Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Series Books - Love 'Em, Hate 'Em?

From Karen Kingsbury's tales of the Baxter clan, to the Left Behind Series, to Yada Yada, I love series books. My only caveat is: I like to start at the beginning and blast my way through the entire set. Nothing frustrates me more than waiting for the next book to come out.

I've been reading Neta Jackson's House of Hope Series, which follows the Yada Yada Prayer Group books. They're all written in first person, which puts you in the character's shoes. Both my mother and I adore these books. All of them are rich in detail, have spiritual themes, and feature a multi-cultural cast of characters.

Neta is still writing the House of Hope books, but she has four of them on the market. I've picked up each one for Mom as they've been published, but my first taste of this delectable series was last week. I broke my own rule because they were calling my name the way chocolate does. :)

I'm totally hooked! I'm not going to review them in detail because I don't want to spoil the reading experience for anyone.

Writers: How do you feel about writing 5-7 books in a series? I'm writing a trilogy. I can't imagine writing more than 3 books.

Readers: Do you prefer stand-alone novels or a true series that keeps you panting for more?


Lynda Lee Schab said...

I love series. I remember devouring the entire Alphabet series by Sue Grafton (well, up to M or whatever letter she was up to when I discovered her series). I love the continuity of a good character (like Kinsey Milhone). I'm currently writing book #2 of 3 in my Madi series (book #1 comes out next week) and my editor wants my books released 6-9 months apart. Seems like a good amount of space for readers. Not too long (a year is pushing it) but not too close, either, to build more anticipation (without readers losing interest by then). But I'll admit, as an author, I'm kind of freaking out. LoL I've never had an actual book deadline, so pressure's on! But I'm looking forward to the challenge and am excited about this series. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Yes, when the books are too far apart, the reader loses interest. As a reader, I forget what happened in the previous book if there's a big gap.

Susan :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I'll read anything. These look great. As far as writing goes, I'm drawn to write stand-alone.

But we'll see. Always open to explore.
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

I prefer stand-alones. Unless each book in the series is about a different character and can stand on its own, then I'm fine with that.
So you think these are good? I just saw some in the library yesterday and almost picked one up but wasn't sure I'd like them.

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Hi Susan, well, what can I say? I am writing a series of 10 books on the Ten Commandments. They can be read seperately and in random order, so that's a pro, right?
My books are small, a little more than 100 pages, so I can't really compare 'm with novels that are 250 or more.
I wish you much success with your trilogy.

Loree Huebner said...

I do like both.

Sometimes I like it to done...and other times, if I really loved the characters, I wish for a series to continue the story.

Sarah Forgrave said...

I love series, and I especially love when authors link them together. I've heard great things about the Yada books...sounds like I need to check them out asap! :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Wendy - As a reader, I also like both the stand-alone novel and the series. The Moses Conspiracy started off as a stand-alone, but the characters had other plans. :)

Hi Jess - Both my mother and I loved them. They have the most interesting characters.

Hi Marja - Thanks! You've got a massive project underway. Even a 100-page book requires an enormous investment of time and energy.

Hi Loree - I'm with you. I like both.

Hi Sarah - I loved the strong spiritual themes and how each character grew in their faith.

Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

That depends. I loved Jan Karon's Mitford series, and was sad when it ended. But I tired of the Left Behind series, which is way too full of horrible disasters for one family.

I think it would be hard to write a series longer than three books, unless I fell in love with the characters and didn't want them to go away.

Great questions!

Karen Lange said...

Haven't read any of these yet. I do enjoy a series when it is well done. And I'm with you, I prefer books that can stand alone. :)

Nikki (Sarah) said...

Hi Susan..I actually have this book but haven't read it. Your review gives me a push to open it. And I personally like stand alones

Jean Fischer said...

I've written four books in Barbour's " Camp Club Girls" preteen series. It was fun, but also challenging coordinating my books with those of five other writers. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen - I also loved Jan Karon's Mitford series. I read most of the Left Behind series, but jumped to the last book. After a strong beginning, what should have been a fabulous ending seemed dull.

Hi Karen - Series books that have a definite ending are a pleasure. I don't like a cliffhanger at the end of a book.

Hi Sarah - Be forewarned - you'll be running to get the other books. :) I loved these, and was thrilled when some of the same characters showed up in her House of Hope series.

Hi Jean - I can't imagine working with five other writers. A collaborative effort with one other writer (a pleasure) is about all I can handle right now.

Susan :)

Nancy said...

I enjoy a trilogy, but I only like a longer series if each book is complete with a fulfilling ending. I don't especially like waiting a year for my next installment of a trilogy, but I have no choice. I like the longer series (if the characters don't age and you can just pick one up anywhere and read it.)