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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guest Blog: Paty Jager: A Series is More Than Connecting Books

When I came up with the idea of Isabella Mumphrey a high IQ anthropologist who not only is single-focused in her studies of Native American cultures, but also becomes a Worldwide Intelligence Agent, I had the dream of it becoming a series. I envisioned her traveling to North, South, and Central American discovering new evidence about the cultures and working with her Venezuelan lover to uncover villains. There are so many different Native American cultures she can investigate as ruses to travel and uncover wrongdoings I could see this series lasting for a dozen books.

I had experience writing a series. Well, really writing five connecting books. The Halsey Brothers Series of five historical western romance books, hadn’t started out as a series. I wrote the first book, Marshal in Petticoats, which introduced four brothers of the hero. When that first book was published and readers wanted more Halsey stories, I one-by-one wrote each brother’s book. They weren’t thought out or planned other than the titles had to show a woman in a (at that time) man’s occupation. That was it. All the series plotting I had ever done.

With the Isabella Mumphrey Adventures, I knew I had to have the stories thought out and see a vision of how I wanted her to proceed not only through the books, but through her life. I sat down, researched the Native American cultures that I had always been intrigued with and penciled out the first four books, giving Isabella an overriding character arc and planning where she would be with each book and even coming up with the titles.

For the most part I stayed with the overall arc for both Isabella and the hero, Tino Constantine. But there were things that changed as I researched for each book and worked on the overall arcs. The main thing being that my original idea of four books to launch the series wouldn’t work. The third and fourth books subplots were weak. Once I discovered that, I merged parts of book four into book two and parts of book four into book three. Those mergers made books two and three stronger and got rid of the weak plot for book four.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon, the first book in the series set in Guatemala, shows Isabella’s determination and love of her occupation, her dysfunctional family life, and her social awkwardness from having been a child genius. It also brings her into the arms of a Venezuelan DEA Agent out to avenge his family’s deaths.

Secrets of an Aztec Temple, book two set in Mexico City, again uses Isabella’s occupation to bring her to the city to work with a museum, but this time in her capacity as a Worldwide Intelligence Agent. An occupation she took up to be closer to her parents. In this book her emotions for Tino and her desire to right wrongs is a subplot and Tino’s need for revenge is his subplot. This book has him undercover working for the very man he wants dead to avenge his family.

Secrets of a Hopi Blue Star, book three set in the desert of Arizona, re-connects Isabella with estranged family members and shows her the reasons behind her dysfunctional family while she is searching for a sacred kiva that could explain the exodus of the Hopi to the third world. Tino’s subplot deals with doing his new job as a border patrol agent and keeping Isabella alive. While this book gives Isabella a look at her past she hadn’t known, it also opens up new questions and a desire to bring justice to her family.

My goal with continuing the series is to keep that quest of family justice alive for a while and bring it into play in subsequent books. She and Tino will travel on more steamy adventures through South and Central American countries as well as a few more in the Southwest United States. The connecting factor between all the books in the series will be Isabella and Tino, her IQ and survival tin and vest that gets her out of tight spots, and her need to right wrongs whether it is in anthropology circles or crime. Also her Indiana Jones/MacGyver approach to problems.

Are you a reader who likes series? What draws you to a series?

All three books are available now as single title books, however, for a limited time June 15th -30th they will be available during my Birthday Bash Sale in an ebook box set for $.99. So watch Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, and Apple ibooks for the sale.

Buy Links:
Isabella Box Set

Secrets of a Mayan Moon
Windtree Press

Secrets of an Aztec Temple
Windtree Press

Secrets of a Hopi Blue Star
Windtree Press

Award winning author Paty Jager is a member of national and local writing organizations. She not only writes the western lifestyle she lives it. With seventeen novels, five novellas, and two anthologies published, she continues to have characters cavorting in her head and enjoys teaching other writers. You can learn more about Paty at her blog, her website,  or on Facebook, Goodreads, and twitter; @patyjag.


Rose Anderson said...

As a reader I very much enjoy series. I also like books that, while not technically a series, have common threads woven through such as the same town and cast of characters. I enjoy that familiarity. As a writer I have two series, both waiting on their 3rd books.
Thanks for joining us today, Paty. It was nice to read your perspective. Best luck.

Cara Marsi said...

Paty, the series sounds wonderful. I love Native American culture. Thanks for the advice on writing series. I'm not much of a series reader. There have been a few I've loved, but I understand series are very popular with most readers. I wish you lots of luck.

Judy Baker said...

Paty, great post. Looking forward to your series.

Sandy said...

Paty, it was interesting to learn how you develop a series. I do enjoy reading series books, and yours sound fascinating.

When I was young one of the careers I wanted to try was anthropology.

jean hart stewart said...

Love series books, and that's mostly what I write. I usually take a family and follow them from about 1890 to a current date. Love Native American culture, so will definitely have to try yours!!!

Melissa Keir said...

Thanks for stopping by Paty. I love series books. When I fall for a certain character (or author) I want to read all that I can about them. A series gives me a wonderful character who seems like family. I know their history in a longer series and it's just like coming home.

Fran Lee said...

Going over to Amazon to buy...thanks!

Paty Jager said...

Thank you for having me at Romance Books '4' Us! I'm sorry I'm late responding. I'm in the middle of moving and forgot I was on this blog.

Thank you for commenting Rose. Good luck with your series! I'm working on two besides the Isabella books.

Hi Cara, Thanks! For me it depends on the series rather I continue or not and usually has to do with the characters.

Hi Judy, Thanks!

Hi Sandy, I'm glad you enjoyed learning about my series. Anthropology would be a fascinating career. But writing is fun.

Hi Jean, Your books sound interesting, too. ;) Hope you enjoy mine.

Hi Melissa! I think that's why readers like series. They feel like the characters are their friends.

Hi Fran! Thanks!

Again, I'm sorry for being late!

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