Eileen Dreyer | The Risks and Rewards of Writing a Series
December 3, 2014
Mind you, I've never done this before. Write a series, that is. Not
intentionally, anyway. I tend to discover secondary characters along the way as
I write and realize they need a story. But that isn't how it happened this time.
This time I set myself up to write a trilogy about three women who become
friends under the most trying of circumstances, The Battle of Waterloo. It was
to be called The Three Graces, and I had it all plotted out.
Well, I did until the second book, NEVER A GENTLEMAN, when
Diccan, the hero, returns to his apartment to find eight other men draped over
his furniture enjoying his brandy. You know that part about discovering
secondary characters who need stories? Yeah. It was then that I realized that
Drake's Rakes, the informal group of aristocratic gentlemen I'd casually put
together to protect England(I love nefarious spies), needed their own stories.
Nine of them—well, eight by this time. One, Jack was already taken in BARELY A LADY. I'd set out
to write a trilogy about women and ended up with a---what is a group of ten, a
decatet? What did I do now?
The first thing I did was divide the series up into more bite-size pieces. I
finished the Graces, and am now on the second trilogy, Last Chance Academy, for
the school my three heroines attended before they met their heroes. My last
three heroines will star in Second Chances.
And there are good bits and bad bits about this series business. The good bits
are that I know the characters so well. I get to meet them before their stories
and hopefully tempt my readers to want to know what happens to them. I have a
pre-made brotherhood within which the men act, like their families, so that they
always have someone at their backs. And if I'm lucky, I get to introduce the
heroine they will fall in love with early so my audience can anticipate the
fireworks. I can have them meander through a later book so we know how they're
doing. Not only that, I already know exactly what each Rake's story is, so
I'm looking forward to their stories(especially Drake. I have something
really special in store for him).
And what are the bad bits? Well, when I'm reading a series, I get annoyed when I
feel as if I'm missing information in my story, or as if I can't catch up with
what's going on. On the other hand, if I'm going to read the series, I don't
want to have too much given away in other books(I know. I'm difficult). As an
author, it's very hard for me to weave pertinent facts into each story so that
we can catch up on the Rake's ongoing relationships without revealing too much
or too little. Especially considering the fact that while I have a romantic
suspense plot in each book, I have an overarching plot for the series that must
be carried forward, and lots of characters also weaving in and out of the stories.
I think I can breathe a sigh of relief in relation to my newest Rake book, TWICE TEMPTED (#5 in the
Rakes, #2 in Last Chance Academy). The reviewers so far have said that they
didn't feel confused or lost in any way. They've also been kind enough to
mention one of my favorite parts of writing a series. On-going characters. In TWICE TEMPTED, I have the
great fun of revisiting not only Chuffy Wilde, but Lady Bea, two of my favorite
secondary-characters I've ever written. Except this time, Chuffy gets his
girl(don't lose hope for Lady Bea, either).
I actually have two couples in this book(I have 10 Rakes, after all, and don't
believe in 4 book trilogies). That's because my heroine, Fiona Ferguson, is
actually an identical twin. She and her sister Mairead have only had each other
to rely on most of their lives, making do in the slums of Edinburgh while their
brother Ian was off fighting the wars. When Ian is thought killed and accused
of treason, leaving them completely alone, they once again survive. With the
help of a friend, they manage to secure a position in London working on their
astronomy(another wonderful little surprise for me) and teaching children, where
Alex Knight and Chuffy Wilde track them down.
Ian is not dead. But Ian is a Rake, and busy saving England. So Alex and Chuffy
feel it their duty to help the women. The only problem is that the women, who
carry secrets that forever separate them from society, don't want help. Even
though Fiona has loved Alex for four years(after meeting in the prequel e-short
IT BEGINS WITH A KISS),
she tries to send him away.
But Ian isn't the only one with enemies, and before the twins know it, they are
on the run with the very men they spurned.
As you can imagine, adventure ensues, along with love—and not a little passion.
And I get to introduce Alex's sister Pippin and Beau Drummond, who will star in
my next Rake book, THREE TIMES A LADY. And in Pip's book I'll
introduce Lady Elizabeth Ripton and Nate Adams. Because this series won't be
over until the last bad guy is vanquished and the last Rake is tamed. Well, as
well as you can tame a rake.
In the meantime, I'll be here juggling people and places and the clues to a
nefarious plot. After all, I have four more rakes to go.
What about you? Do you like series? How do you like to read them? What
frustrates you about them? If you want to know more about mine, stop by my website.
Leave a comment below to be entered to win a paperback copy of TWICE TEMPTED.
22 comments posted.
Re: Eileen Dreyer | The Risks and Rewards of Writing a Series
I love reading series! It is really nice to be able to find
a wonderful book and learn that there are many more set in
the same place and time and with many of the same
characters. I do like when there are stories within a
series (even just novellas) that can be read independently.
(Brooke Bumgardner 2:04am December 3, 2014)
I love the covers on your books--no extremely long piles of fabric and the hair
and the color of the gowns go so well together.
(Sandra Spilecki 10:32am December 3, 2014)
If the story line is interesting enough, I'll read a series.
