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Archive for January 11th, 2012

Guest Blogger: Ann Jacobs
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Building a Series

There are two ways to do it, and I’ve done both. First, there’s the series that just grows from a single book: a new story about a secondary character readers liked a lot. The other type of series is planned from the beginning and generally begins with a group of potential main characters or a special concept.

Siblings—a family connection in which all the main characters are members of one dysfunctional family.

They don’t have to be actual siblings, These characters could easily be best friends from childhood, back together after they’ve grown apart, or coworkers thrown together for a project that causes conflict among them/their significant others. The only limitation as to creating characters for a series is the author’s own imagination.

One series I’ve sold to Ellora’s Cave for release in 2012 is based on a family connection. I developed aTexasranching dynasty led by a patriarch with secrets and feuds with neighbors that has spanned a generation. Tired of cowboys and oil wells and little else, I gave the heir apparent, a bad boy with a history of failure and a passion for the wind farms he’s developing on his mother’s land—a source of conflict between him and his father. Scandal is always good for spicing up erotic romance, so I created Daddy’s secret love child, a  high-achieving guy who tries to show the heir up at every turn. Finally, to round out the series, I chose the only daughter, known as “Wild One”, for the final book. CADEN KINK seems to be shaping up pretty well. Look for the first of the three books in the second quarter of the year.

A special concept—A series with continuing secondary characters and a common but mostly independent theme throughout.

Think connections: a common setting, a thread of similar but independent situations, a cast of secondary characters who pull the series together. The series might spin off a previous series, bringing continuity and providing secondary characters who were fully developed when they were main characters in the previous series books.

COURTHOUSE CONNECTIONS, also coming this year from Ellora’s Cave, will consist of four books in which the main characters of each book have reason to engage the lawyers whose stories were told in the LAWYERS IN LOVE series. All the main characters are 1) in some kind of trouble that places their freedom in jeopardy, 2) in a legal situation that could ruin them financially and emotionally or 3) in an employee situation with the members of the firm.

I’ve never done a series like this before. So far, it’s been a lot of fun. I hope the results will go over with readers!

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