Monday, October 15, 2007

Just Like Family - Elizabeth Boyle

I got an email from a reader the other day wondering how two characters were doing. Had they resolved their disagreements and were they friends again. Of course the smarty pants part of me wanted to email her back and say, "Sure they are! Why they just went bowling the other day . . . " But then after a few moments I had a different sort of response--I was truly and honestly touched that a reader cared enough to ask about one of my characters. That these two men from my stories had entered her heart, just as they'd come out of mine and become family.

Who was I to joke about these characters taking on a life of their own, when I collect my characters around me and spin their stories and delve into writing huge, convoluted, inter-connected series and love every minute of it, simply because it allows me to revisit the folks that I can't let go of, i.e. Temple and Diana from Stealing the Bride. I've even dedicated part of my books and website to proudly displaying their family trees.

And those are just the family trees I show off in public. My writing files are filled with notes about the Danvers, the Marlowes, the Langleys and Knolles. The family trees I've mapped out and filed away for future books--like this one of Thatcher's family (the hero of Love Letters from a Duke.) Before he became the Marquess of Standon, two uncles and a brother held the title. To me these were important facets in creating his character, but they also brought his family dynamics to life.

I like to think that these families represent every family out there--well, minus the wealth, power, titles and servants--but they represent the families we come from--from the uncle who embarrasses you at family weddings by singing Danny Boy off key and too loud, or the grandmother who can't help meddle in your love life--I had two of those!--or the incredible loyalty a family can show when one member is struggling, sick, or just plain in trouble.

So in answer to my wonderful fan, yes, Alex and Jack are still friends. Best of friends. Just like family ought to be.

What do you love about books built around families? Series that continue? What makes you stick with them?


Lois said...

Oh geez, I love series books, or even just a little bit connected. It gives you something to look forward to, I think. If you know that someone you read a bit about in one book is going to have their own book, it's like you already have met them in life, but you might also get a visit from old friends, in guise of the older characters making visits.

Alas, if I happen on a series of books after the first one came out, the anal retentive side of me will keep those books I did get until I can get the older ones. . . such as, oh, I don't know, I have Love Letters From a Duke sitting here, but I still have to find This Rake of Mine. Just can't get myself to reading one without the other, no matter how much one can stand up by itself without the other. LOL :)


Elizabeth Boyle said...

Lois, I know what you mean! I hate reading a series other than starting at the beginning. But that sort of makes it all that much more fun as you "catch up" with everyone else. I do like seeing old characters again, and learning more about the facets of what makes them unique. Enjoy This Rake of Mine when you find it!

Jen in WA said...

I'm another one who has to read series in order. While they might stand alone, they seem to make more sense when read in order. Even if it's just small mentions about something that happened in early books.

I'm not entirely sure what attracts me to series, but most of the books I read are part of them. I suppose part of it is when part characters appear. I also like when there is some sort of over-arching plot or theme that connects them.

Nathalie said...

I usually like series because it allows me to know better the characters and I grow attached to them and want to know what happens, they become part of my very enlarged family - reminds me of daytime soaps.

Karen H in NC said...

My name is Karen and I am a series addict. Yes, I love series books. But, in 95% of the cases of series books, I won't start reading any of the books UNTIL I have them all in my possession. The exceptions being the SL Cynsters Saga and JQ's Bridgertons. Those books have been read as soon as they hit my hands.

I like the fact that the story of a family/group will continue and with some of my favorite authors at the pen, I know I'm in for a big treat.

Elizabeth Boyle said...

Thanks all for dropping by! Nathalie, I never thought of them in comparison to daytime soaps, but that makes sense, especially since I am such an All My Children fan!

peggy said...

love letters from a duke was a awesome book.i cant wait to read the next one.

Maureen said...

I like them because you get to visit again with old friends from previous books. Also, often the characters in the current book were introduced in a previous one so you already have an idea of their character. It's always fun when you think you know the character but they are very different than how they apprear to others.