~ By Samanthya Wyatt
Before ‘series’ became popular, I remember reading a few romance books that mentioned a familiar character, or was related to a character in another book. Catherine Coulter and Janelle Taylor were two of my favorite authors who wrote books where the heroes were friends, or brothers—some sort of relation mentioned in their next book. Whether or not they were books of a series, I loved the idea of a connection. I remember how delighted I was when a person was introduced, “Oh yeah, I remember him” or “Cool this is his brother”, etc.
Since I enjoyed those so much, I thought it would be nice to write a series of books where my characters had some sort of relationship with characters in the next book. Each book containing a hero/heroine with his or her own love story.
Let’s take a minute to talk about “Series”.
Some works in a series can stand alone—they can be read in any order, but if you’re like me, I want to read them in the order written. If I happen to pick up one in the middle, I’ll go find the others and then read them in the correct order. I have a friend who is anal about this. If an author has written several books in a series, she has to have them all before she reads the first one. LOL. And she’s gotten me doing the same thing.
Before I get ahead of myself, a stand alone book is basically one that gives the full story—a beginning and an end. Within each book, references are made to characters in the other books of the series, or to past events. Some books involve a family, a group of brothers, or a group of friends. Each book in the series is of one individual of that group. Some of these do not necessarily need to be read in a particular order, however some are more satisfying if they are.
Then there are the series where one set of characters story is spread throughout several books. Their characters go through drastic changes, make references to past events spreading over a long period of time. The story begins in book one is continued in several following books, where then end of the story is in the last book of the series. These books must be read in order to learn the complete story.
My own preference is for any book in a series to have an ending, even if it is not the happily ever after ending we want. Each book should be enjoyable in its own right with a beginning and an end. Satisfying or not, happy or not, the ending should be the end of a book.
I must admit my pet peeve is when I become involved in a book only to find at the last page a hook ending or no ending where I must purchase the next book in the series to continue the story. At the end of the second book, there may even be another. The end of the story is in the last book of the series? If I want to buy three books, I will gladly. But to be surprised at the end of any book that I need to purchase another book —very annoying. I feel cheated.
Although I recently read a romance paced over three books that was fantastic. Hero and heroine met in book one, split, reunited in book two, split, happily ever after ending in book three. I can’t express enough that when ‘series’ are involved, advertise if the book has a beginning or an end or if another purchase is required to continue the story—and how many! This prevents a reader from becoming frustrated at the end of a book that is to be continued . . .
As for my own books, I hope the reader will like my stories enough to make the decision of purchasing another book because they enjoyed it. My characters are related by blood or friendship. Each of my books have a beginning and a romantically satisfying end for my characters happily ever after. Nothing left hanging.
You might enjoy them more if purchased in the order written, but I have a fan who read the second before the first book in the One and Only Series. She was very pleased with her purchases.
Each book in the One and Only Series contains a love story with its own hero and heroine. In the first book of my historical series, “The Right One”, Katherine’s brother is missing. In her desperate search to find him, she is kidnapped and finds the right man for her. Book two, The True One, is Stephen’s story—why he was gone for two years, what happened to him, and a love story all his own. Is there a book three? Of course. The third book in the series, The Only One, is about Giles. He was introduced in the first book as Morgan’s best friend—the duke. In the second book, he is asked to rescue Kat’s brother, Stephen.
If you like contemporary, The Firemen of Station 8 is a work in progress. Each book features one on the team of firemen. You can bet each story will have a beginning and an end.
Series? Love them. But remember, a series is a sequence of books organized in different ways. So, do you expect THE END at the end of every book you read?
Or do you like a book ending with a hook?
Definitely a reader’s personal preference.
Samanthya lives with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley. She left her accounting career and married a military man traveling and making her home in the United States and abroad. She relishes the challenge of penning a story with strong characters, a bit of humor, and active scenes. She enjoys creating new characters and bringing them together in a romantic tale. It took years of writing, joining RWA, joining chapters, entering contests, submissions & rejections which created the author she is today. By keeping her spirit and turning criticism into drive she has achieved her career as a published romance author in historical and contemporary romance.