Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's never really THE END

More than once this year, Lydia Dare’s Facebook status has read “My two favorite words in the English language are ‘The End’.” The update is usually followed by a heavy sigh, a super feeling of contentment, and brewing excitement about what’s coming next.

However, we’ve never actually typed “The End” at the end of any of our books. We think readers can tell the end has come for two very important reasons. (1) There are no more pages to turn, which is always a fabulous clue. (2) After finishing 400 pages, readers should be thoroughly satisfied that our hero and heroine will now live happily ever after. “The End” will never happen, because the story will go on and on and on, despite the fact that it’s officially over.

Besides, that’s what epilogues are for, right? The reader (and the writer) gets to take a quick peek into the future. It might be a few months or a few years later. It’s usually just enough for us to make certain there is still happiness in paradise. Ah, the epilogue – where we get to be our gushiest. (The Jodie ½ anyway, the Tammy ½ does NOT do gushy. But that’s why there are two of us.)

Yesterday, Robin’s post made us tear up. (Well, the Jodie ½ anyway. Gushy, you know.) We can’t imagine packing away all of our research and photos from one book in a box and saying good-bye to all of our characters. The very idea is so incredibly heartbreaking. Therefore, we’ve always taken the coward’s way out. We NEVER say goodbye. Never.

Why, you ask? How can we get away with never saying good-bye?

Well, because that’s the glory of a series!


Photo courtesy of Heather Boyd

Our characters can always come back to visit or cause conflict or maybe just be a shoulder to cry on. They all live in the same world, after all. Four Lydia Dare books hit the shelves in 2010. Three more are scheduled for 2011. And another three in 2012. In those 10 books (with the first seven completed) we have a few characters who always seem to turn up. The hero and heroine of Tall, Dark and Wolfish make an appearance in It Happened One Bite (coming in 2011), and the hero and heroine in The Taming of the Wolf are characters in In the Heat of the Bite (another book for 2011). Nothing could make us happier.

We’ve spent so much time with these characters, we want just as badly as readers to know what has happened to them after the pages have been read and the cover has been closed. They also make for some darn fine comedic relief and, since their trials and tribulations are over, they can cause quite a bit of mischief without changing their story at all. That’s always fun.

While “The End” may not be our actual favorite words, the concept behind the words is one of our favorites. Finishing one book means we’re starting the next, growing our world, telling new stories and meeting new characters who may just pop up in some future book somewhere down the road.

19 comments:

  1. Fantastic post ... congrat's on all those sales! I really love it when I'm reading a book and there's a little bit about former characters ... it's like a family reunion!

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  2. I'm like Robin in that I put away all the notes and the mss, clean up my desk and sigh a heavy sigh (at least I do) and then dive into the new book. I don't know if some of my characters will be in a new book, until I get so many requests from fans, I realize they were really loved too! Good luck with all your wolf tails...uhm, tales, ladies! :)

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  3. You guys are cranking out those wonderful books. Way to go. I like to let my characters pop in from one book to another. And as a reader as well, it gives me a nice feeling, like Carolyn said, a family reunion feel.

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  4. I have to clean up my desk. My rule is, the pile of stuff on my desk has to fall below the my computer screens. I don't know about you guys, but if I didn't pack everything up, I'd never be able to find my keyboard! Still, it's sad, but I keep the boxes close by since I'm forever digging through them to find something.

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  5. Wow! You two are certainly prolific! Best of luck with the series!

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  6. Carolyn ~ Thanks so much. And we totally agree. We love family reunions.

    Terry ~ Thanks and good luck with your wolf tails too. ;)

    Anita ~ As readers, we love to have old characters pop up. It kind of makes us feel like we're in the inner circle.

    Robin ~ Maybe it's because all of our files are electronic, since we have to share them with each other. So nothing ever gets boxed up. It's all sitting in an email somewhere. :)

    Cheryl ~ You're pretty prolific yourself. Thanks, btw. :)

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  7. Wow! 10 books in 3 years? That's fantastic! I'm still kind of new at this, so I don't know if the characters will ever completely leave me. In my series, the band members all live together on a crowded tour bus most of the year, so not only do you see the previous characters throughout the series, they're always in each others' business. There's no way not to know what's happening with previous couples. When the series ends, I just know I'm going to cry. (like Jodie) I should have started with more band members! Hindsight...

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  8. Just like I think the popularity of traditional romance novels speaks to a longing for a committed, healthy relationship, so too do I think the interest in series writing speaks to a desire for a sense of a thriving community, one where people know each other and care about each other (like, um, this blog, in a small way). I am almost incapable of envisioning a pair of my characters as isolated in one book. They're more real to me than that.

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  9. Even when *the end* is only symbolic, finishing a project feels good.

    I do enjoy seeing some of my favorite characters return in series, especially when I see the continued happiness and also knowing that love hasn't interfered with the toughness of those heroes. I like seeing how things have progressed with them. Like Carolyn said, family reunion.

    I keep all my files electronic so I don't have to have more clutter around me, lol!

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  10. You're so right that The End is not The End. There are also still revisions, copyedits, page proofs, and then all the promotional blogs...

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  11. Congrats on all the sales!

    I agree with Carolyn, characters are like famly. The best part is when my family talks about the characters from my wip because they've become real people to them, too!

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  12. So funny, Lydia. I always type the end at the end of my books and they are the sweetest words to type. However the copy-editor always takes them out so I've never seen "the end" written in one of my printed books.
    Amelia

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  13. Olivia ~ More band members, indeed! What are you going to do when you run out? I'm so worried for you now. ;)

    Grace ~ I know exactly what you mean. The couple in our first book don't have any ties to any future book at this point - but I still kind of know what's going on in their lives. I imagine a psychiatrist would have a field day with that.

    Sia ~ I don't know what we'd do without electronic files! I'd rather not think about it, as it makes my head hurt. ;)

    Shana ~ And speaking of hurting heads!!! The revisions and the copy edits! I think you just gave me heartburn. :)

    CH ~ That's so funny. I'll have friends that will ask about characters all the time, as though they're real. That always makes me smile.

    Amelia ~ I can't believe they take out your 'The End'. *gasp*

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  14. You two ROCK!! Enjoyed the post much. :-)

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  15. From one of your readers...I like "The End's" that means I have a new book to devour as soon as it hit's the stands.

    Terry, Olivia, Cheryl, Lydia yous guys are great...thanks for all the good reads!

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  16. Catherine ~ Thanks. We're glad you enjoyed it.

    Jessica ~ Thanks so much. That's very sweet of you to say. :)

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  17. Love this post. I often type the words, THE END, but I, too, know it's never the end. Countless revisions, more story ideas for these characters, etc. Great post. Thanks for sharing a piece of your journey with us!

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  18. Lynnrush ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Good luck with your own revisions and story ideas. :)

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  19. Wonderful post, team Lydia! And yes, the series is a wonderful thing. :}

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