Charlotte Hubbard: Watching Fictional Kids Grow Up

charlotte_hubbard.jpgWhat a nice surprise, to get an invitation from Cheryl St.John to blog here! Cheryl and I met a looooong time ago at a writer’s conference, and one of the best parts of being a writer has always been the friendships we make in this biz! It’s a real pleasure to be here among so many other Western titles and authors, because Western romances have always been my favorites!

In the early ‘90’s when Cheryl and I met, I was writing for the Zebra Heartfire line. Spicy-hot stories about feisty young heroines who won the day–and their heroes–their way! Lots of action/adventure, and lots of sex.

Well, my stories and my covers have changed! The books in this Angels of Mercy series were first labeled “inspirational,” and they’re all faith-and-family stories…like, the Waltons are visiting LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE!

journey_to_love_charlotte_hubbard.jpgBut the star of GABRIEL’S LADY comes closest to being like my first adventurous heroines, in that she can outride and outshoot any man in Abilene! Solace Monroe was riding before she could walk, always with a Border collie tagging along (gee, where did I get the idea for putting a litter of Border collie pups in this series?! Say hi to Ramona!) She was born during a blizzard in the first book of my Angels of Mercy series, A PATCHWORK FAMILY and now that she’s eighteen she has a matched team of bays, Lincoln and Lee, and she’s trained them to performance perfection. Her new dog Rex is a real ham…but bless his heart, he can sit so still–trusts Solace SO much–that she can shoot an apple off his head!

Solace is so busy training horses, dreaming of riding in a Wild West show, she has little time for guys…until Gabe Getty comes back into her picture in a big way. Gabe, too, first appeared in A PATCHWORK FAMILY as a kid gone mute from watching Indians massacre his family and burn his home. Those same puppies brought him out of his silence, and he grew up with the kids Mercy and Judd Monroe took in during the first book.

a_patchwork_family_charlotte_hubbard.jpgAs GABRIEL’S LADY opens, Gabe–who is 9 or 10 years older than Solace–is marrying the gorgeous socialite Letitia Bancroft, and is junior partner in Mr. Bancroft’s law firm. He thinks of Solace as his best friend’s kid sister, and poor 12-year-old Solace feels like a sparrow among swans at the wedding. Her unruly waves, broad shoulders and tanned, fit body just don’t fit 1886 society’s expectations for a lady.

But six years later, the tables have turned: Gabe is widowed, deeply torn because his pretty wife was addicted to laudanum and took their unborn child to the grave with her. Letitia’s diary revealed some shocking secrets and Gabe finds himself jobless, homeless and hopeless…

Until he sees Solace straddling those two matched bays, barefoot, with her hair blowing in the breeze as she urges them into a full gallop. And Rex hops on with her! Is it any wonder Gabe’s heart beats faster? MY heart certainly did when I wrote these scenes!

angels_embrace_charlotte_hubbard.jpgThe tension cranks up when Solace joins Apache Pete’s Wild West Extravaganza–disguises herself as a young man–and is then framed for murdering the show’s lady sharpshooter, Crack-Shot Cora. Good thing Gabe’s a lawyer–but then, he can’t defend her case because he’s become a judge in the court where she’s to be tried! Things get complicated! And leave it to little redheaded curly-top Bernadette to save the day for Aunt Solace–at least in the courtroom.

Of course, it all works out for Solace and Gabe in the end–and I throw in a few surprises along the way. I got a few thrown at me, too, when a little boy named Charlie showed up OUT OF THE BLUE…and wow, did I love that kid from the moment he asks Gabe, “You from the orphanage, mister? Come to fetch me back ‘cause I runned away again?”

