I Love a Series—Maybe Too Much
So who here loves a good book series? And which kind do you like more—a series in which the same character continues (like Bella in Twilight, or Stephanie Plum) or a series in which each book brings you a new-but-related couple, like Cindy Dees “Medusa” books or most of Nora Roberts’ trilogies?
I’m curious, because the difference brings up one of my biggest challenges in writing and even reading romance:
I love a series.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone who might have followed my work! It’s now a joke with my beloved agent, Paige Wheeler of Folio, that I can’t seem to propose an idea for a single book—it’s always got to be a set. Four witch friends, of four old-west sisters, or powerful women who collect goddess grails… and now, for at least two books, the BladeKeepers for SRS.
I even love writing for a series that isn’t just mine, as with continuity series like “Family Secrets” and “Athena Force” and the beloved “Madonna Key” books.
But enough for the moment about writing. Don’t we all love reading a good series?
What’s up with that, do you think?
Is it because when people find something they like, they want “more of the same but different?” (If we wanted the exact same, we’d just reread the initial book, right?) That sure does explain the popularity of movie sequels. I always look forward to them, even though I’m usually disappointed (Speed II, anybody?)
But maybe with us readers, it’s more personal. We make friends with the characters—one of the reasons I enjoy a good TV series over a movie. We enjoy getting to know them, and want to keep in touch.
That’s where the same-character series come in. It happened with the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and Little House books when we were younger (depending on when we were younger!) Now, in part thanks to Harry Potter and Twilight, YA books are even more commonly part of a series: Julie Kagawa’s “Iron” series, for example, and Rachel Vincent’s “Soul Screamer” books. I’ve read both of those in the last year, and they’re great!
Adult series with the same heroine are also very popular: the Sookie Stackhouse books, for example. I know I’ve read and reread the Amelia Peabody books, by Elizabeth Peters, and I recently caught up on the Kitty-the-Werewolf books by Carrie Vaughn. But here’s the twist:
Romance novels can’t seem to do that!
The Stephanie Plum and Eve Dallas books are mysteries, not romance. The Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake books are paranormals--urban fantasies—not romance. The only books I’ve seen out of standard romance imprints, like the Harlequin/Silhouette categories, to repeat the same heroines have been Harlequin Teen and Silhouette Bombshells, both which allow(ed) romantic subplots.
Otherwise, a Happily Ever After seems to contradict any continuation of the heroine in any role but secondary.
And that kind of bums me out.
A lot of great romance series work by linking one couple to the next, and that’s great. For me, the queen of it all would be Suzanne Brockmann’s “Troubleshooter” series.
But does anyone else kind of wish romance novels could carry the came couple through two, three, or even four books? Featuring them, I mean?
And don't forget to visit Evelyn at her website to find out more about her newest releases. http://evelynvaughn.homestead.com/
P.S. Our very own PC is guest blogging today with Liz Fielding. http://lizfielding.blogspot.com/ Drop by and say hello!