As a compulsive reader, there’s nothing I like more than long series. I like to return to people and places I love again and again. The series that follow the same main character are the best – Harry Dresden, anyone – especially if there is a slowly evolving background story, but series that introduce new main characters in every book are good too, as long as there’s something to remind from the previous books. Some romance series follow that pattern. Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series is a good example, even more so since it has an intriguing story beneath the romances, as are Suzanne Enoch’s Regency romances, most of them written in trios. I’ve realised recently too, that the books don’t really have to be any good for me to return to them. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series hasn’t had a decent book in ages, yet I read them. I simply love some of the side characters – not even Anita herself – and have to return to them.
As an author, then, I’d like to produce a good series that readers would like to follow for many books to come. I believe I would enjoy writing a long series, because it would allow me to spend time with my characters longer. Everything I’ve published so far has at least one book planned to follow them, but the Two-Natured London series I have planned to be longer. It will be a series of paranormal romances set in the same world, with some recurring characters. The first book was about shifters, the second one will be about vampires, the next one – who knows. And I have another series planned – partly written too – set in the same world, a longer, more action driven series called the Crimson Circle.
In order to write an intriguing series, I’ve tried to figure out what it is that draws me back to the series I follow. So far, I haven’t found any one thing that would define all of them. For a romance, I’d like the chemistry between the main pair to be sizzling so knowing that the author can produce that will make me read them; for a fantasy, I’d like the plot to be compelling enough to keep my interest, but the best ones have more than one thing going for them. It’s a challenge then, to try and write books with the similar allure. Readers have liked the first book in the Two-Natured London series, but how to repeat the same when the characters change? And in the longer form, how complex would the story need to be to hold the readers’ interest?
The only solution I have come up with so far is to write each and every book as well as I can. Will that be enough? Well, it’s early days yet, but if you stay with me along the way, you’ll be the first to find out. And if you'd like to share the thing that draws you back to your favourite series, please do so in the comment section.
Incidentally, there are a couple of reviews of some of my favourite series in the reviews section of this blog. There aren't that many yet; as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm new to the reviewing, but I'll add them as I go.