As promised yesterday, fellow mystery author L. C. Hayden is visiting my blog today. To read her bio and see her photo, please page down to yesterday's post. Also, L. C. is running a contest for a free autographed copy of one of her books with TWO winners. One will win a copy of the latest mystery in her Harry Bronson series, When the Past Haunts You, and the other will win a copy of the first Aimee Brent mystery, ILL Conceived. L. C. will choose the winner from among those who leave a comment!
In When the Past Haunts You, retired police detective Harry Bronson is forced to face a painful, secret past when his estranged sister begs him to help her. What he learns about her life over the past decades leads him on a serpentine path through the corrupt underbelly of the rich and powerful. The novel’s many twists and turns will leave the reader breathless and will keep him guessing until the very end. The book goes beyond the mystery novel as its themes explore family relationships, bitterness, and forgiveness. If Bronson is to solve his sister’s murder and ultimately become a better man, he must confront yesterday’s ghosts, not an easy task When the Past Haunts You.
Sounds pretty exciting to me, and I can't wait to read the first book in L. C.'s new series, too! Below is L. C.'s guest article. Please leave a comment for her, and if you have a question for her, ask it!
Readers seem to like my mystery series character, Harry Bronson. He’s tough and determined. Yet he has a gentler side to him. The series has been an Agatha Award Finalist for Best Novel of the Year (Why Casey Had to Die), an Left Coast Crime (LCC) Award Finalist for Best Regional Novel (What Others Know), and is now a nominee for the LCC 2013 Watson Award (When the Past Haunts You). In addition, this book hit number two on the Kindle Best Seller Police Procedural List and is my best selling mystery novel.
You could say that the Harry Bronson Mystery Series is both popular and successful. If so, then why did I decide to leave the series and start a new one, the Aimee Brent Mystery Series? Simply because I’m looking into the future. What if at one time or the other, I get tired of Bronson? What if I can’t come up with a fresh plot? Is that when I should start thinking of a new series?
No, by then it would be too late. Why? Because if you lose interest in your series, chances are that so will the readers. This is the one point authors who write more than one series are adamant about. They all advised the same thing: start the new series at the height of the previous one. It stands to reason. Your readers feel enthusiastic about your series, and when they learn that you’ve started a new one, they’re likely to give it a try.
On the other hand, if readers don’t care for the original series, they’ll be less likely to try the new one. If this is the case, what can you as the author do to generate interest in the new series?
Several authors said that this is the time to reinvent yourself. Start the series using a different name. Make no reference to the previous series and go with the idea that you’re a new author who’s written that first book.
Another piece of advice I received from established authors who pen two or more series is to make each series unique. Don’t use characters that act the same way or are similar to each other. The settings should contrast. Dialogs must be different and so should the relationships between your characters.
Some authors prefer to take the idea of creating two different series to the extreme. They’ll make one series a cozy and the other noir. However, I feel that isn’t necessary. It’s okay to pen two different thrillers or two different romantic mysteries or whatever the case you want to write about. The key here is to create a different series with different characters.
One question that often pops up when an author decides to deviate from the original series is should the author forget about that series. That would depend on the reason why the author chose to create the new series. If it’s because that first series is at its death bed, then of course, trash that series.
On the other hand, if the author started a new series to prevent future stagnation and if that series is popular, the author would be foolish to abandon the series. Authors who write one more series recommend that you write two or three of the second series before releasing another title from the first series. From there on, it’s up to you. One of each, some suggest. Others disagree. Better to do two or three from each series, they say. I suppose, the decision will depend solely on the author.
As for me, I’m introducing the Aimee Brent Mystery Series, which focuses on Aimee, a reporter based in S. Lake Tahoe, California. Her first book ILL Conceived will be released in late February. I’ve already written the first draft of the second Aimee Brent mystery, Vengeance in My Heart. I expect that book will have a late 2013 release date.
Soon as I finish with Vengeance in My Heart, I’m back to the next Harry Bronson book. Harry and I have been having some late night conversations and a plot is starting to form. I’m excited and looking forward to working with Harry again.
But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the heck out of Aimee Brent.
I hope you will too.
Love those late night conversations with my characters. Thanks, L. C.! Now, who has a comment or question for her? Good luck in the contest!