My goal is always to make my readers laugh–and cry–and come back for more! I love pulling your strings! My Angels of Mercy series (named for Mercy Monroe, heroine of A PATCHWORK FAMILY) has been a joy to write because I get to see all the kids who show up in the first book grow up and have stories of their own, while the West and our nation changes so much, as well! And lots of readers write me, saying, “Write them faster! We can’t wait to see what happens to Billy–or Solace–or–”

gabriels-_lady_charlotte_hubbard.jpgThe challenge of writing a series? Making sure that readers who pick up, say, GABRIEL’S LADY, will love and understand the characters for who they are in this book–enough to go back and start from the series beginning. It’s a fine line, deciding how much back story from the Monroe-Malloy family to include: I know my longtime readers want to catch up to what those characters are doing…how they’ve changed as they’ve matured. Mercy, the mom of the series, begins as a Kansas settler in her 20’s, and by the series end she’ll be celebrating her 60th birthday! It’s a rare treat for a writer to live with a character this long, but Mercy’s a very special mom, and I’ve loved every one of her angels more than I ever dreamed possible when I conceived this series years ago.

So what do you think about series? Do you enjoy seeing characters grow and change through the course of several books? Or, when you see a book is in a series, do you put it back because you’d rather not hunt down the earlier books? I’ve got a signed copy of GABRIEL’S LADY or a signed copy of A PATCHWORK FAMILY for the two of you who give me the best insights about this!

Thanks so much, Fillies, for inviting me to your corral! I’ve enjoyed reading your entries–and I’ve enjoyed lots of your books for years!

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36 thoughts on “Charlotte Hubbard: Watching Fictional Kids Grow Up”

  1. Good Morning.

    I totally love series. When you start reading the first you fall in love with the people and become a member of there family. You just can’t wait to find out what happens in their lives next.

    Love to fall into a new series. At first I complain and say oh no this is a series. Then I get on the web and find the others. I loooooooove searching for the books, it is great fun.

    I love the sound of your stories, they really sound great. Adding them to my search list.

    The down side to series bookd is that I am getting senile and have to go back and read the others again, then again that’s not too bad either.

    Have to run, late for work. Have a Great Blogging day

  2. Hi Charlotte,
    The great thing about reading a series is seeing the characters at different points in their lives and see them from different perspectives.

    I don’t like series if I feel like I’m missing a lot of the story if I haven’t read the previous books but if story can stand by itself then I don’t mind and then when you read the earlier books they just add enjoyment to the later books.

  3. I love series, too, and I suppose my first introduction to the idea of following characters through their youth into adulthood and beyond started with V.C. Andrews because most of her books were written as 5 books in a saga that followed not just the young child from the first book, but also their siblings, children and children’s children.

    Since then I have always enjoyed looking for books I knew belonged in a series, watching the characters grow up and find love of their own, as well as seeing the other characters- older and still doing well. It is like visiting with family and getting “caught up.”

    Probably the reason I’ve been working on an idea of my own for a series about 4 sisters. ;o)

    Your series sounds wonderful. Will definitely have to add them to my to-be-bought list!

  4. I too love a series,love to watch characters grow,an read how their lives,glad to have you here,thanks for coming

  5. I too love a series,love to watch characters grow,an read how their lives change,glad to have you here,thanks for coming

  6. I love series. I often wait till I have the whole series to read at one time so I can keep up with the whole story. I love seeing what will happen past one book. After High school I didn’t read much for years then a friend gave me a book for christmas. “When Breaks the Dawn” by Janette Oke. It was part one of her Canadian West series. I feel in love with the characters. She was giving me book 2 for my birthday but i had to convince her to give it to me early and I ordered the next 2 in the series. I loved reading this series and I love series cos you get to follow the lifes of the characters and I believe an author can also take readers further when there are more than one book and can leave readers with a cliff hanger or with us wanting more and waiting for the next book.

  7. I enjoy reading series. BUT, I am obsessive about reading books in the correct order. I have a couple of books from a certain author that I haven’t been able to read yet because I can’t find the first book in the series. lol It’s fun seeing characters grow and evolve.

  8. I LOVE LOVE LOVE series…they are most favorite kinds of books to read…why you ask?

    because I love the read! Dont get me wrong now..I love stand alone books as well…but the thing about series is that once you get into a book…the story doesnt end at the end of that book…you can look forward to more in the next book!

    Nothing brings me down like finishing a book! LOL When I pick up a book that I love…..I would be happy if it was atleast 1000 pages long! I am such a fast reader too, that it doesnt take me long to finish an average length book!

    So, anyway…series books are just awesome! I do always read them in order too..I do research on books before I read them (If the author is new to me)…I print out their backlist and keep it in a notebook…I check off things as I read them! LOL

    I am one serious reader!!!!

