’99).
    And there are some writers who I’ve read one book, loved the writing style, but didn’t want to get bogged down in a series so I’ve never read anything else they’ve done.
    I’ve thought about this and decided that I prefer to read stand alones because I like using my imagination to imagine what happened after the story ends. I get more enjoyment out of daydreaming than I would from being told what “actually” happens.
    I feel old because it seems like wanting to use my imagination and enjoying daydreaming date me.

    Reply
  3. I get bored with series and have quit reading authors because they stopped doing stand alones and went to strictly series (Elizabeth Peters jumps to mind – I love her work, but can’t stand the Amelia Peabody series, so I haven’t purchased an E. Peters book since ’98 or ’99).
    And there are some writers who I’ve read one book, loved the writing style, but didn’t want to get bogged down in a series so I’ve never read anything else they’ve done.
    I’ve thought about this and decided that I prefer to read stand alones because I like using my imagination to imagine what happened after the story ends. I get more enjoyment out of daydreaming than I would from being told what “actually” happens.
    I feel old because it seems like wanting to use my imagination and enjoying daydreaming date me.

    Reply
  4. It depends. (I say that so much I feel like I should be the one wearing diapers in my house.) Some series I adore and can’t wait for the next books. Some series bore me senseless and I drop out. I’ve loved Jo’s series, Edith’s, the Brockaway’s – others feel like the same book in a new skirt. The characters are too similar to each other or too far removed from family interaction. If there’s no internal family strife at all I can’t believe it and it’s tedious quickly. The best series put the dynamics families really have into play and then it’s an added (and more difficult) dimension. The worst use the family (or friends) as a sitcom stage for events.

    Reply
  5. It depends. (I say that so much I feel like I should be the one wearing diapers in my house.) Some series I adore and can’t wait for the next books. Some series bore me senseless and I drop out. I’ve loved Jo’s series, Edith’s, the Brockaway’s – others feel like the same book in a new skirt. The characters are too similar to each other or too far removed from family interaction. If there’s no internal family strife at all I can’t believe it and it’s tedious quickly. The best series put the dynamics families really have into play and then it’s an added (and more difficult) dimension. The worst use the family (or friends) as a sitcom stage for events.

    Reply
  6. It depends. (I say that so much I feel like I should be the one wearing diapers in my house.) Some series I adore and can’t wait for the next books. Some series bore me senseless and I drop out. I’ve loved Jo’s series, Edith’s, the Brockaway’s – others feel like the same book in a new skirt. The characters are too similar to each other or too far removed from family interaction. If there’s no internal family strife at all I can’t believe it and it’s tedious quickly. The best series put the dynamics families really have into play and then it’s an added (and more difficult) dimension. The worst use the family (or friends) as a sitcom stage for events.

    Reply
  7. I love series books. I like getting to keep up with a family or their friends to see how they are doing. I love it when you meet a great charachter in a book that is so interesting you want them to have their own story. I love stand alones as well. If its a good story or a great series, I’m sold!

    Reply
  8. I love series books. I like getting to keep up with a family or their friends to see how they are doing. I love it when you meet a great charachter in a book that is so interesting you want them to have their own story. I love stand alones as well. If its a good story or a great series, I’m sold!

    Reply
  9. I love series books. I like getting to keep up with a family or their friends to see how they are doing. I love it when you meet a great charachter in a book that is so interesting you want them to have their own story. I love stand alones as well. If its a good story or a great series, I’m sold!

