Welcome guest Maven, Diana Peterfreund!
Today, my third book is on shelves. It’s called Rites of Spring (Break) and you can buy it here. Okay. Plugged. It’s the third book in the Secret Society Girl series.
There are pros and cons to writing an ongoing series.
PRO: My readers already know who Amy is. I don’t have to spend much time describing her or explaining her world or back story.CON: My readers already know who Amy is. I don’t get to spend much word count describing her or explaining her world or back story.
PRO: I finally get to write those scenes I’ve been dreaming about for three years.
CON: I finally have to write those scenes I’ve been dreading tackling for three years.
PRO: I get to create a long, involved story arc that spans four books and several hundred thousand words.
CON: And that story has to be complex enough to not only fill up all those hundreds of thousands of words, but have four smaller stories that can stand on their own as well as fit together into a cohesive whole.
PRO: I get fan mail about what people love best about my series and hope to see in the latest book.
CON: Sometimes the fans are hoping for stuff that ain’t gonna happen. Sorry.
PRO: People who liked the last two books will probably like this one. Yay, built-in readership!
CON: People who haven’t read the last two books might be afraid of picking up this one (Don’t be. The reviewer from Night Owl Romance said she never read any of the previous books, then gave it a five heart “top pick.”)
So it is with great trepidation that I send out my latest -- my little conjoined twin -- into the world. Will they like her? As much as the others? More? Less? I always hope more, since I try to grow as a writer with each book I write, and I hope that with every new adventure, readers become more engaged with Amy and her friends. And I think they will like it, even those who have begged me not to do what I gleefully do in this book. (Those of you who have read it, please keep the spoilers out of your comments below…) It’s out of my hands now. It’s up to Amy and her big mouth, her foibles, her smarts, and her bravery. It’s up to her relationship with the reader.
Reader expectations mid-series is an interesting conundrum. When I go to my signings in the next few weeks, I’ll be speaking to people who have, if I’m lucky, read only through Under the Rose. And I’ll be talking to them about Rites of Spring (Break). But in my head, I’m living in the fourth book. The things that are current to me are two books in the future to everyone else. I first realized what a challenge this would be when my first novel, Secret Society Girl, came out while I was in the middle of writing the third. So much had changed between the characters that it felt a bit like talking to someone you haven’t seen since high school, who is still surprised that you ended up an English teacher after swearing you’d go pre-med in college.
Rites of Spring (Break) is especially challenging in this arena; as part three of four, my characters and storyline are past the point of no return. Everything has been flipped, thwarted, brought to the breaking point. At work every day, I’m neck deep in tying all those strands together. But for the next year, no one will know about that part except me, my editor, and my husband, who has to hear me whingeing at the dinner table.
There’s another con, I suppose. The pro for that one is easy. I’ve got a secret. And I could tell you… but then I’d have to kill you. :-)
(Diana asks that you please keep spoilers for Rites of Spring (Break) out of the comment thread. She will be posting a “spoiler thread” for discussion on her own blog later this week.)Leave a comment and one lucky MaveFave will win a copy of Rites of Spring (Break)!