Laura Kaye | 5 Lessons Learned from Finishing a Fiction Series
April 24, 2014
I'm so glad to be back at Fresh Fiction celebrating the release of my fourteenth
book, EAST OF ECSTASY!
This is the final book in my Greek-mythology-inspired Hearts of the Anemoi
series, which includes: NORTH OF NEED, WEST OF WANT, and SOUTH OF SURRENDER. The
Anemoi were wind gods the Greek associated with controlling the wind, weather,
and seasons. In EAST OF
ECSTASY, hero Devlin Eston is the heir to the East Wind which has long been
associated with unluckiness, misfortune, and, thanks to Devlin's father, even
evil. Devlin himself has been the victim of father's evil, and thereby finds
himself an outcast among his own divine family. Devlin is the epitome of the
tortured, bad boy hero, and he was incredibly fun and heartbreaking to write.
Today, I wanted to talk about what I learned from finishing my first fiction
series. I currently have four series underway, but the Hearts of the Anemoi is
the first of them that I've seen all the way through to the publication of the
final book. Here are the things I learned from that experience:
1. Finishing a series is scary. This might be a funny place to start, but
I cannot exaggerate just how much tension I felt while writing A
HREF="http://freshfiction.com/book.php?id=67545">EAST OF ECSTASY. Because I
wasn't just writing a book, I was writing the last book readers would ever
get in this series. Which meant I felt a strong sense of duty to get it
right, to do justice to all the characters (not just the main leads in this
book), and to give readers the series payoff that the earlier books had
promised. That's a lot of things to try to get right, and it made writing
East of Ecstasy scary and stressful but awesome, too!
2. Finishing a series is bittersweet. In November of 2010, I was sitting
alone in a hotel room at George Washington's Mount Vernon while at a conference
for my then day-job as a historian and this snow man character started talking
to me and telling me how he was supposed to help a widowed woman through her
grief. I wrote the first chapter of NORTH OF NEED that night
(originally titled Snow's Man (!)) and immediately sent it off to some
trusted writer friends asking them what they thought. By the end of January, I
finished that book, learned my snow man was actually a Greek god, and began
submitting the story for publication. In April, I had an offer from Entangled
Publishing for a four-book series. I love the characters in this series
and I've spent a pretty significant amount of time with them now for four years.
And now their story is over. It's amazing that their stories are now out there
in the world, but bittersweet that I won't get to play with them again. I didn't
realize how strong that feeling would be.
3. Finishing a series is liberating. As much as it's hard to leave the
Anemoi behind, my writer's brain is constantly coming up with new worlds to
explore. In addition to the existing series I have underway which all have
remaining planned books, a totally new series idea has been pecking at my brain
for nearly six months and some of the characters are already talking to me. So
it's liberating to begin to clear the decks to allow those new characters a time
4. Finishing a series is rewarding. Even though it's just a couple days
since EAST OF ECSTASY,
the last book in the series, released, it's been amazing hearing readers'
reactions. This is true of any book, of course, but hearing from readers that
they believe the book did justice not just to its own main characters but to
all the characters and the world as a whole has been one of the most
rewarding experiences in my writing career! And it makes you realize just how
much this writing journey is a shared partnership experience with readers.
5. Finishing a series is educational. I learned a lot about how to write
a series (and how not to write a series) from this experience. For
example, the first book in this series was not originally conceived as part of a
series, and there are definitely things I would've done differently in NORTH OF NEED if I'd known
more about the broader world I'd be writing about. I don't regret that, exactly,
because I love NORTH OF
NEED the way it is, but starting in on my next series, I feel I have a
better sense of the worldbuilding that needs to happen from the very beginning.
I also feel like I've learned a lot about writing distinct characters, handling
a large cast of characters, writing bromance, and the importance of the
reappearance of previous couples in later books. Those are all incredibly
valuable lessons I'll carry into future series I write.
As a reader, what do you most enjoy about reading series?
Thanks for reading!
About EAST OF
The final chapter in the award-winning and bestselling Hearts of the
She's the only one who can give him the strength to save them all...
Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her
ill father, but lately she's been filled with a restlessness not even her
beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don't speak to her as they always
have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and
a terrifying future.
Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can
thwart his father's plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But
first, Dev must master the unstable powers he's been given. Distrusted and
shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion
in the arms of a mortal.
But Devlin's love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the
final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made,
hearts broken, and lives changed forever...or lost.
Buy at Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes
Catch up on the whole series with the Hearts of the Anemoi box
set featuring the first three books: North of Need, West of Want, South
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes
About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen
books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura's large extended
family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts,
and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling
and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two
daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay
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One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of EAST OF ECSTASY plus swag,
open to international.
30 comments posted.
Re: Laura Kaye | 5 Lessons Learned from Finishing a Fiction Series
I love reading a series because the story just keeps going on, it just don't end.
