Leigh Greenwood – On Writing a Series

 

leigh-greenwood2Several years ago distributors decided series didn’t sell so they told my publisher they weren’t going to buy any more series – or books that even looked like they were part of a series.  That didn’t please me or my publisher, but there wasn’t anything we could do so I had to stop writing The Night Rider series after the third book.  I wrote two standalones, Independent Bride and Reluctant Bride.  Before I would write the third book projected for that set (Accidental Bride), distributors changed their minds and decided series did sell.  What a surprise!  Any bookseller could have told them that.

 

e2808clg-reluctant-brideAs it happened, I had another unfinished series, The Cowboys.  I won’t say I was tired of my orphans, but I had needed to take a break after nine books.  Realizing that I wasn’t getting any younger (Who does?), I decided to finished that series while I still could.  Four books later I was ready to get back to The Night Riders.

 

lg-independent-brideThere are several challenges unique to writing a series.  One is to decide if/how to incorporate characters from previous books.  That’s especially important if there are children involved.  Another is to make sure your characters will make successful heroes when it comes time for their book while remaining in the background when it’s not his book.  Still another is to come up with the right bride for the men your readers have already come to know.  In some cases, the biggest challenge is to come up with something that will tie the series together.  I used family in the Seven Brides and The Cowboys.  In The Night Riders, I used the quest for justice for betrayal.  Family is a connective tissue rather than a character.  Laveau diViere was a character who needed to be an integral part of each book without taking over the story.  I did that better in some books that others.

 

someonelikeyouSomeone Like You is the story of Rafe Jerry.  Due to being named the executor of his father’s estate, he’s forced to return to California to confront a past that had driven him from his home ten years earlier.  Throw in a woman he distrusts and a nine-year-old half brother – neither of which he’s ever seen – and his problems multiply.  The difficulty in that book was how to involve Laveau diViere in a trip that essentially took him from Texas to California.  I think I figured that out.  At least I haven’t had any readers complain that what I did didn’t make sense.

I’m currently close to the end of the first draft of the next book in the series.  I don’t have a name for it yet, but the story centers around Broc Kincaid who is badly scarred as a result of being shot in the face during the Civil War.  (Or as many in the South call it, the War of Northern Aggression.)  I decided against giving Laveau such a big role in this book.  Frankly, having characters focusing on the same thing for seven books can get a little tedious so I decided to give the readers a break.  Laveau does appear, but there are plenty of other villains to take his place.  That book, as yet unnamed, is scheduled for February of next year.

When I finished the Seven Brides, I got requests from readers to write books about some of their favorite secondary characters.  I got the most requests for George’s twins and his son William Henry, Dodie, Hope, and Jordy.  My editor had turned down all my requests to write such a book until last year when she asked me if I would write a spinoff.  I was a little irritated that, after being rebuffed so many times, I’d throw away all the ideas I had for those characters.  Once I got over my pique, it was fun to go back and read ROSE for the first time in fifteen years.  I could have chosen the twins, but that would have taken me away from my favorite settings.  After some thought, I chose Salty, partly because it will give me a chance to revisit Rose, George, and the boys when they are still youngsters.  The book is scheduled for August of next year. 

I hope you will enjoy it.

 

To find out more about Leigh Greenwood’s books, please visit his website

www.leigh-greenwood.com

 

To buy his latest book on Amazon, click on the cover 

 

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46 thoughts on “Leigh Greenwood – On Writing a Series”

  1. Hello Leigh,

    Thank you for a wonderful and enlightening post today. I am a novice to your works but feel I now have to run out and buy a book. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn about you. Have a great day.

  2. Hello there Leigh!

    Well-I for one LOVE LOVE series books-in fact-if I had to choose between a series of books and books that are standalones-then I would choose the series! Im not saying I dont really enjoy books that aren’t in a series-but, to me, a series means I get more of my favorite characters!

    I have read a number of your books and I must say THE RELUCTANT BRIDE is one my all time favorite books-I have read it twice so far and it is sitting there waiting for me to pick it up again!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us today!

  3. Hi Leigh. It is good to see you here. I have read your Seven Brides and your Cowboy books and I loved them.

  4. Leigh,

    It’s interesting to see how your publisher has gone back and forth about series books. I guess it’s a lesson to writers that if your genre isn’t in at the moment, just wait and keep writing, and like the tides, it will wash back in before long.

