In the past five years, I’ve published books in three distinct series: The Profiler (a
psychological suspense series featuring FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, whose job is
to get into the heads of killers), The Lawmen (a
romantic suspense series about three friends who make a pact to join the FBI
after violence tears apart their lives, and what happens ten years later when
that violence returns) and The Lawmen: Bullets and
Brawn (a romantic suspense series about three foster brothers ripped
apart as children, who are determined to unravel the secret of their past).
What is it about series that keeps me coming back? As a writer, it’s many of the
same reasons that I can’t stay away from series as a reader:
I can’t wait to revisit the characters: My Profiler
series features one primary character, who returns book after book with new
cases to profile for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. While the plot of each
story revolves around her work as a profiler, part of what I love about her
series is the character growth. In the first book in the series, HUNTED, Evelyn was socially
inept and purposely isolated. By the time book four, STALKED, rolls around,
she’s entered into a forbidden work relationship and actually begun to interact
well with her colleagues. Seeing her change book after book is part of why I
love writing her – and why I hope readers return, too.
I love giving secondary characters a chance to be the stars of the show:
My Lawmen and Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn series work
differently. Each of the stories in those series have a different set of main
characters. What I love about creating those is being able to develop secondary
characters in one book and then shove them center stage in the next. In the
first book in my Lawmen series, the story centered around Ella Cortez, an FBI
agent, and Logan Greer, a police detective, as they chased down what Logan was
convinced was a serial killer in the marshes of Florida. During the course of
the book, I introduced Ella’s friends, brother and sister Scott and Maggie
Delacorte. The three of them joined the FBI together after Maggie was the victim
of a serial rapist in college. Ten years later (in Maggie’s story), that
predator returns and Maggie (alongside fellow FBI SWAT agent Grant Larkin) has
to face down her fears and her past.
There’s always more to the story: In my Lawmen: Bullets and
Brawn series, I introduce foster brothers Andre Diaz (who was Scott’s
partner in the Lawmen series books!), Cole Walker, and Marcos Costa. As
kids, their house caught fire and burned to the ground, separating the three of
them after they’d finally created their own family. Years later, they’ve
reunited and each gone into law enforcement. In the first book in the series,
Andre begins to believe the fire that tore them apart wasn’t an accident.
Through the course of the series, while each of the brothers falls in love and
deals with other complications, the truth about their past is slowly revealed.
I want to know what happened while I was away: Since life
doesn’t stop in between books, I love tossing in little details about what other
characters in the series have been up to as the books progress. Especially with
the romantic suspense series, I don’t want the characters’ stories to end once
they get their “happily ever after!” Because there’s still more to come, whether
it’s a proposal or marriage or kids. And with series that continue, I can show
what happens after the “happily ever after” too!
I like uncovering clues and reveals: With The Profiler series,
between books, a few weeks or a few months might pass in Evelyn’s world. So, I
love to throw in little details that an astute reader will pick up on from book
to book. For example, in the third book in the series, SEIZED, there’s a brief
mention of a case file going around the office that no one can figure out. That
case returns in a big way in STALKED, when Evelyn tries to figure out what
happened to a missing teenager who left behind a note foretelling her own death.
And between the second book in the series, VANISHED, and the third,
SEIZED, there’s a brief period of time that gets mentioned in the books – and I
was able to flesh that out (a secret vacation with a co-worker she’s not
supposed to date!) in my short story AVENGED.
These are just a few of the reasons I adore series – both as a writer and a
reader. What about you? If you love series, what keeps bringing you back? (Leave
a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BODYGUARD WITH A BADGE, the
first book in my Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn series).
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her
suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists,
and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the
minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI
Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen
countries and translated into eight languages; they've also been shortlisted for
the Daphne Du Maurier award, the National Readers' Choice award and the
Booksellers' Best award and won the RT Reviewers' Choice award.
heroine of Elizabeth's Profiler novels was called "one of the most amazing
characters created in print" by Fresh Fiction. Her novels have received praise
from Lee Child, J.T. Ellison, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, R.L. Stine,
Allison Brennan, Laura Griffin, Suzanne Brockmann, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Zoë
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