Writing a series, I've discovered, requires focusing on more than one book at a time. Last month Checked Out for Murder, the fourth book in my Haunted Library series came out. This required months of promotion: Facebook parties, guest blogs, a virtual book tour, etc. At the same time I've been writing and editing Death On the Shelf, the fifth book in the series. And following my agent's instructions, I've started to outline Book Number Six. Then there are the price reductions and unexpected activity involving earlier books that demand my immediate attention. Is it any wonder I occasionally mismatch titles and murder suspects in my head?
The nice thing about writing a series is that your main characters and setting are already established. I'm very fond of my sleuth Carrie Singleton, Evelyn the ghost, and the others who populate my books. I enjoy writing about their experiences and relationships, and, of course, the mysteries they solve as the series progresses. Carrie works in the Clover Ridge Library. Her life is filled with colleagues, friends and relatives. As head of programs and events, she also has the opportunity to meet new people—very important to a series as each book in a series requires new situations, events, and themes. Personal issues arise as well as problems facing the community—all fodder for a murder mystery.
A cozy series provides readers with well-loved characters, a familiar sense of place, and the knowledge that all will be resolved in the end. At the same time, each book must offer new mysteries and new directions—a challenge to the author and not for the faint of heart.