Thursday, February 28, 2013

Today's Mystery Author Guest: L. C. Hayden

 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!

The Birth of a New Series

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!   


Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

I absolutely LOVE your title and I have to tell you that "When the Past Haunts You" has me intrigued.

Jeanine Elizalde said...

I just read When the Past Haunts You, my first Lc Hayden book. Simply stated, I loved it and I have added the rest of her books to my TBR list.

susan furlong bolliger said...

I love the premise of "When the Past Haunts You" and will definitely check it out. Good luck with your new releases L.C.!

Anonymous said...

Not only the title of your new book, but the covered bridge really lures me to read this series. I have photos of my family in a covered bridge that looks much like this one from our last trip to NH and I know the story will be as interesting as the cover. Love your work and can't wait to read your next series. Sincerely,

Jody said...

Both books sound good. Thanks for keeping up the good work, L.C. Looking forward to Aimee's book.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, L.C. and Beth,

Good to know you're both still writing mystery series fiction. Wishing you both much success.

Peg Berkhousen said...

As an aspiring mystery writer, I enjoyed your thoughts about writing series. I can't wait to start reading the ones you've already written. This group has helped me discover some new writers that I haven't read before!

Warren Bull said...

Maybe you can write a book with both characters present. That should prove interesting.

Marja said...

L.C., I thoroughly enjoy the Harry Bronson series and I have a feeling I'll feel the same about the new series. Great post, and thanks for sharing.
Marja McGraw

Unknown said...

Hi Patricia,
Glad to hear the title is intriguing. I never thought much about it but it's something I'll focus on--thanks to you!
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Jeanine,
Thanks for reading When the Past Haunts You and for saying you're going to read my back list. I appreciate it!
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Susan,
Glad you like the premise of When the Past Haunts You and I'm super delighted you will check it out.
Thanks for wishing me good luck with the new series. I hope readers will fall in love with Aimee Brent!
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Cynthia,
Although When the Past Haunts You is set in Pennsylvania (the bridge is McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge,) I believe the covered bridge in the cover is in NH. Neat place, eh? So is Pennsylvania!
Thanks for saying you love my work and are looking forward to the new series.
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Jody,
I'm too am looking forward to the release of the new Aimee Brent mystery, ILL Conceived. That should be next month!
Thanks for your comment about my good work. You know how to make a gal feel good!

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Jacqueline,
Thanks for the wish of success. Same goes to you--and congrats on your Harlequin mystery release!
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Peg,
Glad you're going to give me a try. Discovering a new author is always an exciting time. Good luck with your writing!
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Warren,
I have thought of eventually writing a book where Aimee Brent and Harry Bronson are both there. Like you said, seems promising. Thanks for the suggestion.
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Marja,
Thanks for the vote of confidence on the new series. I really hope readers will enjoy her as I want her to live a long life that expands into many books!
L. C.

Helen Ginger said...

Great advice, L.C. Glad to hear you're not abandoning the Harry Bronson series!

L. C. Hayden said...

Thanks, Helen. I love Harry Bronson. He's such a part of me, I don't think I'll ever abandon him!
It'll be like cutting my right arm off, or my left arm, or the one in the center or . . .
L. C.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

L.C. I like your thinking. So impressed with those of you who write series. I've written single title, because I love getting to know new characters. Have The Past Came Haunting on my Kindle and will check out Aimee Brent. Thanks for spending time with Beth today!

Beth Groundwater said...

I'm loving all these comments, folks! Thanks so much for making LC feel so welcome. Keep them coming up until tomorrow evening, when she will draw the names of two winners in her contest!

Patricia Stoltey said...

L.C., I read a lot of series, and I often feel that an author has hung on too long. Some series should remain a novel and its sequel, while others are suited to five or ten or more novels. It's important for the author to know when to make the change.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Donnell,
You fill my life with warm bubbles when you said you got When the Past Haunts You in your Kindle. Thanks so much.
You may want to consider doing a series. Each book adds new and wonderful characters who give Bronson life. Who knows, maybe the next character is in a box somewhere in your house.
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Patricia,
Words of the wise. Wish I had said that in my blog. Thanks for pointing that out.
L. C.

Kaye Killgore said...

Both series sound like good reads. I will check them out.

cmgren said...

Can't wait to read both series. Thanks for having this contest.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Cmgren,
I'll be drawing the names out of a hat for this contest sometime tonight. Check back then for the winners' names. Thanks for wanting to read both of my series--and good luck with the contest.
L. C.

Unknown said...

Great cover- interesting synopsis- looking forward to reading more by L.C.
Thanks for the opportunity to win!

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Amanda,
Thanks for your comment. I'll be drawing names out of the hat tonight. Good luck! And thanks for participating.
L. C.

bestjlb said...

Your books sound great. I look forward to reading them!

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi bestjib,
Thanks for saying my books sound great. After you've read one of mine, contact me and let me know what you thought.
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi Kaye,
Thanks for checking out both of my series. Let me know what you thought.
L. C.

L. C. Hayden said...

Hi All,
Thanks to all who commented. If you did, I put your name in a box and drew out two winners. They are (ta ra--that's a drum roll) Cynthia and cmgren. Congratulations to these two winners. Please contact me through my website: Click on contact author or ask Beth for my email address.
Thanks to everyone who participated. Wish I had a book to give to each of you. Keep in touch!
L. C.