Friday, January 18, 2013

Author Spotlight: Christine Rains

Please welcome Christine Rains, author of 1302 - The Alpha!
Series of books are incredibly popular, especially in the paranormal romance genre. Readers just don't want one anymore. It's hard enough to just write one book, but three? Five? A dozen? If you're in it for the long haul, there are several things to consider.

Should you use one protagonist throughout the series or have several? My 13th Floor series has six books, and each story is told by a different narrator. I like that it allows the world to feel new to me again, and I see different aspects of it through the characters' eyes. Yet having one protagonist can also work. Take Harry Dresden or James Bond for example. Two amazingly popular characters. The series have the same characters in new adventures. Lovable and reliable.
Must the books be read in order or can a reader pick up any book in the series and feel they're not missing out on anything? Most series are meant to be read in a specific order. Sometimes this frustrates new readers. Some books have stories that stand alone but drape it with one larger plot that stretches through the series. Whichever way you choose, make it clear to your readers.

How much of the worldbuilding should you repeat in each book? Tricky question. You don't want to bore previous readers, but you want to write enough to refresh their memory and not leave new readers clueless. Make sure your readers know your protagonist's motivation, what major event(s) happened previously, and the rules of your world. The rest can be shown as the story develops.

Writing a series is going to take years. You must be prepared to make the commitment. Be certain you really love these characters and that world. Take notes. Lots and lots of notes. And keep them organized. Don't follow my lead in keeping a notebook with random notes throughout!

Good luck and happy writing.

Thank you Christine!


  1. Writing a series is a real challenge when you never planned on writing a series!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, Livia! :)

    Alex, a surprise series like that is a tremendous challenge. But you've done an excellent job so far.

  3. There really is a lot to think about when writing a series. I'm barely getting a glimpse of this as I finish up my ms and begin writing the sequel. Thanks for the advice Christine!

  4. It's been great to see Christine all over the blogosphere this week! She's a fantastic writer.

    Have a great weekend, Livia!

  5. Elise, you're welcome. Good luck with your series!

    Julie, thank you very much!

  6. Great guest post! Writing a series can definitely be challenging, but a fun challenge, IMO. I agree with everything you said, especially the part of making sure you love the characters. Writing can be so frustrating that if you don't have a love of the characters to hold onto, you're just going to fall flat on your face!

  7. this series can be stand alone, right? so excited to read the next ones! how long have you been working on these, christine? excited about dragonslayer! what a great concept

  8. It's challenging to know how much world building repetition you have to do in a series. Good luck!

  9. A hard thing, I find, about writing a series, is that the readers have a better memory of facts from one book to another than I do as the writer!

  10. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a few random notes - I really need to get them all in one place. I have a trilogy planned too, and it's tough to keep track of all the characters and all the world building details. There are some details I have in my notes that I'm having to insert into the book at the last edit . . . I thought they were in there, but no, those details were just in my head.

    Congrats on your book, and great post!

  11. I really like continuing series that you have to read in order. That being said, it is nice being able to pick up just one book and read it (especially if the series is huge, like Terry Pratchett's Discworld, or something). I think JK Rowling did it right--every book could conceivably be read on its own, but is a part of the whole.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  12. Heather, that's absolutely true!

    Tara, each book can stand alone, but there's a story that arcs over the whole series too. I've had this idea for a while now. Since last summer, but I'm just now writing the books. I'm a bit behind what I thought I'd be! Thanks. :)

    Sherry, thank you!

    Elizabeth, that's true. I always wonder how much to include from one book to another.

    Tyrean, I know the feeling! I do the exact same thing.

    Allison, I like that too. I love series, and the Harry Potter world is my favorite.

  13. I'm afraid I'm the reigning queen of Random Notes Land . . . when I wrote 18 Things, I never intended for it to blossom into a trilogy. Oops!

  14. I tend to stay away from series, so having different narrators make them individual books around a common theme (in my head, at least!)

  15. Fantastic points when writing series.

  16. Jamie, the same thing happens to me. A LOT!

    Annalisa, they always make the most sense in our own heads! ;)

    Cherie, thanks!