After a while, the characters in those types of books tend
to be almost like your own family, and you can't wait to
find out what happens next!! The only drawback is when
certain Authors wait so long (sometimes a year or more)
before the next book comes out. By then, you start to lose
interest in the series altogether, and at times, I have
stopped reading the series. I came across one Author that I
loved, and she took a completely different direction with
her story line. To me, that was a big disappointment. I
think she hit a brick wall with her story line, so she
decided mid-stream to go in a different direction. I
haven't read her books in quite a while, and she's had a few
books out since then. I haven't had a chance to read your
series yet, but it does sound good to me. Thank you for
leaving the heads on the characters of your story on the
cover of your book!! It adds so much to the cover, and
doesn't look like a mistake was made at printing!! I'll be
putting your books on my TBR list, and since the Winters are
long where I live, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to get
started on your series!! Congratulations!!
(Peggy Roberson 10:55am December 3, 2014)
I love when secondary characters get their own story! Leave no character behind.
(Seanna Yeager 11:52am December 3, 2014)
I love series. Rather they are the same people through out
or different couples.
(Kimberly Woodall 12:18pm December 3, 2014)
I enjoy series as long as each book can act as a stand alone... sometimes I miss books and never know what happens, especially if it is a series with multiple authors...
(Colleen Conklin 12:32pm December 3, 2014)
I love reading series books! However, I also despise
them. I like to read them one after another so that I
can just go on from book one and read them in a row to
the end. Some times I have the books for a few years
before I even read the first just so that I have two or
three to go thru and the four is coming out. But then
there are some that I just devour them as they come out.
The Dark Hunter series or Stephanie Plum series for
example I just read once they are out and I am ok. Lady
Whistledown/Bridgerton series, I started with the Duke
and I and when she announced she was doing the 7 others I
knew I was going to get frustrated waiting. But they are
so worth it.
(Tina Ullrich 12:52pm December 3, 2014)
I do like to read series. It gives me a chance to revisit
characters and settings in a story. I tend to most enjoy
reading them from first book onward. Can't think of
frustrations regarding them.
(G. Bisbjerg 12:52pm December 3, 2014)
I love series, and seeing the development of the characters.
What frustrates me is when I get a book that is part of a series I haven't read, but NOT the first book. Some authors like to recap what happened in previous books, but unless it's essential to the character's development in the current book, I think it's overkill.
(Joanne Schultz 5:03pm December 3, 2014)
I love reading series that cover secondary characters,
especially stand alone books.
(Mary Hay 10:02am December 4, 2014)
Of course your latest in the Drake's Rakes series doesn't disappoint! I'm so glad Chuffy is finally getting his girl. He is one of those interesting secondary characters that you meet and instantly know there is more to him that expected. I hope he and Mairead pop back up in Pip's book. Thanks, Eileen!
(Kim Akers 1:21pm December 4, 2014)
I love reading series! This one is especially my favorite!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 10:48pm December 4, 2014)
I love reading series. I do like for each story to be
resolved by the end, but don't mind if it picks up in the
next book. The one thing that bothers me the most is when a
character is described in an early book & in a later book
has been totally made over into a different looking
character, but it is still supposed to be the original
(Kathleen Giannone 11:05pm December 4, 2014)
I love series - especially the never-ending ones ;) I
appreciate the well developed over multiple books story
arcs and relationships - it makes the world more real. My
biggest problem is when an author's muse stops inspiring
that particular series and I want more :(
(Vanessa Primer 1:26am December 5, 2014)
I love series books, but hate it when I have to wait to
long for the next installment.
(Jenny Ford 2:06am December 5, 2014)
I love series. The frustation comes in waiting for the next
installment or when the series ends - that's why I love
(Diane Sallans 11:12am December 5, 2014)
I love series. I enjoy finding out what happened in the lives of other characters and am always anxious for the next one in the series to be published. I haven't read any of the Rake books, but I think I would enjoy reading Twice Tempted. If it's a good as it sounds, I'll probably have to go back and read the others in the series.
(Anna Speed 2:39pm December 5, 2014)
I love series and I always read them in order. Sometimes I will
read a couple and then read another book and then come back to
(Denise Austin 6:32pm December 5, 2014)
Finally! My computer stopped fighting me and gave me my password. Thanks Sara and FF for letting me play, and for everybody's answer. I'm delighted I can share my love of series--and my frustrations--with you guys. And yes, sadly, I'm afraid I'm one of those authors who hasn't always managed to get her books out quickly. Especially TWICE TEMPTED, because writing two couples makes it so much more complicated for me, took longer than I wanted. Hopefully Pip and Beau will behave themselves. We'll find out, won't we?
(EILEEn Dreyer 6:41pm December 5, 2014)
I like a good series. I like getting to know characters and what happens in their lives. Disjointed series not so much.
(Laura Gullickson 9:12pm December 5, 2014)
I enjoy a good series, but I'm anal about it...I have to
read them in order.
(Deb Diem 11:55pm December 5, 2014)
I love reading series! Even though I try reading them in order, it doesn't really matter. I enjoy following the character and story development with each new book.
(Bonnie Hometchko 4:57pm December 23, 2014)
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