Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wicked By Any Other Name


It's that time again! Launching our latest books! For me, it's Wicked By Any Other Name, the third book in my Hex series.
And I'd also like to add that I've been contracted for two more Hex books that will be out next year! So the witches will keep on coming!


So what makes a book series?

Building a series is actually a lot of work. It’s not all about writing connected books, it’s also making sure continuity is there, that continuing characters are the same personality wise in each book. That the writer doesn’t suddenly making changes without giving a good reason, so the reader isn’t confused. And a writer knows a series has to be nurtured and grow with each book, because it’s common knowledge it can take about five books before a series truly takes off. With each book released, more readers try the most recent book then go in search of the earlier books. I know I’m one of those readers who immediately buy the previous books.

I knew my Hex series would need to be built in such a way the characters would be introduced before their book came out. Such as Stasi and Blair showing up in 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover and Hex Appeal. The best part was that readers asked if they’d get their own books, so I knew even those glimpses of them was enough to tempt the readers to come back.

I like to call it layering. Each book gave a little more, a bigger glimpse into the future, so to speak. Writing more about all the characters and peeks into their pasts.

So by the time Wicked By Any Other Name came out, readers knew Stasi was sweet natured and had a dog named Bogie who floated rather than walked. And that she had a lingerie boutique that also featured romance novels. What they didn’t know was that she also had a gargoyle that was about as un PC as you could get and she had a spine of pure iron when need be. That inner strength came out when she was hit with a double whammy of a pending lawsuit in Wizards Court and a sexy wizard attorney affecting her in some pretty wild ways such as seeing red hearts over his head and he seeing them over hers. A witch who promotes romance also trespasses into Cupid’s province and the god of Eros is very territorial. And since witches are further down the social chain, there should be way for a wizard to be attracted to her. But when Cupid gets involved anything can happen.

A brief glimpse of Stasi and Blair’s town, Moonstone Lake, let the readers know where the witches lived, so they’re briefly acquainted with it before seeing the town and people as a whole. And what they’ll see is a town with a lake contaminated by olde magick, townspeople looking at Stasi as if she suddenly turned into the Wicked Witch of the West and accusations fly fast and furious. A part of Stasi’s past comes into play since she had lived in Olde Salem during the Witch Trials and the terror from that time hasn’t left her. Another layer to Stasi and in the book you see more of Blair, about her shop and her personality. But more about her this fall.

There’s still the mingling of characters with Jazz, Nick and Irma there and naturally, Fluff and Puff, because there’s no way they’d want to be away from any place that might have trouble brewing.
Wicked By Any Other Name actually evolved from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer titled Hush. In Hush, the characters lost their voices and evil creatures came at night to feed on their fear as they took their hearts. In Wicked By Any Other Name fear is there in a magickal sense as the town is cut off from the outside world due to heavy snowstorms and a power outage. And just like Buffy’s Scooby gang, Stasi has Trev, the wizard attorney, Blair, Jazz and Nick along with some former residents of Moonstone Lake that now resides on another plain.

I wanted that balance of engaging Stasi mixed with the dark and hopefully I accomplished my goal.

And the layering of characters and events will continue with my October release, Hex in High Heels.

I hope you enjoy Wicked By Any Other Name and if you haven’t read 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover and Hex Appeal, that you’ll go out and find them and consider Hex in High Heels when it’s released.

Because a series can only flourish as long as the readers want the books.

Linda


19 comments:

  1. A very enjoyable discussion of how you handle writing in series. Like you, when I find a series that engages me, I immediately want everything that came before.

    I'm impressed that you're not content with stringing the books together like beads but with each story you are building a mosaic that has a bigger picture. Ambitious!

    Looking forward to Wicked By Any Other Name

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've never been a big fan of series books; there are some I've loved and others that really turned me off to the idea because there was no ending.
    You're doing a remarkable job with yours, Linda. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just bought it last night and can't wait to read it, Linda!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great explanation of layering, Linda. I love connected books, but I never realized that writing them carries some interesting challenges. You always need to be thinking a few steps ahead! Love your characters, congrats on the new release!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great blog, Linda!

    I can't wait to get off my reading diet so I can read it. I have a feeling I'm going to binge big-time. Congratulations on the new release!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks MM!

    I feel that I learned what to do when I wrote series for categories, because even there I wanted to build on MORE with each book. And if you're too content, then the readers get bored. Can't have that!

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cheryl,

    At least mine have an ending :} But I know what you mean because I've had that problem too.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Kendar,

    Yes, you're always thinking ahead not to mention keeping everything in sync with each book. My companion files keep growing!

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm with you, Robin. I want unlimited time to read! I need it! My tbr is screaming at me. But I also have a new book to write.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  10. CONGRATS on you launch, Linda!

    Looking forward to seeing more of Horace and of course Fluff & Puff and all your other fun lil creatures. And BIG CONGRATS on the new 2 book contract!

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Linda,
    Congrats on the release of Wicked and the new contract for more witches!! Very happy for you! I am working on a series right now and loving the challenge of producing stand-alone books that also leave the reader wanting more of my beloved characters. Lots of fun to write--and hopefully to read, too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your series sounds great fun. And thanks for the insights into writing a series, something I've just begun to venture into.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks AC,

    And it won't keep me out of mischief either!

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  14. Marie,

    The challenge is the most fun. Can be nuts at times, but it's worth it in the end.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks Sheila,

    They're also a learning experience, even for the author. It's just a good thing my witches make it fun.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  16. You'll see tomorrow how much I love serials! I am so happy for you Linda and so thrilled to be taking the journey with you. Good luck! We will be routing for you all the way.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks Sharon and we're so glad to have you with us.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  18. Linda,

    I love your books. As long as you are writing them I'll be reading them.

    I love books in a series because you really learn to love the characters and the writers style more than with just one book.

    Your Hex series has been added to my "must read" list.

    ReplyDelete