Following the publication of his latest book, “Missing”, we asked the celebrated iUniverse STAR AWARD author of The Folly Beach Mystery Series, Bill Noel, his thoughts on writing a series of books; and he said:-
“I recently read an interview with a woman who was the country’s oldest living citizen. When asked the secret to her long life, she replied, “I guess I just forgot to die.” I completed my first novel, “Folly”, in 2007 with no intention of writing a series. To paraphrase that insightful, seasoned citizen, six more books later, “I guess I forgot to stop writing.”
It’s all about character
Series novels are generally more character driven than plot centered. Readers like to make a connection with the main characters and the series format fits the bill. A series also works well for the author. It provides a built-in fan base. Readers anxiously await the next volume to learn what will happen to the characters they have met in previous books. As a consequence, not only do sales increase with each book, but new readers to the series will often go back and buy the earlier installments.
Writing a series gives the author the opportunity to develop and grow the main characters, to give greater depth to the relationships among characters, and the chance to add more complex sub-plots. Readers have told me that they felt that they knew my characters so well that they would like to invite them home for supper. Visitors to the real island of Folly Beach, South Carolina, the primary setting of the books, have shared that they have actually seen the novels’ characters in the local restaurants and stores. None of this would have been possible if the books were not presented as a series.
On the other hand, there are a couple of negatives with the format—one obvious, one less so. If readers don’t like your first novel—as hard as that may be to believe—they probably won’t buy the second book, or the third, or … you get the point. The less obvious drawback is the increased difficulty of reintroducing the main characters in each subsequent book. Each installment must be able to be read as a stand-alone novel, but continuity of the series is critical. How do you share with the first-time reader enough about the characters without boring the returning reader who has already traveled hundreds of pages with each recurring individual?
From my experience, the advantages of writing a series far outweigh the drawbacks. Besides, I continue to write so I can learn what happens next to my quirky cast of characters.”
More to come?
For more information about Bill and his books, visit his website http://www.billnoel.com
For more information about The Folly Island Series visit: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com