One of the best things about being a writer is research. I’m not talking about the white glove floors of the library where you can’t check anything out and whispering is not only forbidden, breathing darn near is too. I’m talking about loading your Kindle and your Barnes & Noble basket to the tipping point and then hiding away with a pot of tea and a lap cat research. Definitely the kind frowned on in most libraries. At least the part about the pot of tea. Strides are being made about the cat part.
I’ve been itching to branch out into the cozy series world. The first draft of the first Florida Keys Festivals Mysteries is just about finished. I was ready to plot the second when a group of artisans in Maine started chatting away in my head. What – where did they come from? Okay, maybe two series, who knows. Now they’ve been joined by a group of college friends, retired but vibrant, who live on the Southwest Coast of Florida. Three series? No way. Who could do that. I know I can’t, but I did wonder how it could be done.
Research to the rescue. I started by haunting Amazon to discover a writer who did write multiple series. I discovered a prolific writer by the name of Kathi Daley. Make that a superhuman writer. The woman writes eight series. I have read representative selections from all but the YA, and although some were not my cup of tea, all were well written enough that I would consider plunking down my hard-earned coin for another book in each series.
If it’s true that there are only so many stories in the universe, how do you take those stories and make them different across eight different series? Writers will admit that they are not writing about themselves, but a bit of them does creep into each tale. Worse, how to you keep from accidently telling the same story over and over in different words? To find out, I dove into Daley’s multiple series. Here’s what I learned. Or think I learned.
Daley is a genius at characterization. Her protagonists are sharply drawn and very different to one and other. A reader wouldn’t confuse Zoe Donovan with TJ Jensen. As a corollary of that, each character has a distinct voice and each series has a distinct voice and flow. The books, and the series are all different and each satisfies in its own way. Daley knows her audience, her books make a promise, and she delivers. Now, if I could just figure out where all that time comes from!
Have you read a multi-series author? Did you enjoy moving among the series?