I have always loved books in series. I think it started with Nancy Drew. I was ten, and when I unwrapped a present from my dad (I think it was my birthday, but it might have been Christmas) there were three shiny Nancy Drew books in the familiar yellow boards. Now, I’ve always been an avid reader (I’m the girl who would read a cereal box if nothing else was around), so just getting the books was enough. But the truth was that my parents divorced when I was little (stick with me here, there’s a point to this) and when I was visiting my dad, I didn’t have my stuff. Which meant boredom. Which meant I made up stories in my head (always a good thing, but exhausting after a while, and back then no one paid me to do that).
Imagine my joy to be presented with three, count ‘em, three books in a series I hadn’t read before with gobzillions of other books to come (as I could easily see from the checklist in the back).
Unlike my daughter who, when she finishes book 3 in a series has the next one on her Kindle in zero-point-five seconds, I had to beg my dad to find a bookstore. And beg I did. Pretty much the next day, as I glommed those first three in no time flat. And not just because I was bored. These were fun. There was a strong female lead. Adventure. Danger. A mystery. And familiar characters that became my friends. Heady stuff for a kid stuck up in Dallas in a neighborhood without other kids to play with. (Ah, Daddy, if you’re reading this, I’m not complaining. Good times. Really. Good times.)
Anyhoo, I think that’s where my love of series came from. And I share it in a lot of the books I write. In the Shadow Keepers series that I write as J.K. Beck, each book doesn’t follow the same characters. Instead, they’re romances, so each book has a different hero and heroine. But the characters from other books populate the world and the setting itself becomes familiar (the series centers around a paranormal judicial system). The heroine of the just released WHEN PASSION LIES, for example, first appeared in Book One, WHEN BLOOD CALLS, and now in Book Four, she’s getting her own story.
The Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series I write as Julie Kenner is just the opposite. In that series, we follow the same core characters as they grow and develop over multiple books. (And Kate is back!! I’ve got a short story up as an ebook right now (THE DEMON YOU KNOW) and Book 6, PAX DEMONICA, will be out in just a few weeks!).
That’s not to say that every book I read or write is part of a series. I just re-released THE CAT’S FANCY, actually, and it’s a stand-alone light paranormal romance. I guess the bottom line is that, in the end, I just like to read!
How about you? Do you prefer series or stand alones, or do you happily switch back and forth? What’s your favorite series (if you have one?). Mine is J.D. Robb’s In Death series (sorry Nancy Drew!) Share your thoughts and one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of their choice of When Passion Lies or Carpe Demon (book 1 in the Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series)!