In the past five years, I’ve published books in three distinct series: The Profiler (a psychological suspense series featuring FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, whose job is to get into the heads of killers), The Lawmen (a romantic suspense series about three friends who make a pact to join the FBI after violence tears apart their lives, and what happens ten years later when that violence returns) and The Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn (a romantic suspense series about three foster brothers ripped apart as children, who are determined to unravel the secret of their past).
What is it about series that keeps me coming back? As a writer, it’s many of the same reasons that I can’t stay away from series as a reader:
I can’t wait to revisit the characters: My Profiler series features one primary character, who returns book after book with new cases to profile for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. While the plot of each story revolves around her work as a profiler, part of what I love about her series is the character growth. In the first book in the series, HUNTED, Evelyn was socially inept and purposely isolated. By the time book four, STALKED, rolls around, she’s entered into a forbidden work relationship and actually begun to interact well with her colleagues. Seeing her change book after book is part of why I love writing her – and why I hope readers return, too.
I love giving secondary characters a chance to be the stars of the show: My Lawmen and Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn series work differently. Each of the stories in those series have a different set of main characters. What I love about creating those is being able to develop secondary characters in one book and then shove them center stage in the next. In the first book in my Lawmen series, the story centered around Ella Cortez, an FBI agent, and Logan Greer, a police detective, as they chased down what Logan was convinced was a serial killer in the marshes of Florida. During the course of the book, I introduced Ella’s friends, brother and sister Scott and Maggie Delacorte. The three of them joined the FBI together after Maggie was the victim of a serial rapist in college. Ten years later (in Maggie’s story), that predator returns and Maggie (alongside fellow FBI SWAT agent Grant Larkin) has to face down her fears and her past.
There’s always more to the story: In my Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn series, I introduce foster brothers Andre Diaz (who was Scott’s partner in the Lawmen series books!), Cole Walker, and Marcos Costa. As kids, their house caught fire and burned to the ground, separating the three of them after they’d finally created their own family. Years later, they’ve reunited and each gone into law enforcement. In the first book in the series, Andre begins to believe the fire that tore them apart wasn’t an accident. Through the course of the series, while each of the brothers falls in love and deals with other complications, the truth about their past is slowly revealed.
I want to know what happened while I was away: Since life doesn’t stop in between books, I love tossing in little details about what other characters in the series have been up to as the books progress. Especially with the romantic suspense series, I don’t want the characters’ stories to end once they get their “happily ever after!” Because there’s still more to come, whether it’s a proposal or marriage or kids. And with series that continue, I can show what happens after the “happily ever after” too!
I like uncovering clues and reveals: With The Profiler series, between books, a few weeks or a few months might pass in Evelyn’s world. So, I love to throw in little details that an astute reader will pick up on from book to book. For example, in the third book in the series, SEIZED, there’s a brief mention of a case file going around the office that no one can figure out. That case returns in a big way in STALKED, when Evelyn tries to figure out what happened to a missing teenager who left behind a note foretelling her own death. And between the second book in the series, VANISHED, and the third, SEIZED, there’s a brief period of time that gets mentioned in the books – and I was able to flesh that out (a secret vacation with a coworker she’s not supposed to date!) in my short story AVENGED.
These are just a few of the reasons I adore series – both as a writer and a reader. What about you? If you love series, what keeps bringing you back? (Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BODYGUARD WITH A BADGE, the first book in my Lawmen: Bullets and Brawn series).
About Elizabeth Heiter
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages; they’ve also been shortlisted for the Daphne Du Maurier award, the National Readers’ Choice award and the Booksellers’ Best award and won the RT Reviewers’ Choice award.
The heroine of Elizabeth’s Profiler novels was called “one of the most amazing characters created in print” by Fresh Fiction. Her novels have received praise from Lee Child, J.T. Ellison, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, R.L. Stine, Allison Brennan, Laura Griffin, Suzanne Brockmann, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Zoë Sharp.