  5. It’s interesting that so many readers like series. I never set out to write a series. I rejected the idea the one time I considered it. The Seven Brides came to me rather than me going to them. My younger son and I had watched the movie “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and it occurred to me that would be a good idea for a series — but for someone other than myself. Some time later I realized I had very clear pictures in my head of four brothers with good outlines of three more. My agent encouraged me to write a proposal so I wrote short outlines for seven books and one chapter for the first. Dorchester bought the proposal and named it Seven Brides.
    Up to that point I had been using different historical settings. I still have about a half dozen outlines for non-westerns, but the success of the Seven Brides caused me to look for another western setting for a series. The result was the Cowboys. At that point, I was pretty much considered a western writer which is where I’ve been ever since.

  6. When I’m reading a long series, I can’t help but picture the author in a room with all sorts of charts and family trees surrounding them muttering, “If I don’t get this right my mailbox will be flooded. So one more time Jacob marries Amber, 2 kids, Marty hitches up with Fern, 3 kids ….” LOL I can’t imagine trying to keep it all straight.

    Fans can be so demanding. But at least you know we love the family you have created and want each and every one of them to get their perfect HEA

  7. Leigh,
    Glad you could stop by and give some insight into series and how the swing an sway of the publishing world works. We met years ago at a writers gathering on the Oregon coast. You and Jo Beverly were the main speakers. I’ve been a fan ever since. I am working on the fourth book of a series with five brothers and find readers do like series.

  8. I have to say I enjoy a series also. At least a trilogy. I also like stand alone books but it is fun to see where the “characters” go on from their book.

  9. Hi Leigh,

    Welcome to P&P. We’re delighted to have such a well-known author like you to be our guest! We hope you have a great time.

    I love western romance and your books are absolutely wonderful. It’s hard to pick a favorite series, but I think the Seven Brides is right up there at the top. You write females really well. Don’t know how you get into a woman’s mindset but you’re excellent. I can’t wait for Broc Kincaid’s story.

    By the way, I also watched the TV show “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” That was so funny. And the brothers were really hunky men. Their women sure made them sit up and take notice.

  10. Leigh, great post! I love a good series, why would they even think they wouldn’t sell? I am not sure if I have read any of your books but I don’t think so. I would love to read one, so I am going to put you on my wish list.

  11. I do love a series and often imagaine my own stories for the secondary characters or watch for spinoffs. I will be seaching out your books.

  12. Enjoyed the post. I too love series–reading and writing them. And I’m currently reading Someone Like You; been turning those pages and loving it! I can’t wait to see what happens between Rafe, given his hardened heart, and Maria, with her sense of family and duty that keeps her from seeing Rafe for the kind of man he really is, and what Delores does to complicate things! And I’m so glad you are doing Broc’s story. He definitely deserves his HEA!

  13. Am I the only one that didn’t you you were a guy? lol. Not that it matters in the least – a good book is a good book. And how many women used to write under a man’s name because they wouldn’t take women serious. Also, “they” also said historicals weren’t selling. I’m stubborn and never listen to what “they” have to say lol. I’m looking forward to reading your books – stand alone or series 🙂

  14. hi Leigh! I just love series books. I love past characters and places because to me, they’re like old friends.

    Your books are great…and I recall my surprise when I learned you are a guy, but it was a good surprise LOL.

    Welcome to the Junction.

  15. I love reading series and enjoy getting a look at secondary characters that I believe should have their own stories. Thanks for sharing with us today… 😀

  16. I like series books but prefer them to be all published in the same year. I will look for your books.

  17. Enjoyed reading the comments.
    I have read all of The Cowboys series and really enjoyed them. I like series books because an author can really develop their characters by doing so.
    The new book has been added to my TBR list.

  18. things have a habit of coming around and series books do that; I love series books and getting to know the characters more as the story goes on.

    You are new to me and thanks for letting us into your world.

  19. Hello Leigh, I have not had the pleasure of reading one of your books, but after reading this blog, I will be looking for your books. I love to read romances and especially westerns. And especially love when writer do a series.

  20. Hello Leigh!

    I know what you mean about writing a series. The timeline has got to work also LOL! By the time I finished my Tempered series I was sick of those characters, but now, I’m writing a story about one of the minor characters in 1 of the Tempered book, and lo and behold, a couple of the characters have come back to make me laugh.

    Love it when that happens ~ I’d much rather laugh than cry with them (or want to strangle them LOL)

    Wonderful post.
    Good luck and many Blessings on your books!
    PamT

  21. Hi Leigh, your book sounds great I’ll be getting it for sure. Thanks for4 coming here today,
    Penney

  22. Hi Leigh,
    I write for Desire now and their continuity series are really great sellers. I like contemporary romance series, because I can revisit the characters from the other books and see how they are doing. 🙂

    Nice to have you here!