  9. I’m with everyone here–I love series, and books that bring back characters from other tales–even if they aren’t officially a series. Being a stand alone book is important, though too.

    Love ’em, both in reading and writing. I find that I’ll have characters from one book turn up in another–even fantasy characters in a contemp or historical. What great fun!

  10. My favorite series was “The Clan of the Cave Bear” series by Jean Auel. This goes back even further than the westerns of the writers in P&P.
    If I find a book that is 2nd or 3rd in a series, I feel like I have to go back and read the first book first.
    I’m not a writer, just a reader.

  11. I love series too, it’s such a joy to read a book and know there are more to come or older books to look for.Many secondary characters are so great it’s wonderful when they get stories of their own. And to get to know what will happen to the couples even after the book is finished, it’s like visiting old friends.

  12. Welcome. Your books sound wonderful! I do enjoy series reading. Whenever I read, I always want to know MORE. I can get really involved with characters in a well-written book, and I hate to let go of them. So it is always nice to be able to continue with them. To me, love isn’t just about the first time a couple meets, share their first kiss, and then marry. I like to see them develop as a couple, nurture a marriage through the years, and meet life’s struggles with strength and love. I like seeing the couple become parents which adds new depth to a relationship. Children add humor and warmth to stories, too. Ideally, I try to start a series at the beginning, but sometimes I read a book without knowing it was part of a series. If I really liked the book, I always seek out the earlier books. I wish you continued success as you develop your series!

  13. Wow, HELLO to all of you who responded…oh, about the time I was getting up this morning! I’ve been to the pool for my water aerobix now, and Ramona and I are settled in for some work on a new series proposal!

    It’s so good to hear that you all enjoy a series! I actually proposed this “Angels of Mercy” (Mercy is the mom in the first book) series in the mid-90’s, to the then-emerging Christian market…but it seems some of my ideas were too out-there for those editors! And I feel I’ve written these books with a lot more heart and soul invested as a writer who’s 10 years older, has lost her mom, and had some other significant life events happen! The yucky stuff often turns into fodder for stories!

    I’ll check back in now and again–it’s a real thrill to see so much great response here!

    Charlotte (Ramona’s snoozing beside my desk chair!)

  14. Nice to see you here Charlotte. I love to read series book. In a series you get to read about the charactors growth and find out what happen to them. I will pick up a series and then find the rest of the books. I love historical so that’s what I will go for first. I started a series 2 years ago and the last one comes out this July, can’t wait to finish and find out what happen to the charctor in the last book.

  15. Thanks for coming to Wildflower Junction, Charlotte! It’s almost (but not quite) as much fun as seeing you in person.

    I love a series, too! My most favorite of all time is the Black Lion/Velvet series by Jude Devereax.

    I learned early on to keep good records of my characters and places in every book beause I never know when they’ll develop into a series. The first time I had to go back and re-read my own book and take notes. LOL Now I log all the information as I go.

    I agree that the writers who have lived the most also write some of the best stories. There’s something good to be said about those silver hairs. Not that I have any.

  16. I love series. I like to read the stories of all the characters that are introduced in book one. I often find myself wondering about a character’s story if the book isn’t part of a series and want the author to write the story. I also like to revisit characters in consecutive books.

  17. Hi Charlotte, I’m so happy to have you here on P&P today! This is really nice. I adore series books. I like to meet and spend time with a family, learn what makes ’em tick, and delight in the joys and triumps of each memeber. They become as my own family and seem so real. If I happen onto a book that’s part of a series, I go back and find every one.

    Your Angels of Mercy series look very intriguing. I’m going to have to add them to my book list. You’ve hooked me. I wish you much success with them and come back to visit us often!

  18. I love reading series, however i will get the rest in the series up to that book before i’ll read them, that way i can read one behind the other. This sounds like a wonderful series.

  19. Thanks so much for joining us here at P&P, Charlotte! What a wonderful post 🙂

    I just LOVE a series–they are my absolute favorite to read. Elizabeth Lowell’s ONLY series got me hooked–I love the ever-expanding family history, and getting to see old friends while being introduced to new ones–and hoping they’ll too get their own book in the series 😉

  20. I love series but I only want to read them in order. I have a few books I can’t read because I don’t the ealier ones looking on the web for them. It is nice to see the stories go on and go, and be part of the families. Keep up the great books.

