It seems everywhere you look, authors are writing books in series, and that includes me. As both an author and an avid reader, I love series. Why? Here are my top five reasons:
1. More complex plots – When stories span more than one book, the author has the ability to have multiple levels of plots. Typically, each book has its own storyline that’s begun and resolved within that book, but there’s an overarching question or plot line that’s not resolved until the end of the series. Think about TV’s Castle. While the immediate mystery was solved in each episode, viewers kept tuning in to discover who killed Kate’s mother. In the case of my Cimarron Creek books, the overarching question is, “What happened to Aunt Bertha’s daughter?” Although there’ve been partial answers, the final one comes in A Tender Hope.
2. Familiar Location – Consider the difference between visiting a place the first time and returning to it. While there’s adventure the first time, there’s also a bit of apprehension. Will I get lost? Will I like this place? All of that’s gone the second time. Instead of being worried, you’re excited about returning to a place you’ve visited and loved. So too with books set in the same locale. When readers tell me they’ve fallen in love with Cimarron Creek, I couldn’t be more pleased, because I have too.
3. Continued Relationships – How many times have you finished a book and asked yourself, “What happened next?” A series allows the author to answer that question, showing you what happened to beloved characters by giving them cameo roles in the subsequent books. Lydia, whose candy store made readers’ mouths water in A Stolen Heart, plays a role in each of the three books, espousing my philosophy that there’s no problem too big for chocolate to help.
4. New Stars – Sometimes secondary characters threaten to steal the spotlight and the author has to try to rein them in. With a series, it’s possible to give those characters their own stories and turn them from supporting actors to stars in the next book. That’s precisely the reason Catherine, Lydia’s best friend, had to have her own story in A Borrowed Dream.
5. Fun – Yes, it’s fun to read (and write) series. When I started asking myself why that was so, I realized that one reason was that a series of books combines the best elements of the sagas that were so popular during the second half of the twentieth century with our twenty-first-century desire for shorter reads.
But, in the interest of full disclosure, there are two things I don’t like about some series:
– Having to read them in the order they’re written – How often have you picked up the second or third book in a series and felt as if you were a stranger who’d come late to a party, that everyone knew everyone else, and you were lost? I certainly don’t enjoy that. That’s why I try very hard to make each of my books, even though they’re written as part of a trilogy, stand alone.
– Cliff Hangers – As much as I love cliff-hanger endings for chapters, I hate reaching the end of a book and discovering that the conclusion of a key plot point is in the next book. That makes me feel as if I were being held hostage, being forced to buy the author’s next book. Remember what I said in the “complex plots” paragraph: the main storyline is typically resolved within a book. I’m a firm believer that a book should have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfying ending, and for me, a satisfying ending means that the key plot points are resolved. That’s why I promise my readers no cliffhanger endings.
And now I turn it over to you. If you enjoy reading books that are written in a series, what appeals to you most? Are there any aspects of series books that you don’t like? Do you share my dislike of cliffhangers? Don’t be shy. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it’s time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek’s midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn’t sure her heart can take it.
Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn’t concerned only with the baby’s welfare. He’s been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated–and he’ll need Thea’s help if he’s ever to find the justice he seeks.
Amanda Cabot invites readers back to Cimarron Creek for a tender story of loss, betrayal, and love in the majestic Texas Hill Country.
About Amanda Cabot
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart and A Borrowed Dream, as well as the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com.