    Reply
  10. When they’re well done, I really enjoy series. I get obsessive about reading them in a row as well.
    I do think that some authors – or publishers – continue series long past the time they should have died a natural death. I’ve also read series – mystery ones – where I’m still really into the main characters, but I don’t think the author is anymore.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  11. When they’re well done, I really enjoy series. I get obsessive about reading them in a row as well.
    I do think that some authors – or publishers – continue series long past the time they should have died a natural death. I’ve also read series – mystery ones – where I’m still really into the main characters, but I don’t think the author is anymore.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  12. When they’re well done, I really enjoy series. I get obsessive about reading them in a row as well.
    I do think that some authors – or publishers – continue series long past the time they should have died a natural death. I’ve also read series – mystery ones – where I’m still really into the main characters, but I don’t think the author is anymore.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  13. How coincidental that your subject today is series books, as I’ve been ranting in my head about this for the last couple of days. I realize that it’s in the best interest of the author and publisher to have books in a series or with related characters. Certainly, if a reader picks up one book in the series and likes it, there is every chance that he or she will look for the next or previous title. I am certainly one of those readers. Generally speaking, I have no complaints about that.
    But what I have a major complaint about, is when an author will give away major plot points of a previous book. I have been an unfortunate reader of a book that actually gave away the majority of the plot of another, and it wasn’t even technically a part of the series!!!! I’m livid just remembering it. There was no warning, no disclaimer. The end result: my enjoyment of both books, which were still very good, was diminished.
    Also, I don’t want a rehash or recap of moments in a previous book. Fine if you would like to mention the characters or bring them into the action where their presence is pertinent, but I don’t want a recap of what happened before. If I’ve read the previous book, it’s a waste of my time, and it can be annoying. If I haven’t read the previous book, well, you’ve just taken away part of my discovery process.

    Reply
  14. How coincidental that your subject today is series books, as I’ve been ranting in my head about this for the last couple of days. I realize that it’s in the best interest of the author and publisher to have books in a series or with related characters. Certainly, if a reader picks up one book in the series and likes it, there is every chance that he or she will look for the next or previous title. I am certainly one of those readers. Generally speaking, I have no complaints about that.
    But what I have a major complaint about, is when an author will give away major plot points of a previous book. I have been an unfortunate reader of a book that actually gave away the majority of the plot of another, and it wasn’t even technically a part of the series!!!! I’m livid just remembering it. There was no warning, no disclaimer. The end result: my enjoyment of both books, which were still very good, was diminished.
    Also, I don’t want a rehash or recap of moments in a previous book. Fine if you would like to mention the characters or bring them into the action where their presence is pertinent, but I don’t want a recap of what happened before. If I’ve read the previous book, it’s a waste of my time, and it can be annoying. If I haven’t read the previous book, well, you’ve just taken away part of my discovery process.

    Reply
  15. How coincidental that your subject today is series books, as I’ve been ranting in my head about this for the last couple of days. I realize that it’s in the best interest of the author and publisher to have books in a series or with related characters. Certainly, if a reader picks up one book in the series and likes it, there is every chance that he or she will look for the next or previous title. I am certainly one of those readers. Generally speaking, I have no complaints about that.
    But what I have a major complaint about, is when an author will give away major plot points of a previous book. I have been an unfortunate reader of a book that actually gave away the majority of the plot of another, and it wasn’t even technically a part of the series!!!! I’m livid just remembering it. There was no warning, no disclaimer. The end result: my enjoyment of both books, which were still very good, was diminished.
    Also, I don’t want a rehash or recap of moments in a previous book. Fine if you would like to mention the characters or bring them into the action where their presence is pertinent, but I don’t want a recap of what happened before. If I’ve read the previous book, it’s a waste of my time, and it can be annoying. If I haven’t read the previous book, well, you’ve just taken away part of my discovery process.

