Today’s topic is mainly about why I love writing multiple series in the same world instead of writing one really long series. I notice the way I present my reasoning does jump around a bit. I tried not to make it so jumpy, but apparently, my brain doesn’t follow a linear path all that well. 😀
Perfectly Matched opens with Patricia and Erin, Tom and Jessica’s daughters who are now grown up, talking about how their parents met at a barn dance. They mention how their father was clumsy and nearly ruined their mother’s hair. I wrote about this years ago in A Bride for Tom. I have made other references to this incident in Shotgun Groom, too, but this time it’s coming from the angle of other characters. And to be honest, it’s really fun to get a different character’s perspective on the same event. While Joel was laughing about the event because he thought Tom was a doofus, Patricia and Erin think it’s romantic because their father was so nervous around their mother.
In the Nebraska Series, Tom’s mostly viewed as a bit of a goofy character who is naive in some ways. But when you branch out to the Husbands for the Larson Sisters Series (which is the one that involves Patricia and Erin), Tom isn’t that type of character at all. Instead, Tom is a well-meaning protective father who would do anything for his daughters. According to his daughters, he is larger than life, and I really don’t think any father is more loved than Tom in any of the books I’ve ever written. If Joel ever started cracking jokes at Tom’s expense when those girls are around, they would be the first in line to defend him. So Joel better watch himself when he’s around these four girls. 😉
While writing Perfectly Matched, I thought back to Eye of the Beholder when Nelly and Patricia were hanging on to Tom’s legs. I didn’t plan for that incident to be a foreshadowing of how the future was going to play out with this family, but it turned out to be that way. Maybe the subconscious mind knew they would grow up to have a close relationship with their father. At the time I wrote Eye of the Beholder, I just felt it in my gut that Tom should have all girls. But, I did feel a little sorry for him since he really wanted to toss around a ball with a boy, so I’m going to give him all grandsons.
Back to the leveraging of past books to enhance a current one…
In Perfectly Matched, Patricia tells Jim about the time her father was on the wagon trail. I just glossed over it in this book, but it was really fun to bring up that incident from the Larsons’ past. I wrote about this time in Wagon Trail Bride. Eye of the Beholder was the first Larson book I wrote, and in there, Dave told Mary about his family leaving New York because his father wanted to get land out in Nebraska. It was a treat to give this perspective from a member of the Larson family who was born after the event.
When I look at the Larson books, I don’t see them as individual books. I actually see them as one large book. To me, the individual books are really chapters. They’re all connected. In fact, I see the Regency books the same way. Even though we’re not dealing with one specific family in the Regencies, I keep everything in the same world. I even used Nelly’s Mail Order Husband to connect the Regencies to the Larsons by making the hero of that book a descendant of Lord Edon. Early on, I had been itching to somehow link the Larsons with the Lord Edon or Mr. Christopher Robinson (because they’re my favorite Regency characters), and I finally got my chance with Nelly’s book.
Being able to write multiple series within the same world gives me greater freedom to flesh out the characters. I don’t have to stick with one particular generation or focus only in on one branch of the family line. I can go down whatever branch I want. For example, I get to see Tom and Jessica when they’re young and fall in love. I also get to see them as parents later on in their lives.
I also like doing multiple series in the same world because I can move around to whatever interests me at the moment. I don’t like having to go write in chronological order. I know some authors do this, and I understand some readers prefer this method since it’s easy to keep track of everyone. That method has just never worked for me. I have to go with the story (or series) that I’m itching to write at the moment. That’s why I started out writing about Dave and Mary’s children and stopped. After writing Harriett’s story, I lost interest in Dave and Mary’s kids. I still have Adam, Jacob, and Eli to write about. I don’t know when I’ll get to them, but they are on the “To Write” list.
Right after finishing Wagon Trail Bride, I wanted to write about Richard and Amanda’s children so that I could “see” Richard and Amanda years after they had gotten established in Omaha. I figured with all the pain Amanda had been through, it would be nice to see how her future with Richard ended up. For me, writing romances for Tony, Mark, and Annabelle was a way for me to see Richard and Amanda’s extended happy ending. So really, Wagon Trail Bride isn’t complete (in my mind) without The Rejected Groom, The Perfect Wife, and The Imperfect Husband. Once I got those all ironed out, I was ready to move to another Larson. In this case, I had the urge to write about Tom and Jessica’s daughters, so that is what I’m currently working on.
I’m not sure what will be up next. I have no idea what I want to do for Daisy, so I might take a break from the Larsons. I do want to write Jeremiah’s romance in the Wyoming Series. That will probably be the book that I’ll focus on. I’d like to get to Daisy’s romance afterwards, but we’ll see where inspiration takes me.