Thursday, March 01, 2012

Creating a series

I recently signed a contract with Harlequin American for three more books—bringing the total to twelve--in my Safe Harbor Medical miniseries. While this is great news, for me, it’s a challenge, too. Although I’ve written several series before (among a total of 93 books sold), the longest encompassed five books. Twelve? That’s new territory for me.

Initially, the plan called for three books. Then six. Well, the eighth book, The Baby Dilemma, comes out in April, and the ninth, The M.D.’s Secret Daughter, in September. Then I discovered I wasn’t done yet.

I don’t ever want to grow stale or predictable. That’s hard in a long series set in the same town, and in a hospital that focuses on pregnancy and fertility issues. Despite some similarities of theme, each book has to feel fresh to me—and especially to the readers.

Characters are essential. If I “plant” a future hero or heroine in an earlier book, I make sure that person is a genuine part of the community, not just a pretty face waiting for a turn on stage. In addition, I create offbeat and/or older people, like volunteer RenĂ©e Green and sarcastic anesthesiologist Rod Vintner. Having important secondary characters adds texture and richness.

What else does it take to write such a long series? Being organized! My list of characters runs to forty pages, my list of settings to nine. Plus I’ve drawn maps of the town and floor plans of important buildings.

And so I’ve begun writing book ten. Already, the characters are refusing to do what I expected. They’re taking me along on a ride of their own, and that’s exactly as it should be.

If you’re curious about the series, I’ve put together a web page with the covers, an overview and brief summaries. I hope you’ll visit


linda s said...

12 books is amazing. Forty pages of characters boggles my mind. Congratulations on your new contract.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

Thanks, Linda!