Creating a Multi-Author, Interrelated Series is Easy…Right?

This weekend we have Bestselling Author Charlene Raddon visiting. She’s heavily involved in writing big series’ with many authors and has become quite a pro at it. She’s just finishing up The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. So what’s next? Maybe you can ask her. Please give her a big welcome.

How many of you have followed the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge? For those who haven’t, this series consisted of sixteen novellas about the widows left behind after an explosion decimated the Gold King Mine in Wildcat Ridge, Utah Territory, 1884. Virtually every miner died. A second explosion killed many townspeople who had rushed in to try to save them. When it was over, the town of about five hundred residents had been reduced to almost 50 widows, their children and a few men.

If you think my series sounds similar to the film series, Godless, I’ll take that as a compliment because Godless was an excellent production. Had I seen it before coming up with my idea, the Widows of Wildcat Ridge would likely never have existed. No matter. The series did exist and has been extremely successful.

But now it has come to an end. The sixteenth, and final, book of the series came out on May 15.

Ophelia, book 16, was my fourth book in the series. Each was fun to write with different characters and challenges. All the stories in the series were interrelated, meaning that each likely contained or at least mentioned some events and characters from previous releases. This made the work much more difficult, confusing and problematic. But also more fun.

Each widow suddenly found herself alone, some with dependent children, no mate, no funds or income, and little hope. What did they do? They gathered together, sharing supplies and joining forces to bringing their town back to life and produce incomes for themselves and their families. They held a horse auction to bring in people, particularly marriageable men. They turned a nearby hot spring into a 19th century version of a spa.

They didn’t sit home and bawl. They dug in their heels and did what they must to survive. True pioneers, every one of them, and each had to deal with the series villain, Mortimer Crane, who owned the town (or believed he did), plus other antagonists unique to each tale.

In my first book of the series, Priscilla, Book 1, the minister’s daughter, who lost her husband and father in the second explosion, takes the town leaders to see a hot springs she had recently found. She comes home to find an unconscious man bleeding all over her bed from a gunshot wound. Braxton Gamble had been tricked into taking part in a bank robbery. Because he’d escaped—with the stolen funds—the outlaws are after him.

My second book, Thalia, Book 7, centers around Thalia’s long-time crush on Dinky Moon, the town drunk. Sobering him up and keeping him that way presents quite a challenge, but she handles it, along with a stranger who comes there believing she has something belonging to him.

In Cadence, Book 13, the series villain, Mortimer Crane, proves himself as evil as everyone believed him to be. On finding a young woman in dire straits, with a little sister in tow, he hires Cadence as a maid and brings her to Wildcat Ridge. Once there, she discovers the establishment she’s to work at is a bordello and her new employer wants more from her than her talent with a dust cloth. To keep her there, he takes her little sister away and refuses to tell where.

Finally, we have Ophelia, Book 16, the last of the series.

Ophelia was Mortimer Crane’s wife. After twenty years of a so-so marriage, she learns just who she had married—a letch, a liar, and a cheat. She also learns something else that gives her the key to controlling him. So, she leaves the house in Salt Lake City Mortimer had installed her in to keep her out of his affairs, moves to Wildcat Ridge, and sets about starting a new life. On her first day in town, she comes face to face with a man from her past, one she had loved with all her heart. Together, she and Brody Duvall must find a way to defeat Mortimer. Can they do it?

Creating this series was a huge project that could never have taken place without the wonderful authors who joined me in this endeavor: Caroline Clemmons, Zina Abbott, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Pam Crooks, Kit Morgan, Christine Sterling, Tracey Garrett, and Kristy McCaffrey. I’ve made new friends, not only my fellow authors, but many fantastic readers who helped to make the series a success.

And I learned a ton! About working with other authors and managing a big multi-author series. A quarter of the way through, I told my non-involved friends to shoot me if I ever said I was doing another one. These days, I’m keeping one eye on my back trail.

If I had this project to do over again, I’d make sure it was all laid out, all the decisions made, before ever inviting authors to join in. We’d have online meetings to decide further details and have one uninvolved person read each book, create a book Bible for them, and keep track of who did what when to avoid conflicting information in the stories. When did that horse auction take place? What was the marshal’s name? Has anyone named the owner of the bakery? What businesses exist in this town? Are they open or closed? Details, details, details. So much to keep track of.

Ah, but it’s done now, and every story is a gem.

If any of you consider the idea of starting your own multi-author, interconnected series, contact me. I might be able to save you some time.

As for the future, keep your eyes and ears open because even though the Widows of Wildcat Ridge is finished, some of its authors are not.

Here’s every book in the series on Amazon!

#kindleunlimited

Are you a big fan of these continuing series involving multiple authors? I’d like to hear your answers. I’m giving away two $5 Amazon gift cards so leave a comment to enter.

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Charlene Raddon is an Amazon bestselling author with fourteen western historical romance novels to her credit. Her books have won contests and awards. She is also a book cover artist who specializes in historical covers and lives in Utah with her husband and the most neurotic cat ever.

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42 Comments

  1. Good morning Charlene and welcome. I’ve nit read this series, but it sounds amazing. The ladies on the covers are gorgeous. How horrible about the explosion and nearly everyone killed. I imagine things like this happened more often back then, but was never made too public. Kudos for writing such an amazing theme for us historical book lovers.

