A series? Where did that come from?

October 7, 2013

From Clare London:

FLYING COLORS is subtitled “True Colors: Book Five“.

So when did that happen, Clare? I thought you didn’t write series?
(don’t they say the first sign of madness is talking to yourself? Or is that when you *answer* yourself? LOL)

The story started with Zeke and Miles in True Colors. Then I brought out the set of three short stories – Ambush, Payback and Switch – where Zeke and Miles play sexy games with each other, and the reader has a glimpse into how their life together is progressing.

But still there was the feedback for Red and Carter from the original novel:

“I hope Clare will gives us a sequel on the flamboyant Red and the responsible and solid Carter. These 2 characters are equally if not more appealing!”

“Miles’ friend, Red, is fabulous. I would love to see him and Carter get together and really hope we get to see more of them in the future.”

“Another plus was the budding friendship/attraction between Red and Carter, as others have expressed, I hope Ms. London writes a story for them, I found them compelling as well.”

Well, since you asked so nicely … :)

And so I decided to keep writing in the True Colors world. I felt happy there, I was familiar with the characters’ voices, I had a lot more to tell about them all. But it doesn’t feel like a series, at least not intentionally. It feels like a self-indulgent treat where I can stay in their world and see what happens. Heavens, I can *write* it! LOL. So maybe that’s how it happens? That works for me!

What do YOU think as a reader about series? What are the themes you like to follow? Do you fall in love with the characters starting from book#1, or maybe you’re transported to a wonderful new setting each time? Do you like the epic series where a family business or estate is followed through the generations – like the Barbara Taylor Bradfords I read years ago – or do you prefer a group of friends in contemporary times, all getting a slice of the limelight for their personal tale, like JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series? Let us know!

I’ll choose THREE winners from the commenters on ANY of my posts today, to win a FREE download of Flying Colors.


FLYING COLORS: True Colors: Book Five

While Red yearns for something real, Carter has some sweet, sexy secrets that might surprise even Red. If Carter dares emerge from his shell, and Red pursues a more rewarding path, romance could spark. Then there’s no telling what might happen.

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And to follow the progress of Red and Carter’s romance in Flying Colors, here’s the scene where their friendship starts the gentle slide over into something much more…

EXCERPT ~~~~~~~~~

Carter let them both into his flat, yawned, apologized absentmindedly, then yawned again. Red wasn’t sure if it had been a good idea to come back with him that evening. But was he really meant to resist the opportunity to have more private time with Carter? He took a firm grip on the bags of takeaway they’d collected at the restaurant down the street, and stepped inside at Carter’s heels.

“I’ll get plates,” Carter said.

“No problem, we can eat from the containers. Look, Carter, if you’d rather just wash up and call it a day—”

“I don’t want to call it a day.” Carter’s interruption had a hoarse thread to it. “I’m fine. I wanted you to come back with me, Red. For supper. For… company.” Carter smiled, but even that looked tired. “Not that I’ve been much company in return, have I? Snapping your head off at the center. Napping in the car.”

“You’re fine.”

“Yeah, right.” Carter grimaced. He seemed agitated. “Um… did I… was there any…. I mean, sometimes I talk in my sleep. Apparently.”

Red resisted the urge to ask who’d told him that, when had they told him, and why the hell were they in his bedroom? “No. You were snorin’ of course, but I just turned the radio up. That discordant, freaky jazz stuff you like is excellent for drownin’ growls.”

Carter snorted. “Charmed, I’m sure. I do feel odd tonight, though. Maybe it’s that flu virus going around.”

And maybe it’s your own stupid internal slave driver. But Red said nothing aloud.

“I won’t stay long. We’re both tired.” I understand. Let me sympathize.

“Hell, it’s only a cold. I’m not the sort of person to claim man-flu, you know.”

“Implyin’ I am?”

This time, Carter’s laugh sounded more relaxed. “Red, I know I wasn’t exactly welcoming when you first turned up at the center. In fact, I was bloody rude. But I meant what I said tonight. I’m really grateful.”

“Grateful?” Had he sounded too eager? Carter looked uncomfortable, and paler than ever.

“For your help. The café sign, you know? And all the painting.”