    Reply
  16. Even though I read series, I never stopped to think why I continue reading some and not others. These are some great insights to ponder. As a romance author, I hadn’t even given thought to what I’m giving away about the first book when I write the second. I agree, I don’t like retreading old ground, but if we’re revisiting families from prior books, it’s rather obvious that the couple ended up together. No hiding that. But plot points… That’s going to be tough if there’s an ongoing storyline. Very intriguing, and something I’ll have to look at closer.
    And the bit about family dynamics is an excellent point. It’s bad enough that too many books seem to have the same characters with different names, but if they’re in a series and all the heroes are alike… Of course, some readers expect the same types from certain authors, so I don’t know what to say. How unusual. “G”

    Reply
  17. Even though I read series, I never stopped to think why I continue reading some and not others. These are some great insights to ponder. As a romance author, I hadn’t even given thought to what I’m giving away about the first book when I write the second. I agree, I don’t like retreading old ground, but if we’re revisiting families from prior books, it’s rather obvious that the couple ended up together. No hiding that. But plot points… That’s going to be tough if there’s an ongoing storyline. Very intriguing, and something I’ll have to look at closer.
    And the bit about family dynamics is an excellent point. It’s bad enough that too many books seem to have the same characters with different names, but if they’re in a series and all the heroes are alike… Of course, some readers expect the same types from certain authors, so I don’t know what to say. How unusual. “G”

    Reply
  18. Even though I read series, I never stopped to think why I continue reading some and not others. These are some great insights to ponder. As a romance author, I hadn’t even given thought to what I’m giving away about the first book when I write the second. I agree, I don’t like retreading old ground, but if we’re revisiting families from prior books, it’s rather obvious that the couple ended up together. No hiding that. But plot points… That’s going to be tough if there’s an ongoing storyline. Very intriguing, and something I’ll have to look at closer.
    And the bit about family dynamics is an excellent point. It’s bad enough that too many books seem to have the same characters with different names, but if they’re in a series and all the heroes are alike… Of course, some readers expect the same types from certain authors, so I don’t know what to say. How unusual. “G”

    Reply
  19. I have never quite understood the appeal of series per se. I can take them or leave them, but in any case, I always regard each book as a single entity, and judge it on its merits, independently of any connected novels.

    Reply
  20. I have never quite understood the appeal of series per se. I can take them or leave them, but in any case, I always regard each book as a single entity, and judge it on its merits, independently of any connected novels.

    Reply
  21. I have never quite understood the appeal of series per se. I can take them or leave them, but in any case, I always regard each book as a single entity, and judge it on its merits, independently of any connected novels.

    Reply
  22. To follow up my previous post and that of Pat. Well, there are plot points and there are plot points.
    I recently started with the third book of a series. Something happens between the hero of the third book and the heroine of the second. It had to be addressed, of course. And as I was reading, I thought, “I hope this doesn’t wreck the other book for me.” But, luckily, it really didn’t. Why? Perhaps because the author didn’t give away all the details (there was still some surprise about this occurence). Also, perhaps because it happens toward the end of the previous book and doesn’t impact the entire story.
    On the other hand, I just read the second book of a series, and I felt that by the end of it, I had enough information about the first story that I hardly had to read it at all.
    And then there was the story I noted in my previous post. This story was clearly a continuation of a story line, and in deference to the author, maybe she had to reveal who the murderer was and why it happened. However, if that’s the case, I think the author and publisher almost have a responsibility to say this book is a continuation of ….. In my opinion, it is not enough to merely say, “this is part of a series.”
    Of course, I understand that this might affect sales, but then that’s part of the risk of a series.
    In the end, however, I am brand loyal. When I find an author I love, I scour the bookstores and libraries until I’ve read every word. Then, I impatiently wait for their next offering.

    Reply
  23. To follow up my previous post and that of Pat. Well, there are plot points and there are plot points.
    I recently started with the third book of a series. Something happens between the hero of the third book and the heroine of the second. It had to be addressed, of course. And as I was reading, I thought, “I hope this doesn’t wreck the other book for me.” But, luckily, it really didn’t. Why? Perhaps because the author didn’t give away all the details (there was still some surprise about this occurence). Also, perhaps because it happens toward the end of the previous book and doesn’t impact the entire story.
    On the other hand, I just read the second book of a series, and I felt that by the end of it, I had enough information about the first story that I hardly had to read it at all.
    And then there was the story I noted in my previous post. This story was clearly a continuation of a story line, and in deference to the author, maybe she had to reveal who the murderer was and why it happened. However, if that’s the case, I think the author and publisher almost have a responsibility to say this book is a continuation of ….. In my opinion, it is not enough to merely say, “this is part of a series.”
    Of course, I understand that this might affect sales, but then that’s part of the risk of a series.
    In the end, however, I am brand loyal. When I find an author I love, I scour the bookstores and libraries until I’ve read every word. Then, I impatiently wait for their next offering.

