The Red launch blog tour continues today over with the awesome Mundie Moms! I’m talking about why YA really ISN’T too dark for teens.
One thing that has continued to surprise me since I released Red is how many people want or expect a sequel. Once I get past being totally flattered that they love my characters that much, I come back to being kind of baffled because…where am I supposed to go after the book ends? Bringing in another hunter would be dull (to me) and anything else would be heinously contrived, I’m afraid. Red was always intended to be a stand alone. And apart from that, frankly, I really hate mucking with my happily ever afters.
Which is part of why my Mirus series is a collection of linked but separate books unified in the same world. Each book is a stand alone with a different couple who may reappear in later books but get their HEA. There will be an overall plot that builds from book to book but it’s not going to be a series where you MUST read each one in order to understand. Each book will have a front and center plot that is resolved in that book. With a HEA because I write romance. I think we all know that life is not sunshine and butterflies for the hero and heroine after that point (and you’ll see this with Gage and Embry probably as they appear in Mick and Sophie’s full book), but most of the time, I am not interested in throwing additional conflict at my characters. I punish them enough the first time! Plus there’s always a continual parade of interesting new people to play with.
Whenever I get around to my kitchen witch series, that will be different. It’ll be the first thing I’ve ever written that follows the same heroine through all books. That means there’s NOT a HEA in every single book. There’s a resolution to whatever the specific story problem is (which is the thing I’m still missing and why I’m still TEASING YOU ALL with this series), and progression toward the ultimate resolution of the relationship (among other plot threads), but no specific relationship HEA for each book. Which makes it, ultimately, something other than straight paranormal romance since THAT HEA doesn’t come until book 6. Honestly, I don’t know exactly how to categorize it. What are Julie Kenner and Katie MacAlister? Paranormal chick lit? Imagine if Aisling Gray, Kate Connor, and Goldy Schulz got put in a character blender. What got spit back out would be Lyla. That’s where I wanna go with this series. What the heck does that make it? Anybody? If you figure it out, let me know.
It is in part because when folks connect with a character and story they want to know more so they did in. People like the familar. When a story ends they want more. It is the nature of story telling even in our culture. Television ends up trying to create the endless stories with ongoing formula as people stick with familar. They live in the middle with no defined end with most stories not resolving. The ones that make to a resolution point often end up with dissatisfaction. Whereas the one-time stories such as movies leave satisfied. But trading on the character and repetition for $ still happens.
Fans wanting sequels is the best compliment. You’ve left them wanting more, but it doesn’t always mean you should give them more. I’d be happy with nothing but Mick books from you provided you had more stories to tell. But if you did what I wanted, there’d be no Red. And the Mick books wouldn’t be as good because they lacked the passion of the others. So write what you want and worry if we don’t want a sequel.
I wonder if there’s a romance hybrid that doesn’t have HEA? Since you’re known for romance I think whatever genre fits closest without violating the traditional rules would be you.
I had two readers email me wanting a sequel to Guardian Vampire. I wrote it as a stand alone and had no idea where I could go with a sequel. I actually started a trilogy because readers seemed to want a series. I’ve written two novellas in that series. They aren’t doing nearly as well as Guardian Vampire. So from now on, I’m writing what i want to. I know we should listen to what our readers want, but sometimes when we try to please other people, it doesn’t work out so well.
Yep, you know I’m one of those you’re teasing with the Kitchen Witch series. Food and the paranormal? How can it get better? LOL. And, btw, Goldy Schulz is one of my heroes. 🙂
I was surprised to find myself writing a sequel to my first novel, Hidden Boundaries, but it was a pretty logical followup. And it was very encouraging to find out that readers did want to know where the characters were going next. The biggest challenge was to write it in such a way that a new reader didn’t have to have read the first one, but without doing infodumps. It was quite a learning process and, while I really enjoyed it, I’m glad it’s finished and published, and I can go on to something else.
I really like the type of series you described–set in the same world but following different characters and having a self-contained plot for each book. Loved characters can make guest appearances in other books, or even get another book later on, like Kelley Armstrong did with her Women of the Otherworld series. That’s the approach I’m taking with my Elemental series. I hate books that drag the plot on through several books. Many YA books are doing that, and they read like a string of events that never get resolved. I also agree that sometimes there’s only one story to tell, and forcing a sequel breaks the spell, so to speak, of the first book.
(I can’t wait to read Red! I got the ebook, now I just need the Kindle. 🙂 )