  23. Hey Leigh, forgive me, but I hadn’t realized you were of the masculine persuasion until I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago about writing like a man. I ended it by listing a couple dozen men who wrote with female pen names.

    Your name had been mentioned but I thought it was a mistake.

    Wow – was I surprised when I headed over to your website and caught a good look at your photo! And to think it’s your real name. The laugh was on me. 🙂

  24. Hi Leigh,
    I usually enjoy series if each book can stand alone. It never fails that I will start in the middle of a series without realzing it.

  25. I loved reading books in a series. It’s like visiting old friends. A question for you . . . do you find the books at the end of a series are harder to write? What do you do to keep things fresh, especially if the books are set in the same geographical location?

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

  26. Hi, Leigh–it is SUCH an honor to have you with us. An honor made more so because you normally don’t blog but made a concession for us. Thank you again a gazillion times over. 🙂

    I’m curious–have you ever boxed yourself into a corner with a series, where you just can’t figure out how to logically get characters together?

  27. Hi Leigh! Thanks for sharing here today! I LOVE series. And since I have a couple of your books I better get to reading them so I can get the rest of the series. *G*

  28. I, also, love to read a series. Your books sound great, I plan to add them to my to-be-read list!

    Pat Cochran

  29. OK, so I didn’t know you were a male author. Doesn’t matter, it’s the book that counts, and what I’ve read is good. Nice to be able to do something you like even if your not what people expect. Keep up the series, many of us like them.

  30. Thanks for the many blogs. You say such nice things I’ll have a swelled head for the rest of the week. As for getting stuck on a plot, no, it never happens. Sometimes I don’t like what I’ve planned and have to look for something else that will fit with what I’ve already written, but I’ve been making up stuff all my life. I guess it just comes naturally to some of us. It sure helped me get out of trouble when I was a kid.
    Over the years many people have asked if I would write books about some of the secondary characters in the Seven Brides series. I proposed several books, but my editor always turned them down. Well, she finally changed her mind. This summer I’m going to start a book about Salty, a character in ROSE. It will give me a chance to revisit the Randolph family when they were all living at the ranch. I’m looking forward to writing the book, but it will b e strange have to think of all the brothers as kids again.
    I’ve just finished the first draft of Broc’s book in The Night Riders. I will do two more books to complete the series. And in case you are wondering, Laveau diViere is finally brought to justice. You’ll have to wait until the end fo the 7th book to find out how it happens.
    I don’t know what I’ll do after I finish The Night Riders. If you’ve looked at my pictures, you can see that I’m no a spring chicken. Still, every time I think of retirement, I think of another book I want to write. I have this series in mind about cousins (women this time) who leave Kentucky and settle out west. They have a secret that must be kept. That’s easy to do because each knowns just a part of what happened. So what happens when the secret is finally out? And what happens along the way?
    Stay tuned.

  31. I’ve been a fan for years, and have all of the brides and cowyboys series and many more besides. I work with a group of women who enjoy westerns, and so i have let them BORROW of few. I am now known as the Library of Amy…LOL They adore your books Leigh, and so do I! Looking forward to reading more more more!!!

  32. Hi Leigh!! So great to meet you! I have a few authors on my list that I haven’t read yet and would like to and your name is on there! I adore reading western historicals so I’m often told in chats when discussing books ‘You didn’t read Greenwood yet?!?!” So I know I’m missing some wonderful reads and so looking forward to reading yours. I do love series because I get to re-visit the towns/settings of the books. Plus being able to re-visit characters and know that everyone gets there HEA!!! Again, a joy to meet you!

  33. Leight! I enjoyed your comments about by writing the series you were allowed to go back and visit some beloved characters. I hate to say goodbye forever to characters at the end of a book, which is why I love series so much.

  34. Hi Leigh…It’s been awhile:) I’ve been a fan for several years now and as a matter of fact just finished reading Sweet Temptation. It was good even though I wanted to smack Gavin upside his head on more than one occasion. I also didn’t realize it was a straight out historical (some authors I auto buy;)

    Mostly I’ve read in the Cowboy Series (and Rose) up to now and they are my favorites so far. I still have books in the Cowboy series and Brides to read and I’m looking forward to it….Nancy

    P.S. I’m not getting any younger either and it only bothers me in that I may not get all my books read:)

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