    Reply
  24. To follow up my previous post and that of Pat. Well, there are plot points and there are plot points.
    I recently started with the third book of a series. Something happens between the hero of the third book and the heroine of the second. It had to be addressed, of course. And as I was reading, I thought, “I hope this doesn’t wreck the other book for me.” But, luckily, it really didn’t. Why? Perhaps because the author didn’t give away all the details (there was still some surprise about this occurence). Also, perhaps because it happens toward the end of the previous book and doesn’t impact the entire story.
    On the other hand, I just read the second book of a series, and I felt that by the end of it, I had enough information about the first story that I hardly had to read it at all.
    And then there was the story I noted in my previous post. This story was clearly a continuation of a story line, and in deference to the author, maybe she had to reveal who the murderer was and why it happened. However, if that’s the case, I think the author and publisher almost have a responsibility to say this book is a continuation of ….. In my opinion, it is not enough to merely say, “this is part of a series.”
    Of course, I understand that this might affect sales, but then that’s part of the risk of a series.
    In the end, however, I am brand loyal. When I find an author I love, I scour the bookstores and libraries until I’ve read every word. Then, I impatiently wait for their next offering.

    Reply
  25. I love them. I cut my saga teeth on Jalna/whiteoak series…….and am enticing my son to read with Junie B JOnes. Who can forget Ramona, Betsy Tacy, Beany Malone??
    I do quibble when quality goes down, as acn happen…but I must admit I still read them.
    But then, I still keep up with friends from childhood, amnd re-rread the Lopvelace books yearly!!
    Camilla

    Reply
  26. I love them. I cut my saga teeth on Jalna/whiteoak series…….and am enticing my son to read with Junie B JOnes. Who can forget Ramona, Betsy Tacy, Beany Malone??
    I do quibble when quality goes down, as acn happen…but I must admit I still read them.
    But then, I still keep up with friends from childhood, amnd re-rread the Lopvelace books yearly!!
    Camilla

    Reply
  27. I love them. I cut my saga teeth on Jalna/whiteoak series…….and am enticing my son to read with Junie B JOnes. Who can forget Ramona, Betsy Tacy, Beany Malone??
    I do quibble when quality goes down, as acn happen…but I must admit I still read them.
    But then, I still keep up with friends from childhood, amnd re-rread the Lopvelace books yearly!!
    Camilla

    Reply
  28. I love book series because the time I’ve invested in the last book has purpose when I reading this book and I know that both chunks of time will be useful for the next book. My emotional investment multiplies from there.
    The challenge for both reader and author can be… what if I don’t like the series. Or I get to book three of seven and the story has, in my opinion, gone flat. That puts a favorite author ‘one the shelf’ until they finish with the series. There are pros and cons. But I will say, as a reader, I am more apt to pick up book 1 of a series than a book.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  29. I love book series because the time I’ve invested in the last book has purpose when I reading this book and I know that both chunks of time will be useful for the next book. My emotional investment multiplies from there.
    The challenge for both reader and author can be… what if I don’t like the series. Or I get to book three of seven and the story has, in my opinion, gone flat. That puts a favorite author ‘one the shelf’ until they finish with the series. There are pros and cons. But I will say, as a reader, I am more apt to pick up book 1 of a series than a book.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  30. I love book series because the time I’ve invested in the last book has purpose when I reading this book and I know that both chunks of time will be useful for the next book. My emotional investment multiplies from there.
    The challenge for both reader and author can be… what if I don’t like the series. Or I get to book three of seven and the story has, in my opinion, gone flat. That puts a favorite author ‘one the shelf’ until they finish with the series. There are pros and cons. But I will say, as a reader, I am more apt to pick up book 1 of a series than a book.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  31. I’m very tired of series at the moment, and often will pass on a book because either I have to read two to five (or more!)others first to get all the background, or there may be a character or two walking around dropping hints about their book which will come later and things that will only be addressed or revealed in that one. Or the one after. Or the one after. Or the one after.
    I adored the big thick saga form for the historical romance, where we could see the h/h or the whole family’s fortunes rise and fall with the tides of history, and would love to see a few of those again. (Plus I’m writing as fast as I can)
    I loved the Sparhawks and Mallorens, and I do follow a few favorite authors’ connected books, but if I’m looking at two books and can only buy one, and the only difference between them is one is part of a series and one is all on its own, I will pick the non-series one.

