Stand Alone Novel or Series?

What are
you writing? A novel that is part of a series or stand-alone one?
I want to
talk about series. There are 2-book series, 3-book, 4-book and more. Jan Karon
has written eleven books in the Mitford series. But the average seems to be
three or four books. Let’s face it, it’s kind of hard to leave beloved
characters behind after all that time you spent with them. Especially if you
have a town filled with characters. 
When I
planned out my Chapel Springs series, there were three books, which has become
four. I write the first book with two characters having POVs. My main character
is Claire. Her best friend, Patsy, had a POV. In the second book, Claire has a
POV again, but another character in town has the other POV.
With two
books out, I had a street team, fans (I love saying that word) who populate a
community group on Facebook. When I began to work on the third book, I was in a
quandary about whose POV I would write this one in. My fans were emphatic.
Claire had to have a POV. She was the heart of Chapel Springs.
That was
my determining factor … my readers. So the third book and now the fourth all
have Claire with one of the POVs and another character from the town with one. And
readers like series.
But not
all series are like mine. More often than not, there is a unifier that goes
through each book. Sometimes it’s a town, sometimes a theme of lost love or
families reunited, or perhaps a job.
Kendig has written several series: The
Discarded Heroes – 4-book series addressing PTSD. A Breed Apart is about military
working dogs. The Quiet Professionals is a
3-book series with active duty military. The Tox Files
(new, not released yet–coming out in October/December) is a 3-book series
that’s sort of Indiana Jones meets Jason Bourne meets her Rapid-Fire Fiction
(Ronie’s brand). 
October 2016
Susan May
Warren had several books in her Christiansen Family series. Each family member
was the POV character in one of the books. She has a series about Montana smoke
jumpers, mountain fire fighters. A number of years ago, she did a series with a
noble legacy as the unifier.
Raney has five books in her Chicory Inn series, starting with the parents
changing their home into a bed and breakfast. After the first, each of their
grown children had their story told.
Dickerson writes fairy talks, or rather rewrites them. She bases her novels on
a fairy tale character in her fairy tale romance series. Some Biblical
historical authors have based their series on the women in the Bible.
So, if
you’re thinking about writing a series, you first have to decide how the books
will tie together. You can have an ensemble cast in a town, like my Chapel
Springs series. In this type, the town actually becomes a character.
You can
choose a career, like fire fighters, or the police. Richard Mabry writes
medical thrillers. They are all stand-alone novels … and yet, they could be
considered a series, since all have the medical profession theme.
As long
as you have something that ties the books together, you can write a series. If
you’ve written a series, I’d love to hear about yours. What was the unifier?
Join the conversation.

Home to Chapel Springs

A homeless author, a theatre ghost,
and a heartbroken daughter ~ there’s trouble in Chapel Springs
always someone new in Chapel Springs, either coming home or stirring up
trouble. Bestselling author Carin Jardine’s latest book is a flop. Homeless and
broke, she and her little boy have no choice but to retreat to the house she
inherited from her nana in Chapel Springs—the house that’s been gutted. Then, a
stranger knocks on her door. One that will change the course of her life. With
one of her daughters in love with the wrong boy, a theatre rumored to be
haunted, and Howie Newlander and Mayor Riley go head-to-head in a hot election,
Claire gets caught in the middle.