Hi Tianna! Happy to be here to hang out with you and your readers. If you’re like me, you love to read books in a series. Mainly, I love getting to know characters and then seeing them again in another book. If the author has done their job, they’ve given me just enough of those secondary characters to make me want to get to know them better. It’s so gratifying to know that once you get to the end of one happily ever after, you get to dive right into the next with characters you already know and love.
Although I didn’t set out to do this intentionally, my first and second YA releases, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES and ON THIN ICE took place in the same fictitious Connecticut lake town called Somerville, with my main characters living on Thompson Lake. With only a mere mention of Jordie and Penny being friends from Somerville High School, the stories are stand-alone novels, but set in an idyllic locale that was already familiar to me. So when I began writing PIECES of LOVE, and I needed a hometown for Lexi to miss while she was being exiled to her grandmother’s house in California, it made perfect sense to have her hail from Thompson Lake as well. That way, readers could put names and faces to the friends she’s forced to leave behind. It also leaves room for other stories to grow out of this one. Readers have mentioned that Sammi, who is mentioned in all three books, needs her own story. I’m certain she’ll have her day. If you have suggestions I’d love to hear them. Sammi is pretty edgy. She plays drums, parties, and has had her share of boyfriends. What might make her a heroine to root for?
Though the Girls from Thompson Lake isn’t technically a series, since the characters don’t interact and the stories don’t necessarily follow a chronological order, I’ve enjoyed creating this little town where teens from all walks of life can come back to again and again and connect to recognizable people. Sarah Dessen does this in some of her books and it’s fun to be reading and to come across a familiar name.
As a writer, I find this to be a fun approach. It leaves the door wide open for more books and doesn’t hem me into specific details about the characters beyond the basics—unlike writing a trilogy or series, where there are TONS of details that need to be considered. I’m currently working on book three in my YA Dystopian trilogy, The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, and let me tell you, it’s a huge challenge to weave all the threads together and keep all the details straight! I wish I’d learned about keeping a series bible a bit sooner, LOL. That’s where writers have a document specifically to keep track of character descriptions, important events, backstory, and such. We don’t want the character’s eyes changing from blue to green by the end of the story…unless they are morphing into some kind of creature whose eye color changes. I had no idea of the challenges I would face in writing a trilogy. It gives me even more respect for the likes of Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) and Veronica Roth (Divergent). These are amazing books by talented authors. I only hope my third book, HEALING WATERS (due out later this year) is half as good as theirs are.
So tell me, readers, do you like reading series books? Can you think of any other authors who do the “mention” of familiar characters or use the same back drop but don’t have the books connected in any other way?
Award winning author of young adult books, Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yogi, PJ Sharon has been called “a powerhouse of positivity and productivity.” Her mantra is “find balance in all things, and live every day to the fullest.” A black belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, avid kayaker, and singer of Italian art songs, PJ has two grown sons and lives with her brilliant engineer husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA where she writes YA…because every teen deserves a hopefully ever after.
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