    Reply
  32. I’m very tired of series at the moment, and often will pass on a book because either I have to read two to five (or more!)others first to get all the background, or there may be a character or two walking around dropping hints about their book which will come later and things that will only be addressed or revealed in that one. Or the one after. Or the one after. Or the one after.
    I adored the big thick saga form for the historical romance, where we could see the h/h or the whole family’s fortunes rise and fall with the tides of history, and would love to see a few of those again. (Plus I’m writing as fast as I can)
    I loved the Sparhawks and Mallorens, and I do follow a few favorite authors’ connected books, but if I’m looking at two books and can only buy one, and the only difference between them is one is part of a series and one is all on its own, I will pick the non-series one.

    Reply
  33. I’m very tired of series at the moment, and often will pass on a book because either I have to read two to five (or more!)others first to get all the background, or there may be a character or two walking around dropping hints about their book which will come later and things that will only be addressed or revealed in that one. Or the one after. Or the one after. Or the one after.
    I adored the big thick saga form for the historical romance, where we could see the h/h or the whole family’s fortunes rise and fall with the tides of history, and would love to see a few of those again. (Plus I’m writing as fast as I can)
    I loved the Sparhawks and Mallorens, and I do follow a few favorite authors’ connected books, but if I’m looking at two books and can only buy one, and the only difference between them is one is part of a series and one is all on its own, I will pick the non-series one.

    Reply
  34. It’s about the story to me, not the series-or-not aspect. As others have mentioned, the series aspect can wear after a while – you start to feel the publisher is requiring the author to find yet another alpha male in the family’s woodpile to haul out, dust off and give a six-pack and sardonic wit. I think there should be a rule: If your new hero is the second cousin once removed of your original character’s governess’s niece’s sister-in-law’s bastard son, you should stop the series. Immediately.
    That said, a good author can pull off that new hero. You just kind of wonder what she would do if the publisher weren’t trying to squeeze the last little penny out of a sterling series. I suspect she’d do something that would sell even better. That’s something I always wonder about writers who’ve been doing the same series for years – what other fantastic ideas are percolating in her brain, and when do I get to see them? I want to!
    I confess, though, that I’m not a family-saga type. Never did like them. All I have to see is the phrase “A sweeping tale” and I’m done. I’ve never read the book or seen the movie for either The Thornbirds or Gone With The Wind, and they’re not on my wish list either.
    But I do enjoy ones where you’re working your way through one specific family – Jo’s the Malloreans was very well done, and I loved Rothgar. His story was perfect, so beautifully opening up the inside personality of someone we had been learning to care about over the other books.
    A multi-book story arc is nice too, something I enjoy a lot in fantasy series. Nora Roberts has done that well in contemporaries, but I’ve not seen it much in historicals. I’d like to. I’m actually plotting a romantic suspense trilogy with a 3-book story arc with fully contained stories in each book too, and all I can say is… ouch. I can see why they’re not so thick on the ground…