“Yes, of course.” Well, if the most he could get was gratitude for his interior decoration skills, it was still something. “Settle yourself on the sofa. I’ll go and fetch chopsticks and a drink. I’m sure you trust me with your kitchen.” He carried the bags of food out of the living room and along the corridor to the kitchen, calling back over his shoulder as he went. “To be honest, it was good to work with my hands again. At the center, I mean. I did a season at one of our racecourses, several summers ago, which involved muckin’ in with all the odd jobs as well as muckin’ out the horses. But since then, Father’s kept me busy on office work.” He peered into the fridge and frowned. There were hardly any provisions in there apart from a box of eggs, a carton of milk, beer, and some hard cheese. Was Carter surviving on takeaways? He lifted out a couple of light beers, knowing that Carter often preferred that to wine. “I miss workin’ with the horses, I must say. I’d have been a great jockey—well, if I hadn’t got too damned tall and too damned heavy.” He laughed and pulled out the cutlery drawer, selecting two pairs of elegant chopsticks. Carter may not have had Red’s money or upbringing, but he had plenty of taste. “I’m hopin’ you’ll let me help out again at the center. There are plenty of things I can turn my hand to.” He tipped out the containers into bowls from the counter beside the sink, and arranged them on a tray. The sharp spiciness of green curry wafted into his nostrils. “Do you know, I think Father misses havin’ me around? He’s called me more times in the last week than he ever did when I was workin’ for him. Or maybe it’s because he doesn’t have anyone in that management team who has the balls to argue with him. The man needs challengin’. Methinks that’s where I got it from, eh?” He turned around in the kitchen, re-familiarizing himself with where the coffee and cups were. “I’d like to talk about a few plans I have for the center. If you don’t have time tonight, we could go for coffee tomorrow. A drink. Whatever. We haven’t been out for dinner for weeks. What do you think?” Say yes. Say yes, you’ll go out with me again, just like a date, just like that wet night, sheltering under a restaurant awning, and a sweet, shocking kiss….

About then, he realized Carter wasn’t answering. In fact, he couldn’t hear him moving about at all. Red turned abruptly, a premonition nagging at the corner of his mind. “Carter?” He heard a soft thump from inside the lounge. “Carter?” The premonition threatened to evolve into full-blown panic, and Red ran back into the room.

10 Responses to “A series? Where did that come from?”

  1. Paul Fahey says:

    Clare, good question. I write a series myself so will be happy to hear anyone’s comments on this topic as well. I think for me as an author and a reader I want to see the MC or MCs grow and change in unexpected ways from book to book. I know this is true for the wonderful Inspector Lynley mysteries by Elizabeth George, which is a far cry from the Hercule Poirot/Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie. I’m still a major fan of Christie’s work but can’t point to any changes over the course of her books in these characters. In a way, this could be why readers loved them so much, comfortable and familiar, and nice to come home to. But in today’s world of speed of light change, I like to think no one stands still for any length of time, including the characters in novels I read and also write. I may be all wet but that’s my take. Great question, Clare.

  2. Trix says:

    I tend to like series that spotlight secondary characters in subesequent volumes, though there are great series using every method you mentioned. I love all the different settings in EM Lynley’s PRECIOUS GEMS series, and Eden Winters’ DIVERSION series shows the development of Lucky and Bo’s relationship through the different pharmaceutical crime cases they work to break…

  3. clarelondon says:

    Hi Trix! Yes, I like the “what happened to the other people?” plots, though I also love the sequence of “cases worked on together”, like you describe in Eden’s books. I’m hoping to develop another series next year in that basis :)

  4. clarelondon says:

    Hi Paul. You’ve really summed up those two kinds of series very well (and I’ve read all those examples myself, too *g*). I think an Agatha Christie series has become a franchise in itself, and possibly more important than any novelty in the plots! And in a similar but different way, the progress of the Lynley characters overshadowed the crimes. That’s *my* take and I love to chat about it! And oh how you’re right, that characters can’t really afford to stand still! As a reader, I may ask for “more please!” of favourite characters, but I like it to be a *different* more. If that makes sense :)

  5. Andrea M says:

    I love books that follow up with the secondary characters. I despise books that end on cliffhangers. To me, that’s a particularly nasty ploy to sell the next book that’s probably already written and could have been part of the first book, particularly when you are given no indication that there is no resolution in that first book. Excuse me, off my soapbox now. :)

  6. Carolyn says:

    Clare, I haven’t read these sets of your books, but I’m enjoying reading the background you’ve shared.

    I adore series. I’m probably more of a fan of the type that follows one relationship through several books, but I still like the type that follows a core group of people. Some authors take that to extremes, though, and it’s like, enough already. So, I do get leery. I do think the generations type is fun as well, because family bonds and relationships are infinitely interesting to me, and I like to see what impacts another generation and what characteristics carry through.

  7. clarelondon says:

    No Andrea, you stay up there on your soapbox because I agree with you :) . I think a book should stand on its own, even if the characters or the overall story arc stretches over several books. It’s a balance that a good author ahould be able to handle. And in fact the combination of both those things makes me the very happiest reader!

  8. Marie says:

    I like reading a series that it is a continuation of the same characters/couple to get a look at how life is treating them after the first book and their initial HFN or HEA. I also like reading the stories of the secondary characters and seeing tiny glimpses of the original characters in their stories too. It all depends on the kind of story it was to begin with.

  9. Clare London says:

    Carolyn, I love the way you say “enough already”! LOL I certainly feel that way myself sometimes as a reader. I like to read a progression, a “growing up” and a growing together. And I don’t necessarily believe in a definite, one-off HEA – but I like to reach the beginning of one and settle there!

  10. Clare London says:

    Hi Marie! I know what you mean – when I enjoy reading about a couple, especially in a get-together series, it’s fun to go on and read how they cope *after* the getting together. It was a challenge writing Flying Colors, because Red and Carter had already shown their interest in True Colors, so there was no mystery about whether they’d fall for each other – just how long it’d take them to get on with it :) .

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