Today I’m happy to have Maggie Thom back to the blog today! She is the author of The Caspian Wine Series that expertly combines the suspense, thriller, and mystery genres. I recently reread Captured Lies (Book #1) and reviewed it on Goodreads. Today Maggie Thom is telling about what it takes to write a series. We’re in for a treat today! Here is Maggie:
Writing a series truly had never been in my plans but things don’t always go as planned. I love reading series and have read a lot of them. Every time I’d read one, I’d think, ‘wow this is a lot of work’. There is so much information the author has to carry over from one novel to another – characters, setting, situations, relationships, conflicts… The author has to know a lot of details to ensure that the story makes sense and follows some sort of familiar path as the reader goes from book to book.
So what does it take to write a series?
Some things that need to be considered for each additional book in a series:
- Who the characters are – are they new? Some from previous novels? The author has to know all their details from physical, to emotional, to career, etc. to ensure there is continuity between books (when characters are carried over)
- What is the story line? Where is book 2 going, does it follow any of book 1 or a whole new plot?
- How are the characters carrying over into each series?
- Do you have the same bad guy? Does s/he/it carry over at all?
- What are the roles of the characters from book one in book 2? book 3? if any?
- Are the main characters going to be secondary in additional series or stay as the main characters?
- Where is each book set? a new setting? or the same one? or with some changes?
- What is the time frame from book 1 to 2 to 3…?
- How much of the first story is carried over into the second? Third…?
- What details do you need to include so that the second book… third book… fourth book… is easily understood, even if someone hasn’t read book 1? 2? Or 3?
- What are the conflicts in each book?
- What are the problems that get carried forward?
- How do past events (from previous books) influence current events?
As you can see there are a lot of things to consider when writing a series and a lot of details that the author needs to know from each book. When an author does it right, the reader will feel like they are following the same people, or same town, or same situation. There is a familiarity that the reader is looking for.
It truly is a challenge to do that but I can say it is one that I am glad I stepped up to accept.
Many authors know when they have an idea for a series and they write out a plan for the three, four or five novels they plan to write. They keep the notes they need to make sure they have the information that will be necessary moving forward. Plus, they tend to write the stories one after the other. This is really the ideal way to write a series and makes it somewhat simpler.
I did not use this process. Because I hadn’t planned on writing a series, I didn’t plan out anything beyond book 1, Captured Lies. I actually wrote the original story for Captured Lies, 15+ years ago, so most of my notes were on paper. I hadn’t even typed them into the computer. When I decided to do something with Captured Lies in 2012, I totally rewrote the story and published it. To me that was the end of it.
But no… a reader asked about book 2 and I started exploring where that might go. When I wrote Deceitful Truths, the sequel, I didn’t have what I needed. I had to re-read Captured Lies to take notes and get the information I needed. Writing Deceitful Truths was a bit more challenging because of that. I published Deceitful Truths in 2015. I had done a series. Yay! It was all of two books but I was okay with that. I moved on to writing another suspense/thriller, Deadly Ties. It was not related at all to the Caspian Wine Series.
But then… a reader asked if I was doing book 3. Eek! Ideas started to come to me and Split Seconds was soon in progress. I again had to re-read both novels and take more notes. I now had to decide what would make book 3 compelling and how would it fit the series. I wanted each book to be a standalone, so you wouldn’t have to read each one but I also wanted there to be overlap. I wanted many of the characters in book 1 to be book 2 and book 3 but how to do that?
I was not prepared in any way to write a series, it just took a bit more work. The best part of writing the Caspian Wine Series is that I realized I could do it. And if I’m going to do it in the future, I already take better notes. And I use Scrivener which is amazing for keeping all the information together and making it easier to find everything. So, if another series nudges me, I’m ready.
I’ve already been asked if there is book 4… there are no plans but… I do know I won’t say no.
Writing a series takes a bit more planning, a whole lot more notes and a good imagination to carry it away.
The Caspian Wine Series
Captured Lies (get a free copy here)
She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead.
Someone stole a week of her life and is now trying to steal the secret she is now hiding.
Split Seconds – publication date July 20th (available for pre-order)
Twins separated as toddlers, reunited as adults and now switching places in a deadly game to take on organized crime.
Her sister is alive! Excited to discover that her twin didn’t die as a toddler, Tijan can’t wait to meet her other half but she struggles to understand why her only sibling hasn’t reached out in almost thirty years. Although the reunion is joyous, not everyone is excited to discover that there are two of them. Using it to her advantage, Tijan is determined to take down the one man, responsible for it all… her father. The secrets and lies that have kept them apart, soon unravel but with deadly consequences.
Pre-Order Split Seconds and get some amazing bonuses.
Maggie Thom’s Bio
Want to take an adventure beyond your fingertips?
Award winning author, Maggie Thom loves the challenge of creating a web of secrets, lies and deceit. She doesn’t want you to figure it out until the end. Author of The Caspian Wine Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Series – Captured Lies and Deceitful Truths with Split Seconds about to be published – and her other individual novels Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine) and Deadly Ties. Take the roller coaster ride. It’s worth it. Get your free copy of Captured Lies.
Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…
“Maggie Thom… proves her strength as a master of words, plots and finely chiseled characters… she weaves a brilliant cloth of the many colors of deceit.” Dii – TomeTender
My thanks to Maggie for being here today to chat about writing, organizing a series, and the launch of Split Seconds. OK, now back to reading here 🙂