    1. Thank you, Tonya. I hope you read and enjoy it.

    2. Tonya, Charlene is too modest to take the credit, but she designed all the covers for WoWR. Every one is just beautiful.
      Tracy Garrett — Grace

  2. This is one series I haven’t read yet but I do enjoy reading series.

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      I loved Godless and yes from the first time I heard of this series that is exactly what I thought about, the similarities. I’ve always thought that this must be the most difficult type of writing to do. I agree with your recommendations for writing this type of series, I just assumed that the authors involved did have a Bible of sorts to keep up with the details. I had assumed you’d even have a drawn-out model of the town. Knowing that y’all didn’t, amazes me even more. I do love this type of series simply because I keep in the back of my head exactly how difficult it had to be to write. I have only read this type of series in Christmas collection’s so far. I know I would love this series because I love strong female characters, especially in the Old West, and I loved Godless. Also, this series has a great set of authors!

      1. Stephanie, you’re right about the difficulties of writing a series like Widows of Wildcat Ridge. We did have a map of the town. Since the setting was in Utah, which is not quite like other states, and few of the authors had been here, I wrote up a list of wild animals to be found here and a list of plants. I provided photos of the area too. We did our best to work with each other to avoid mistakes but I’m sure a few slipped by. I hope you read the series and love it.

    2. I hope you give Widows of Wildcat Ridge a try, Kim.

  3. Good morning i have not read this series yet. I do enjoy reading books in a series.

    1. Do give Widows of Wildcat Ridge a try, Yvonne. I think you’ll love it. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I do like series like this. I cannot even begin to imagine the work that went into it!

    1. You’d love Widows of Wildcat Ridge, Susan. It’s unique.

  5. I love a series! I get so involved with the characters so when they appear again and again…..great!

    1. Melanie, you really must try Widows of Wildcat Ridge. I suspect you’ll enjoy it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

  6. I love reading series! That’s how come I have so many books because I start one and have to find the rest in the series! That’s okay though, that way I have lots of books to read on camping trips! Thank you for your blog.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kathy. I never go anywhere without a novel handy. Never know when you’ll get a chance to read. On camping trips I took more than one to read, plus my laptop so I could work.

  7. It was my pleasure to be part of the Widows of Wildcat Ridge, not only with Charlene but also my sister fillies, Kit Morgan and Tracy Garrett (once a filly, always a filly!).

    Charlene is right when she says it was a huge project, but that was the reason for its success. We had to keep track of details–how did we live before Google Drive?–and the friendships I made with my sister authors was something I’ll have for years.

    Thank you, Charlene! Without you, this series would never have happened!

    1. You are so sweet, Pam. But everyone worked as hard as I did. Like you, I treasure the friendships I’ve made through this series. Someday maybe I’ll try another one like it. Someday. Your contribution to the series was fantastic. They were all good. It is a joy to see how successful the series was.

  8. I love series books , whether by one author or many.

    1. Estella, you’d like Widows of Wildcat Ridge then. Do give it a try. And thanks for joining in today.

  9. Welcome, Miss Charlene! Love your post but it sure made me glad the job of managing this series wasn’t mine. Enjoy your visit. Love you, lady!

    1. Linda, you sweetheart, thanks. I can’t regret the work of this series. It was a learning experience and I feel I’m a better person for it. Especially because of the new friends I have now. Love you too.

  10. A series always captures my interest and I continue to read the trials and tribulations of all the characters.

    1. Anne, I share your interest. An interconnected series is the best. It’s like getting to enjoy a good book over and over but even better for all the new characters you meet and come to love (or hate).

  11. I only discovered this type of series fairly recently and discovered I really like it (even it if is such hard work for the authors!). It’s just different enough from reading a huge book by one author or a series by one author that it’s fun – the perspective and writing style from each author are always a bit different but there’s that common theme and place running through it all.

    1. Sally, I’m glad you discovered interconnected series’ and enjoy them. Maybe you’ll try ours. Thanks for joining in today.

  12. Reading a series allows me to enjoy the ongoing lives and gives me great pleasure.

    1. I’m with you, Pearl. What could be more fun than to get to read about the lives of so many people in a shared experience?

  13. When I read a series I am transported to another place, and era. I continue to think of the story and how it is captivating and unforgettable.

    1. You’re not alone, Ellie. It affects me the same way.

  14. Welcome. I have not read this series yet. BUT it is on my list. I really look forward to reading these. I like a series because the story continues and I am in another time and place living with the characters. I thank you for all the work you and other authors put into your books. All the research and writing and rewriting. It really makes a difference in the stories and us readers.

    1. Thank you, Lori. I hope you read and enjoy The Widows of Wildcat Ridge.

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    Thanks for sharing today. Your series sounds wonderful and I will try to get started on it. Most of the series that I’ve read have been written by one author but I have recently had the chance to read the Daughters of the Mayflower series from Barbour Publishing and they were done by several authors.

    1. We tried to make this series unique, Connie, and I think we succeeded. I hope you read and enjoy it.

  16. Charlene, I enjoyed your post! I love to binge read a series when complete. I’m also enjoying the Daughters of the Mayflower series from Barbour Publishing.

  17. Hi, I have not read these series yet, but they really sound like really good page turners ! I look forward to reading them.

  18. I have been watching this series as the books have come out, but have not had the opportunity to read them yet. I have read a few series done by multiple authors and have enjoyed them. I like the continuity of a series and the different voice and style each author brings to it. You have many of the details worked out to have it run smoothly, so why not round up afew authors and do it again.

  19. I do enjoy multi-author series. I think it gives the series a little something extra and different writing styles and viewpoints really add to the series.

  20. I enjoy multi author series. this one sounds amazing. I like that they took control and made life more bearable.

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    This was a wonderful series to work on!! I so enjoyed it. While it was challenging, all the authors were helpful with collaborating. Charlene was a great leader. My many thanks to her for inviting me to participate.

  22. I have read multi author series years ago but they were not but about three or four books big and really enjoyed them so this one would really be interesting to read. I will have to start looking for these books.

  23. I do like reading multi author series.

  24. I like some series by multiple authors.

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