I bet you've even, at this point, heard me talk about the second book Summer's Wolf: The Westervelt Wolves Book 2 which is releasing September 28th, 2009 from Liquid Silver Books. (Anyone interested in participating in a contest to win a Summer's Wolf t-shirt should go here.) But this is actually not a blog for self promotion today, all evidence to the contrary. Instead, what I'd like to talk about is writing a series and why I can't let my characters go, my interest in reading really well written series, and my frustration when I do devote myself to a series and I am hugely let down by the last book in the series.
In other words, I suppose, I have a lot to write about today.
All of this kind of goes back to how I found Paranormal Romance and what got me writing it in the first place. Ultimately, it came down to the amazingly talented Christine Feehan. Reading her books is like swimming in comfort food for me. I know that is not an actual metaphor. One cannot swim in comfort food. You eat it. Except you can't really eat Christine Feehan's book. They're too disturbing. Truly. But you can, if you let yourself, swim around in them for a long time.
We were on vacation in the caribbean. When I travel, before I had my Kindle, we always had to pack half a suitcase just to maintain my need to read, especially if we were mostly sitting on the beach. I would literally read 1-2 books a day before I had children. That's a whole other story...
So I'd finished all of my reading material and I was perusing the gift shop of our resort to see what they sold that I might want to read. They had a book sitting there by Christine Feehan. It said she was NY TImes Bestselling author and that this was a Carpathain novel. I had no idea what that meant but decided I didn't want to start reading her in the middle of a series. So when I got home from vacation, I looked her up, got the list of her novels and started reading the Dark series in order. The first one was Dark Prince.
I was hooked.
By the time I got to Gregori's book I was so in love with these characters they practically existed in my mind. (I obsessed with Gregori, hurt for him.) Boy did she write some dark themes. Book 1 was seriel killers, Book 2 was mental illness, Book 3 had a child getting kidnapped. She's not stopped. In the years since, she has filled my mind with unapologetic heroines who have suffered child abuse, rape, death, and illness. In a recent book, not the most recent, but a recent one, the heroine even attempts suicide during the book.
I thought wow. Look what she has managed to do because she is writing a series. The main characters change book by book but wow by maintaining the characters she can really say something. If she let each book just be a simple story of the characters in the story, she could never do that.
My critique partner is an amazing writer. I never would have sold a single book without her. And I drive her crazy. She thinks I am incapable of writing a stand alone story. In some ways she's right. I am incapable of writing a stand alone novel. Short stories are a different matter all together.
But when I'm reading Feehan or Nalini Singh or Laurell K. Hamilton or JR Ward or Sherrilyn Kenyon or Gena Showalter or Lora Leigh or TJ Killian or Patricia Briggs or most recently Pamela Palmer what they give you by exploring the same characters over and over is the opportunity to change and grow with them even if where they take you is sometimes very disturbing.
So back to my own recent journey into series writing. I wrote the first two books of Westervelt with very little difficulty. Her Wolf flowed into Summer's Wolf. Someone commented that I changed the perspective on Tristan from book 1 to book 2. Made sense to me, Book 1 we see Tristan from Ashlee's perspective. Book 2 is from her sister's. I would argue that anyone with a sibling knows we frequently see things very differently from them.
Then I got to book 3. It was Theo Kane's. I'd known that the second I wrote book 2, Theo had to have the next story. But Faith was not related to Ashlee and Summer and everything felt darker. It made me nervous. Was it okay to go this direction? I knew it was. Was I strong enough to do it? Wolf Reborn made me work hard. It tested me and challenged me. I hope I succeeded.
But what I've discovered is that every series has its own problems. Writing the second book in the Love Beyond Series has been hard. The main characters are not as in tune with each other as the ones in the first book had been. Like Wolf Reborn, it is making me push the series, challenge it, decide what it is I want it to say by the time I reach the end. What do I ultimately want to have happen at the end of the series?
I've only written the first book in my third series, First Dimension. I had never intended to write these books. It flowed out of me like it had a life of its own and when it was over, I could barely write anything else for a month.
As I become more and more pregnant, writing is becoming harder for me. I'm tired, its hard to get comfortable. I have strange pains. This is my third baby. I knew it was coming. So I downloaded a lot of old 'favorites' onto my Kindle and when I can do nothing else, I reread them. I don't have to think about plot, I know what is going to happen in these books. The entire Dark series resides on my Kindle right now.
Thats another thing about a series. You can always go back and journey with them again. They give you more than one book to do that with.
Best to all of you in your own love of reading and writing, if that's what you do. Do you have a favorite Paranormal Series? I'll always take the recommendations.
Also, next week, in anticipation of either having the baby or being really really really tired I have asked my cousin to blog for me. Stop by and say hello to him so we don't put him off blogging forever.
All the best