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The other day I was scanning my to-be-read shelves for something new. I wanted a stand-alone book, one I knew would end at "The End" while I impatiently awaited the next installment of my many curently-reading series: Mary-Janice Davidson, Jeaniene Frost, Kelly Gay, Karen Marie Moning, Vicki Pettersson, and Michael Grant, to name just a few.
Can you guess where this is headed? Yep, to my dismay, ALL of my TBR were book 1 in a new series. Glimmerglass. Vampire Academy. City of Bones. Wicked Lovely. Fallen. The list went on and on.
Despite my frustration, I’m totally down with the series love. You can delve into another world, rich with character and atmosphere and really get to know what makes those people and worlds tick. It's the return of something familiar, coupled with a brand new story, or an extension of those characters, watching them grow and evolve (sometimes literally). I see it taking off brilliantly in urban fantasy and paranormal, where one book just isn't enough to sustain the larger-than life world the author creates.
Category romance also does well with interconnecting stories/series (The Fortunes, The Dantes, even our very own Diamonds Down Under) and a perfect format for this type of story because you don't have to wait as long for the next book. Because the downside is when I love a series, I have to have ALL of the books NOW! A major bummer when the author is still writing it. Of course, on the flipside, if I take a chance and splurge on more than the first book, what happens if the series sucks? I'm stuck with a bunch of books that make my librarian happy. My bank account, not so much.
So, as I explore and begin to sketch out my own medieval/fantasy series set in an alternative universe, I need to know from you, the readers. What keeps you reading a series? What turns you off? What do you want to see that hasn't been done yet? What’s done brilliantly? I'd really love to know!
Paula Roe writes category romance for Harlequin Desire and her next release is Bed of Lies (February 2012). In the little time she has left, she designs websites, teaches her son and is drafting out the abovementioned medieval/fantasy series that includes shapeshifting trees and space wormholes.