By Narelle Atkins
I love reading and writing series books. My published contemporary Christian romances belong to continuity series and my upcoming novella release in SPLASH!, His Perfect Catch, is a spin off story from one of these series.
I’ve always been an avid reader of series books, especially in the romance genre. Before Amazon invented Kindle ebooks, I used to go to great lengths to find backlist print books in my favorite series. Hands up if you’ve searched second hand book stores, yard sales, and library catalogues to find those elusive out-of-print books you’re missing from a series.
It’s now so much easier to locate backlist titles because ebooks don’t go out of print. And, many authors are independently releasing their out-of-print titles. I remember discovering Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum general market mystery series at book 5 (High Five) in the late 1990’s. I read High Five, and the next day I found book 4 in a discount department store. Books 1, 2, and 3 were still available in a specialist book store and, without hesitation, I paid top dollar for those titles and read them all within a week. I did check out their availability in my local library, but the borrowing wait list was long and I was impatient to read all the books in the series in the right order.
In October I’m presenting a workshop at the Christian Writers Conference in Australia on writing series books. Why are series books popular with readers? For me, it’s all about the characters. In a single protagonist series like the Stephanie Plum mystery books, I wanted to return to Stephanie’s crazy world and journey with her on a humorous bounty hunt misadventure. The love triangle between Stephanie, bad boy cop Joe Morelli, and Ranger, the mysterious bounty hunter, added a touch of romance to the mystery plot. My favorite minor character was Stephanie’s eccentric Grandma Mazur.
Continuity series are popular in the romance genre. I love seeing interesting minor characters star in their own stories and find true love. Knowing a little bit about their background from previous books in the series can add an extra layer of delight when I finally escape into their romance story.
If you’re a regular reader of our Inspy Romance blog, you’ll know that we’re often posting about books from one of our contemporary romance series. A multi-author box set is a great way to sample series books from different authors.
Inspy Romance members Valerie Comer, JoAnn Durgin, Lee Tobin McClain and Staci Stallings have contributed books to the Summer of Love box set. Their full length books are from existing series and the collection is now sporting Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Contemporary Christian Romance orange badge – congratulations, ladies!
My novella, His Perfect Catch, is part of the SPLASH! box set collection that’s releasing on June 23. The novellas are brand new stories and nearly all of the authors are planning to link their stories to either a new or existing series. His Perfect Catch is a spin off story from Seaside Proposal, the third book in my Sydney series from Heartsong. It will be followed by my new Sapphire Bay series.
Sweet Serenity by Valerie Comer is book 3 in her Riverbend Romance series.
More than Friends by Autumn Macarthur is Catriona’s story in The Macleans series.
Love Flies In by Heidi McCahan is from her Emerald Cove series.
Testing the Waters by Lesley Ann McDaniel is book 1 in her Crescent Cove series.
The Lifeguards, the Swim Team, and Frozen Custard by Carol Moncado is from her Serenity Landing Lifeguards series.
Time and Tide by Lynette Sowell is a standalone novella.
Draw You Near by Jan Thompson is book 3 in her Savannah Sweethearts series.
Orphaned Hearts by Marion Ueckermann is book 1 in her Heart of Africa Romance series.
Have you searched for missing books from series that you’ve adored reading? Or, experienced that bereft feeling when you’ve read the final book in a much loved series. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.