  21. I love reading series books. I enjoy getting to know the characters as if they were old friends. I usually try to read something else in between the series but sometimes I will read them back to back.

  22. I have to agree with those of you who discover a book mid-series and then have to do the scavenger-hunt thing to find the earlier books! I SO wish I had more time to read for fun these days! I read a lot of nonfiction stuff now as research–yeah, for books I’m writing or might consider writing someday!–and I need to give myself the luxury of a chunk of hours to just lose myself in a book once in a while.

    Sometimes series characters come to me out of the blue, as I’m writing–and that’s the best fun of all! The little boy at the end of GABRIEL’S LADY, Charlie Carpenter, wasn’t even on my radar screen until he just appeared on the front porch of that house. Gave me goosebumps–and I knew I had to write him, and could immediately see potential for a future book!

  23. I, like all today’s bloggers, love reading a series.
    I like having all of the series together before I
    begin reading them. I don’t especially enjoy the
    search for all the “ingredients” of the series, but
    I will do it if I like the excerpts. Thanks for
    joining us today!!

    Pat Cochran

  24. I love series! It’s like visiting old friends every time you pick up a new book. Plus sometimes you might fall for a secondary character and want him or her to get their HEA so it is great to read the book where they finally do. I become a part of that family, group of friends, etc. and love reading their stories.

  25. Charlotte, hopping on real quick while my grandson stirs awake from his nap to say HI!!! and thank you for being here.

    It was so great to see you in Pittsburgh. I hope you found time to read the Thursday RT blogs and see your pic with Leigh and Bobbi!

  26. I love a series. I have problems when I fall in love with the characters so when the authors gives us more. 🙂

  27. Hello Charlotte!
    I admit, I won’t read a series book that is in the middle, but on the other side of that coin, once I read book one and meet the characters, I have to know what happens to them. Congratulations of having such a unique and wonderful series under your belt. Can’t wait to get a hold of Gabriel’s Lady.
    ~Kimberly 🙂

  28. Hi and welcome Charlotte,
    I love series books but am most pleased when I obtain them in order or it doesn’t really matter if they are read out of order. If I read one that is not the first and manage to obtain the remainder of the books I then will re-read the first, then the second and so forth.

    I love to find out more about the characters in the first book as the series continues. It is also nice to meet new ones. It’s like getting new friends and it is sad when the series is over.

  29. I enjoy series very much. In some series, like Agatha Christie or Perry Mason, the characters don’t change – and those are wonderful because I’m very comfortable with the characters.

    But my favorite is a series where the characters grow. A great example is Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series. Her mysteries are great, but I can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens to her main characters.

  30. I love series books. I just wish there wasn’t so much time between books. I can’t wait to find out what happens to these peoples in the next book.

  31. Oh, it really depends. I must admit a new author that I’ve not heard anything about has a very small chance of me buying into a series. On the other hand, if it’s someone I’ve read before and enjoyed or I heard a lot of buzz then I’ll want all the books.

  32. I absolutely LOVE my ‘Tempered’ series! I love each and every character and challenge they present and hey, there’s even babies in the final book(s) so, maybe, someday…..

    Great post!
    Pamela S Thibodeaux
    “Inspirational with an Edge!”

  33. I absolutely love series! I hate to say good-bye to characters I love. And…my first dog ever was a Border collie! These sound like tremendous reads. Having just gone through a serious health crisis with my hubby, I am seriously thinking of trying to write faith-based Westerns…but of course that means I need to start reading more of them before I do. Best wishes with your wonderful stories!

  34. Series are such a challenge to write. I think so anyway. Those who do them well are to be admired! I get questions all the time whether I’ll write the story of so ‘n so, from one of my stories. So far I’ve not done so. I tried, a long time ago. But two books linked to two that are published have never seen print. Ah well, some day.
    I do like to read series, Charlotte, so I’ll be on the lookout for yours!

  35. I like to read series books. I enjoy seeing how the characters grow up and change. Once a book gets my interest, it makes me want to read more.

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