(Bonnie Capuano 8:17am April 24, 2014)
i have been wanting to read this book sounds really good
(Denise Smith 8:49am April 24, 2014)
When reading a series I mostly love the characters. That is what makes me want more to the story - when I feel like the characters could be real and are interesting.
(Pam Howell 9:11am April 24, 2014)
I can't wait to read this. I live series because I get so attached I don't want
the story to end.
(Maureen Mckenzie 9:16am April 24, 2014)
I like reading a series because you get to know the
characters in more depth, and the story goes into a little
more detail as well. The Author has more leeway to take the
story to greater heights, and even add characters, to
enhance the story, which they can't do with a standalone
book. They become like old friends, when you open the cover
of the next book, and you look forward to the next book of
the series, if the Author has done their job well. Your
latest book sounds like a real page-turner, and I can't wait
to read it!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:20am April 24, 2014)
Yay! Congrats Laura!!
(Wendy Roberts 9:22am April 24, 2014)
I love reading series because I love getting to know characters in greater depth and love to see how they are interconnected with new & old characters.
(Amy Englert 9:55am April 24, 2014)
Yes, I love series because when I just get that one read and love it and get hooked it is awful to say goodbye!
(Darci Paice 10:00am April 24, 2014)
I love reading bits and pieces about old friends and learning more about new
(Janet Saunders 10:00am April 24, 2014)
Ohhh ohh I wanna be a lucky
commenter. Thanks for the chance
(Jennifer Fontana 11:08am April 24, 2014)
(Angela Parrish 11:34am April 24, 2014)
I enjoy a series when I get to revisit characters or see others have their chance to share their own stories with us...
(Colleen Conklin 12:45pm April 24, 2014)
I love when series revisit characters from the other books, giving a small taste of continuation in their lives.
(Rachel Flesher 1:01pm April 24, 2014)
I absolutely love this series every single one of the heroes in each book holds a special place in my favorite/dibs list :D But Chrys I
(Amiee Ryan 1:59pm April 24, 2014)
Congrats on your fourteenth book!
(Denise Austin 2:17pm April 24, 2014)
Congratulations on the new release :)
(Mellena D 2:42pm April 24, 2014)
I'm enjoying reading all your comments everyone! Thanks so
much for stopping by! :)
(Laura Kaye 4:17pm April 24, 2014)
I like that with series you get to see characters progress.
You get the HEA moments and see what happens after that. Love
following characters through series.
(Stephanie Fredrick 5:49pm April 24, 2014)
To me, a series is like going home to the little small
community where I grew up, moved away from and eventually came
back to where you know everyone and you look out for each
(Gina Keitz 6:32pm April 24, 2014)
I also love reading series very much. It's something to look forward to when the next comes out to get in touch with some of the characters and/or settings you've loved again. I've seen East of Ecstasy on Facebook many times. I love the cover so much...it's very beautiful and captures attention!
(Linda Luinstra 6:57pm April 24, 2014)
Enjoy reading series books and revisiting characters from the previous books and how they've progressed in their lives. Congrats on finishing 14 great books!
(Rich Cook 7:29pm April 24, 2014)
Hi Laura. I'm looking forward to reading this series.
I love series because I connect with book characters and don't want their stories to end. It's almost like they're friends and I want to catch up with them as their life changes after their own book has ended.
(Marcy Shuler 7:45pm April 24, 2014)
I most enjoy revisiting characters from previous series, and
it's nice to be able to not have to focus so much on figuring
out the rules of the world in the successive books.
(Janie McGaugh 10:37pm April 24, 2014)
I enjoy watching the different characters as they evolve. It
always seems a bit sad when a series ends.
(LaRonda Atchison 10:39pm April 24, 2014)
I love reading series because of the characters. I love to see them grow and change as the story develops, making new friends we get to know in subsequent books. I love to see how their lives progress in your imagination just as our progress in reality. Although, I have to say that their lives tend to progress with quite a bit more "POP" than ours do. Yah! for fiction! We can have our cake and eat it too. Congratulations on finishing your series!
(Debbie Kelly 10:48pm April 24, 2014)
I only read South of Surrender. I'm working my way to reading the rest of this series and I do love that perfect price that is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the 4th book and the book set.
(Kai Wong 10:50pm April 24, 2014)
I enjoy finding out what happens to characters from earlier books. Series books have long been favorites of mine.
(Linda Henderson 2:36am April 25, 2014)
A series lets you hold onto the characters for longer.
(Mary Preston 6:02am April 26, 2014)
Congratulations on the publication of East of Ecstasy, the final book in your series! The Hearts of the Anemoi is an amazing series. I enjoy reading series because of the complex character development and amazing world building. Reading the next book in a series is like meeting an old friend you have not seen in awhile.
(Bonnie Hometchko 1:52pm April 28, 2014)
I love not having to finish right away, the story keeps going
(Brenda Kness 8:14am May 2, 2014)
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