I'm working on my 22nd novel, which will be the 6th book in the Brody's Crossing series for Harlequin American Romance. I love writing this series but I have gotten some feedback from several readers that concerns me.
These readers wait for all the books in a series to come out, then they read them. Since I don't know how many books I might write for this series, I can't tell them when they should start reading. I don't want to upset my readers but I don't have an answer for them.
Does anyone else have this dilemma as either a reader or a writer? If so, can you suggest how to respond to these loyal series readers?
Series are a funny thing, especially when you didn't expect to write one. My very first book for Harlequin American was what I thought was a stand-alone book, but the editor at the time really liked that town (Ranger Springs) and asked me to write more set there. I never had a true "Ranger Springs" series but they were a continuous story of the heroes and heroines, secondary characters and big events of the fictional town.
I've found when I write books set in Brody's Crossing that I'm always thinking about how to add friends, co-workers, relatives and newcomers who might have their own book. I don't have a big master plan for the town, but I did give it vacant buildings to grow into and some businesses that were missing or could be expanded. Now I'm adding a new ranch that I haven't mentioned before, but I think that's okay because I never said the Rocking C was the only ranch in Brody's Crossing! (The image to the right is an USGS aerial photo near the area where my fictional town is located.)
One of the main things I learned about ten books ago was to give characters some siblings or cousins that I could introduce as possible heroes and heroines. Sometimes I can't because it doesn't work out with the backstory or conflict, but I do try. Right now I have three more potential main characters for future books. I don't know if I'll get to write them, but I'm setting up the characters so they might deserve their own book one day.
I'm trying to soak up more small town life by observing people and listening to their stories. Tonight I stopped by the Mineola Country Club and heard some very lively tales told by some older gentlemen at the bar. I'm not sure how accurate they were, but they sounded real good as background material. Whoever mentioned pelting someone's car with golf balls, please be assured I'm going to use that in a book real soon!
I'll continue to develop Brody''s Crossing and add new characters who might someday fall in love, and I would love your ideas on what to tell avid series readers who email me about when the series will be over. Thanks, and have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day. When you get back from your long weekend, please remember to check out the recipes I'll post on June 4th. Happy reading!