I was remarking to someone yesterday, half jokingly, that as I close in upon the end of a series readers seem to be enjoying, I often wish I had made it larger. I have written six of the seven Survivors’ Club books and wonder why I didn’t invent twelve members of the club instead of seven. As I drew to the end of the Bedwyn series a number of years ago (the SLIGHTLY books) I wondered why I had not invented a family with twelve siblings instead of six. It is possible, of course, to begin a completely open-ended series in which, for example, the family concerned includes numerous cousins and perhaps several generations and can go on forever. But I have always chosen to write series that have a natural end. What do you think: finite or infinite? Which type of series do you prefer as a reader?
Readers have suggested that I write stories for the Bedwyn children, but multi-generational series have never appealed to me, either as a reader or as a writer–especially with love stories. When I finish a book, I want to leave the reader with the impression that this couple will live on happily (even though I try never to suggest a simple and unrealistic happily-ever-after). I want to leave them ever young, ever poised for the long and happy life they will have together. I don’t want to show them as older people, with adult children or even grandchildren. After loving Georgette Heyer’s THESE OLD SHADES, I did not like reading the story of Leonie and Avon’s granddaughter, in which book Leonie is widowed, I seem to remember.
The risk with series that just go on and on because readers keep asking for more is that they can grow stale. And they stop the writer from moving on to a new creative project. I often find the later books in a long series not as entertaining as the earlier ones. Sometimes it is even hard to believe that this comes from the same writer as the ones that so delighted me at the beginning. And I can understand that. Once I have finished with a series and moved on, I would find it very difficult to come back and write another edition. If I were to discover a long-lost cousin or sibling of the Bedwyns, for example, I would not simply be able to write the story. I would have to think my way back into that world of the Bedwyns in which I was creatively immersed for several years, and it would not be easy–or even fully possible, perhaps. So for myself–as a writer and even as a reader–the finite, fairly short series are best, at least when the genre is romance. What do you think?
To one person who leaves a comment below before the end of Saturday, October 25, I will send a signed set of the four Survivors’ Club books already published or about to be–The Proposal, The Arrangement, The Escape, and Only Enchanting. And to two other persons who leave a comment, I will send a signed copy of Only Enchanting. Good luck!