I have series addiction. I freely admit it. I have difficulty writing a single stand alone book. Other characters besides the hero and heroine begin clamoring for their stories as I write and plot bunnies multiply in my head until I find myself stopping in the middle of a book to jot down plots and characters for what will later become a sequel or part of a series.
Little did I know back in early December 2008 that my little Christmas freebie Christmas Hookup would be a popular download. And I certainly never realized that a year later I would feel the urge to return to the fictional town of Heil, California for a pair of sequels. Once I'd done the sequels though, I knew I'd do another and another. Somehow I'd expand the world of Riley and Elle and Forbes Ranch in order to create a Christmas love story every year. The key elements: a cowboy or cowgirl with some sort of tie to Riley, Elle, and Forbes Ranch and a Christmas Eve HEA. This year's book was released last week and a kernel of an idea came to me for next year's. I had to re-read Christmas Catch to get the kernel but it's there now and I'll nurture it to fruition come next December.
I suppose you could say that my problem lies in the fact that I vest myself in my characters, even the secondary ones. I know them. I know their motivations. Even the secondaries have depth. And that's why it's hard for me to let them go. I've already put time and thought into who they are and why they are. Why waste that? Besides, readers seem to like series an awful lot. I know I've received fan email regarding characters in books.
After Hot Water came out, I received fan mail about Corey Green who got his own story Sunstroked this year. When Sunstroked came out, I got email about Wilson North. (Yes, I'm working on Will's story now.) When Where There's Smoke came out, I had email asking about the world of the Vashon clans and the cobra shifters. And everyone wants more Holden Antaeus and Garret Renquist from Fire Season (which they'll get in Fire Storm.) Probably my biggest request is for Sean Antaeus though. The head of the black dragon Antaeus family is equal parts hero and asshole, but he intrigues a lot of readers of the Tales series. And my newest requests are for more stories from the fictional town of Forza, California, the setting of Afterburner, my DADT novella in the Honorable Silence anthology.
Something about Forza and it's history, even though it's bare bones, must have appealed to readers. And their suggestions that Afterburner's hero Sebastian Marchetti had plenty of quirky family members to fuel other stories struck home with me. Could it be that creating those memorable characters - whether secondary or not - and creating a memorable setting be the fuel, the catalyst, for not only my own imagination but that of the people who read these books? Are they just as addicted as I am?
Regardless of my addiction (and any reader addiction), at some point a series has to end. Take the Tales series for example. This is a ten book series that I've already stretched a little by adding a 6.5 book, a sequel to Sunstroked because of reader (and my editor's) comments about Wilson North. When the series does end upon the release of Sean Antaeus's book Force Majeure, what the heck do I do then? This publisher has an option for all things Darkworld and I'm not sure that with book ten I'll be ready to leave the dragons and other creatures behind. There are a lot of layers to this world. And so, when Tales ends, a new series will begin, but it won't be anything like Tales. In fact, the new series will take readers back into the Darkworld's dragon history and begin anew with a dragon warrior who discovers she's a princess.
Don't ask me for details. Don't ask me for names or titles. I've got a long way to go to finish Tales. When it's done, or close to done, I'll reveal this new Darkworld series. I'm nurturing this idea and bringing it along slowly, incorporating the ideas from the original Dark Realms stories I wrote more than twenty years ago. But if you like fantasy, well, the new series may well be your thing. It will still have romance and explicit sex, but it's more of a traditional fantasy world with swords and sorcery.
You see? My addiction knows no bounds. When it comes to ideas, I'm like a dog with a bone, gnawing at it, chewing on it, unable to leave it alone until I've found my way to the sweet marrow. For me, it means a lot more work. For the readers, it means more books and more books in worlds they already know from prior books. I have a couple of stand alone stories to bring you hopefully in the next year, but other than those, my work is all series related. From a trilogy to a series that stretches to ten books, you'll find that my addiction is a key ingredient to the drive that keeps me turning out books for you.
I don't know about you, but to me, this addiction doesn't seem to be such a bad thing.