Several 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.
As 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.
There 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.
Someone 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.
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