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Why Series Books Are Tricky

I’m a series kind of gal.

Harry Potter. Anita Blake. Lestat. Even when I was a kid it was THE BABYSITTER”S CLUB or NANCY DREW.  I just love a nice long slew of books that move the same characters from story to story to story. I fall in love with the characters and follow them to the very end. I’m quite addicted, really.

So, it was really no surprise when I began writing books, I would take on a series. After all, what better way to honor a character’s existence than by continuing their legacy in follow up installments?

However, now that I am on a path leading my characters to other adventures, I’ve come across a problem I’ve not encountered before. I find myself questioning if the second book will be as good as the first. I mean, so far, A LIFE WITHOUT LIVING (THE STREGA SERIES, BK 1) has had a great response from fans. I’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback.

Still, I ask myself, what if book two, BARELY LIVING ALIVE, doesn’t deliver? I mean, I know that I am loving it, but what if it’s a flop? What if it doesn’t quite measure up to the first? And, what if the third, DEATH BEFORE DYING, can’t measure up to the previous two?

Do other authors feel this way?

Come to find out…yes. After discussing this with some colleagues, I realize I’m not alone. Authors, in general, continually question their work. We write, we edit, we re-write, we edit again, and then, after more re-writing and re-editing and sometimes another re-write, eventually, if we’re lucky, we’re published. And, even then I know writers who don’t read their finished books in fear of wanting to go back and make changes.

Authors are no strangers to questioning their work. But, these days I find myself questioning so much, BARELY LIVING ALIVE barely made it to release. When I began writing this series, I was so confident about how the story would progress. But characters meander, plot lines cross, and villains bring friends. Now, I need to figure out where this series will end. If I don’t, book three (DEATH BEFORE DYING) will never see the light of day.

I hear this is a problem for many writers of series, a group that I am now (somehow magically) a part of. Fans will tell you their favorite, or least favorite installment. It happens all the time. And honestly, I’m quite lucky to be in this situation. I am fully aware that this “problem” is a luxury to have. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for it. I just don’t want to let my readers down. I want to produce a solid material, so I  painstakingly meander through it.

But, I AM making it through. And, that is, after all, the entire point: to keep writing, keep producing, keep giving readers new and exciting material to absorb. Because if it weren’t for the readers, this whole thing would not be nearly as satisfying.

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