I'm so happy to welcome Laurie Kingery to my blog today as I love her writing. And since I am writing a series, her advice below is priceless. Everyone keep reading to find out how to win a copy of Laurie's newest book!
FRIDAYS WITH FRIENDS—by Laurie Kingery
I've known Rose McCauley several years now, and I was pleased as the proverbial punch when Rose received what I am sure will be the first of many contracts with Barbour, during the traditional surprise contract announcements the publisher makes at each ACFW conference.
When she asked me to guest blog on her "Fridays with Friends" feature, I was pleased, too, and thought I'd take a little time to not only talk about my new release but writing series in general.
THE RANCHER'S COURTSHIP is the fourth book in my "Brides of Simpson Creek" series from Love Inspired Historicals. After my first two books from LIH, I finally achieved my dream of writing series, which had been a long-time goal of mine. I wanted to make it different, and what I came up with was a unique twist on the western romance trope of mail-order brides—mail order grooms. I set up a fictional town in the hill country of Texas that was without marriageable men because of the Civil War. The first book, which became MAIL ORDER COWBOY in 2010, featured a spunky heroine who formed the Simpson Creek Spinsters Club and advertised in the newspaper for eligible bachelors—the 1860's version of online dating. (Since I was an eHarmony.com bride, you know it was a concept I could appreciate
Here are some facts and opinions about series which I've picked up or developed as I've written the series:
---You may not get to write a series the first time you're published. Publishers are wary of letting first time writers commit themselves to a series, and some publishers like series more than others. Series are popular now in Christian fiction, but a former publisher of mine in the general market wouldn't call my books a series even though they featured members of the same family, and so it became an "unofficial" series.
--It's good to have a system to remember details. When you write the first book in the series, you think you'll never forget the hero and heroine's eye and hair color, but you do. And you may need to know the name of a walk-on character from book #1 when you reach book #4. NO FACT IS UNIMPORTANT, because you don't always know what you'll need later. Whether you write it down on paper or keep an Excel spreadsheet—I do the former because I started writing before computers, and have had a couple of them crash—keep written details where you can easily find them. I'm now writing book 5 in the series, and I need to refer back all the time.
---keep an overall timeline of the series. This is something I wish I'd done, because I need to know when a character who found her match in the previous book is due to have a baby in the next book. It gets confusing, but some readers will catch you, because they frequently read series books back-to-back.
--www.dateandtime.com is your friend. No, the reader doesn't care if October 28 was a Wednesday in 1868 (it was), but if you have a tendency to absentmindedly put two full moons a week apart, consulting this handy website will prevent that. This hint works for non-series books too, of course.
---There are two kinds of series, closed and open-ended. Closed refers to series set of characters, like several brothers or sisters, an object like an heirloom ring, or a mystery to be solved over the course of several books. The most popular form of a closed series is a trilogy. An open-ended series means the series can go on as long as the author and the reading public are happy with it. "Brides of Simpson Creek" is an example of this type, and I will go on with it as long as I can keep each story fresh and interesting.
We've all probably read series where the plots have gotten stale and repetitive—I don't want to do that! In this type of series, each book is more apt to have a stand-alone feel, which is great since readers tend to find them at all orders.
If you'd like to see the marvelous trailer Barbara Hunt of Paperbackflyers did for me, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/LaurieKingery . You can contact me at my website at http://www.LaurieKingery.com .
Thanks, Rose, for giving me this opportunity to talk about my books and writing series. Blessings, Laurie Kingery
Thank you, Laurie. And all who leave a comment on this post with an email addy so we can contact you, will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this new book by Laurie. Drawing to be held next Friday when I post a new Friday with Friends. Rose