Ever wondered what it’s like to be a series writer?
For me, writing the next-book-in-series is a little like moving to a new house. Same neighbourhood, different street.
The location is the same, but the neighbours to either side of you and your housemates have changed. While your external surroundings echo with the familiar, your immediate surroundings are new and take some getting used to.
Continuing with this analogy, the characters of my books are my mental housemates. And yes, you make take the use of ‘mental’ as you will 😉 When one book ends and the other begins and it comes time to move on, not all of them will make the move with me.
Of those remaining behind, there will be a few where it’s a case of ‘See you later,’ in another book. For the others, it’s a sad and final farewell.
However, those that do make the move with me will be carefully unpacked and set up in guest suites that suit the continuation of their stories.
The remaining empty rooms I fill with new housemates. Housemates whose habits and backgrounds I have yet to learn. How will they get on with my existing housemates? Will they squabble for the limelight and plot ways to trip each other up? Will they become friends and form strong bonds?
Who will break the china, swing from the chandeliers and graffiti their way to an eviction? Which of them will grow to become characters that will move forward with me to the next house/book and which will opt to remain behind?
A new house and housemates can be exciting, filled with an endless daydream of What-ifs but it can also be fraught with uncertainty and teething problems.
And so it is for me when starting to work on the next book in my series. Some of the characters are old friends whose company I enjoy immensely (even if they do drive me bonkers at times). Some of them are new, and we’re still getting the measure of each other.
The writing, like unpacking, feels slow and you wonder if you’ll ever feel at home. However, as you doggedly work at emptying all the boxes, so the shell starts to feel like a home, and soon you’re all bickering good-naturedly over who ate the last of the cereal 🙂