Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For the Love of a Series

By Joanne Rock

What’s better than reading one romance that you absolutely love? Finding out it’s a part of a series and that there are MORE books like the one you adore! At least, that’s one of my favorite joys as a reader. But then, I’ve always been a big fan of series.

Book #1, Heartache
For a long time, I just assumed everyone loved series as much as me. Long before I sold my first book, I was planning romance series that I would write. I didn’t just plot one book. I planned whole series—family connections, quirky relatives, past secrets and common settings that different books might visit. The trouble with this, when you are an untried writer and can barely write one book let alone four, is that if an editor doesn’t love book one—there goes your series!

I learned to tuck away my series dreams and focus on writing one good book. Later, I went back to my elaborately plotted series and used the basic story ideas for stand alones. This kept me writing for awhile because I had a lot of series planned! As I started to find my storytelling rhythm though, I grew to the point where an editor would say to me—should this be part of a series, Joanne?

Funny you should ask. It would be my absolute pleasure to add in four brothers.

Book #1, Runaway Brides
And just between us, that’s still one of my favorite ways to connect a series—through family. Editors urge us to be creative though, and I thought I came up with a really nice connection in my Single in South Beach series where a handful of girlfriends invested in a resort hotel property. I always like writing friendships with undercurrents, so the “friends” had some trouble working together. But either way, I loved that series and wrote six books. You might not be surprised to learn that I also worked in three brothers for one of the women—all of whom had storylines. But the hook wasn’t the family, the hook was friends who went into business together.

This month, all my practice has resulted in me having books in two series releasing. I began a Runaway Brides series with Catherine Mann and you can download the first story How to Lose a Groom in 10 Days for free. And in my second book for Superromance, Nights Under the Tennessee Stars, I was able to revisit a setting and family that I loved in last fall’s Promises Under the Peach Tree. I didn’t start out writing a series, but soon, when I didn’t leave the town of Heartache, Tennessee over the course of three books, my editor thought we’d better make sure readers knew the stories were connected. My first three books are now a series and I couldn’t be happier.

Book #2, Heartache
But ala Superromance, there are far more connections than just the brothers in the Finley family. There are sisters. There are shared family dynamics. And there is the town of Heartache itself that charmed me from the moment I started writing about it. There is something so warm and inviting about a series where there are familiar faces and places, kind of like taking a vacation in the same summer resort town year after year. You look forward to revisiting some of the same spots, even as your adventure changes from year to year.

I hope you’ll give the latest in my Heartache, TN stories a try. I’ve had a lot of practice writing series by now, my friends! You haven’t seen all my attempts, but I’d like to think they all paid off in the rich world I’m writing now. Consider yourself cordially invited to Heartache…


***Are there any resort towns you love to visit again and again? Vacation places that call to you even when you travel elsewhere? Tell me about a town that you love to visit today on the boards and I’ll give one commenter a copy of their choice of book from my 2014-2015 releases.  

17 comments:

Victoria Curran said...

Plus, you're even part of a bigger series that delivers the same promise: Superromance! You may not get the exact same characters and settings book to book, but you will get stories that are reassuringly "superromance". (The concept of "series" is like an onion. So many layers...)

Connie said...

There is a place in Kentucky that I never get tired of visiting. Cumberland Falls State Park, near Corbin, KY, is a favorite because I first saw it as a child with my parents and then with my husband. The falls are beautiful in every season and if you are there during a full moon, you are usually able to see a "moonbow".

Joanne Rock said...

Connie, I remember reading about that when I lived in KY, but I never made it over there to see. It sounds so beautiful!

Karen Rock said...

Wonderful post, Joanne! We both know a lot about brother-drama as sisters-in-law in a family packed with seven brothers :) I love that your series is connected with brothers it always makes books so much more interesting to me to see characters I met in one book get their own love story in the next!

vmaisie said...

Right now for me, it's Phoenix Arizona area... Went there with a girlfriend last June and didn't see nearly enough... Would love to go on vacation there with hubby and take oldest grandson...

Anonymous said...

I went to Cancun and I would love to go back. We were celebrating hubby's finishing of his cancer treatments. He is still doing well, so I'd like a chance to go see what I missed the first trip around.

Charlene Fraley. Gmgypsiesf1@aol.com

holdenj said...

I would love to go back to Rockport MA. We went as a family and I remember how quaint it was and the great seafood. Really enjoyed the post about series, I love it when good secondary characters get their shot at a story too! Thanks!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I love to go back and visit my hometown Santa Barbara, CA. It is so pretty there and so many great memories.

penney said...

I loved under the peach tree and am looking forward to the others.
Penney

Mary Preston said...

There is a town on the coast that my family have been holidaying at for years. Some family even moved to there to live. It's beautiful. We keep going back.

Kaelee said...

I love to visit Waterton National Park. I went to summer camp and worked a few summers there. It was the place my family would go to for a special celebrations. My parents would load up the car with as many people who could fit in it and pack a picnic and we were off for the day.

Colleen C. said...

I have not travelled much in the last few years, but I always enjoyed my time at my grandmother's when she was alive... it was this quiet little neighborhood in Delaware... always left me with a great feeling.

bn100 said...

Nope

Christy said...

We used to go to Holden Beach, NC every summer growing up. Love the Carolina beaches!

Joanne Rock said...

I like the issues of Southern Living or Yankee magazine when they come up with "25 Best Beach towns" or that kind of thing... so fun to look at those places and dream up a vacation. Although a New England beach means more exploring a town and activities like kayaking that might leave me dry!! That water stays so cold.

Jackie W said...

There are two places I never tire of visiting and have been to both so many times I have lost count. They are Taos, New Mexico and Sedona, Arizona. A person who is enchanted with the West should put those two places on their list of places to visit.
JFWisherd(at)aol(dot)com

Joanne Rock said...

***Winner** Congrats to Jackie Wisherd, my winner for the thread prize! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit. I appreciate you so much. Jackie, I'll email you privately, but all you need to do is email me at jrock008@gmail.com with a mailing addy and I'll get your prize in the mail asap!!

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