Authors are an adaptable group. We write wherever we happen to be when inspiration hits, we change our personality to fit the character we are penning—an introverted author may become and extrovert through their writing, we write short stories and long tomes, and we pen stand-alone stories or plan out a series ranging from three to ten books or more. All writing presents challenges. For me, I encounter the most challenges when writing a series, such as the MacLarens of Fire Mountain.
Series creation requires the author to look toward the future and identify characters for books that may not be penned for months. The author builds a family or community where readers make a connection through the stories. Readers are encouraged to become a part of this community and get to know the inhabitants.
Most important, the author must create characters that readers like and want to follow over a long period of time. An author once told me that readers of romance inhale them like air—romance books aren’t a long-term commitment, but a short-term ‘story fix.’ This may or may not be true, but I do believe the opposite is true of romance books that are part of a series.
Characters in a series become a group of friends the reader relates to, commiserates with, and roots for. If written well, the reader is able to visualize themselves as a part of the community and not an outsider watching from afar.
The challenge for me is developing characters that are interesting, engaging, and project different personalities that complement the story and not detract from it. For book one, Tougher Than The Rest, I knew the oldest brother needed to have a stoic personality, a somber demeanor, and a no-nonsense approach to his responsibilities. He didn’t have the luxury of being anything else. The protagonist in book two, Faster Than The Rest, didn’t have the same accountabilities and could afford to be more of a rebel. Both characters appeal to me but in different ways, much like a family. At the same time, the women in their lives must fit into the family and not make the reader want to disengage from the series.
Even though I write both stand alone books and ongoing series, in the end, I much prefer writing a series. Why? Because I get to become a part of the family and experience their heartbreaks, troubles, and triumphs. And isn’t that what romance is about?
I’d love to read your comments about the difference between stand-alone or series books, or which you prefer to read.
FASTER Than The REST, Book Two of the MacLarens of Fire Mountain, is the story of Jamie MacLaren. Here is a brief description and excerpt:
Headstrong, brash, confident, and complex, the MacLarens of Fire Mountain will captivate you with strong characters set in the wild and rugged western frontier.”
Handsome, ruthless, young U.S. Marshal Jamie MacLaren had lost everything—his parents, his family connections, and his childhood sweetheart—but now he’s back in Fire Mountain and ready for another chance. Just as he successfully reconnects with his family and starts to rebuild his life, he gets the unexpected and unwanted assignment of rescuing the woman who broke his heart.
Beautiful, wealthy Victoria Wicklin chose money and power over love, but is now fighting for her life—or is she? Who has she become in the seven years since she left Fire Mountain to take up her life in San Francisco? Is she really as innocent as she says?
Marshal MacLaren struggles to learn the truth and do his job, but the past and present lead him in different directions as his heart and brain wage battle. Is Victoria a victim or a villain? Is life offering him another chance, or just another heartbreak?
As Jamie and Victoria struggle to uncover past secrets and come to grips with their shared passion, another danger arises. A life-altering danger that is out of their control and threatens to destroy any chance for a shared future.
“Tell me, Victoria. Why did you leave if it wasn’t for the money?” His voice was a whisper across her face. She could almost smell the anger pulsing from him, along with all the other familiar scents of the man she’d always loved. He was just as intoxicating now, just as impossible to resist.
She lifted her face to his to look into eyes that had turned a deep steel grey. She could lose herself in those eyes. It was her last coherent thought as his mouth moved towards hers inch-by-inch, brushing across her lips, and coaxing them to open for him. When she didn’t resist Jamie moved one arm to the back of her neck, holding her in place while his other arm moved to her back, pressing her to him. Her arms slid up and around his neck, pulling his head down to hers. His mouth moved to her eyes, traveled across her checks and down her neck, before settling again on her parted lips.
Jamie was amazed at how the taste and feel of Victoria in his arms hadn’t changed. She was still the most desirable woman he’d ever known. No matter what else had transpired, his body still craved hers as it had none other.
Buy Links for FASTER Than The REST (Book 2 of MacLarens of Fire Mountain)