    Reply
  35. It’s about the story to me, not the series-or-not aspect. As others have mentioned, the series aspect can wear after a while – you start to feel the publisher is requiring the author to find yet another alpha male in the family’s woodpile to haul out, dust off and give a six-pack and sardonic wit. I think there should be a rule: If your new hero is the second cousin once removed of your original character’s governess’s niece’s sister-in-law’s bastard son, you should stop the series. Immediately.
    That said, a good author can pull off that new hero. You just kind of wonder what she would do if the publisher weren’t trying to squeeze the last little penny out of a sterling series. I suspect she’d do something that would sell even better. That’s something I always wonder about writers who’ve been doing the same series for years – what other fantastic ideas are percolating in her brain, and when do I get to see them? I want to!
    I confess, though, that I’m not a family-saga type. Never did like them. All I have to see is the phrase “A sweeping tale” and I’m done. I’ve never read the book or seen the movie for either The Thornbirds or Gone With The Wind, and they’re not on my wish list either.
    But I do enjoy ones where you’re working your way through one specific family – Jo’s the Malloreans was very well done, and I loved Rothgar. His story was perfect, so beautifully opening up the inside personality of someone we had been learning to care about over the other books.
    A multi-book story arc is nice too, something I enjoy a lot in fantasy series. Nora Roberts has done that well in contemporaries, but I’ve not seen it much in historicals. I’d like to. I’m actually plotting a romantic suspense trilogy with a 3-book story arc with fully contained stories in each book too, and all I can say is… ouch. I can see why they’re not so thick on the ground…

    Reply
  36. It’s about the story to me, not the series-or-not aspect. As others have mentioned, the series aspect can wear after a while – you start to feel the publisher is requiring the author to find yet another alpha male in the family’s woodpile to haul out, dust off and give a six-pack and sardonic wit. I think there should be a rule: If your new hero is the second cousin once removed of your original character’s governess’s niece’s sister-in-law’s bastard son, you should stop the series. Immediately.
    That said, a good author can pull off that new hero. You just kind of wonder what she would do if the publisher weren’t trying to squeeze the last little penny out of a sterling series. I suspect she’d do something that would sell even better. That’s something I always wonder about writers who’ve been doing the same series for years – what other fantastic ideas are percolating in her brain, and when do I get to see them? I want to!
    I confess, though, that I’m not a family-saga type. Never did like them. All I have to see is the phrase “A sweeping tale” and I’m done. I’ve never read the book or seen the movie for either The Thornbirds or Gone With The Wind, and they’re not on my wish list either.
    But I do enjoy ones where you’re working your way through one specific family – Jo’s the Malloreans was very well done, and I loved Rothgar. His story was perfect, so beautifully opening up the inside personality of someone we had been learning to care about over the other books.
    A multi-book story arc is nice too, something I enjoy a lot in fantasy series. Nora Roberts has done that well in contemporaries, but I’ve not seen it much in historicals. I’d like to. I’m actually plotting a romantic suspense trilogy with a 3-book story arc with fully contained stories in each book too, and all I can say is… ouch. I can see why they’re not so thick on the ground…

    Reply
  37. I’m fond of series, but am commenting because Pat Rice mentioned one of my all time favorite Jo Beverley characters, the Daffodil Dandy, also known as Kevin Renfrew. Of course, Emily and the Dark Angel is one of my top-ten all-time romances.
    I keep waiting for him to turn up again.

    Reply
  38. I’m fond of series, but am commenting because Pat Rice mentioned one of my all time favorite Jo Beverley characters, the Daffodil Dandy, also known as Kevin Renfrew. Of course, Emily and the Dark Angel is one of my top-ten all-time romances.
    I keep waiting for him to turn up again.

    Reply
  39. I’m fond of series, but am commenting because Pat Rice mentioned one of my all time favorite Jo Beverley characters, the Daffodil Dandy, also known as Kevin Renfrew. Of course, Emily and the Dark Angel is one of my top-ten all-time romances.
    I keep waiting for him to turn up again.

    Reply

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