I’m so excited to have Pamela Palmer on the blog today! Pamela is the author of the Feral Warriors series, and her brand new Feral Warriors novel, Ecstasy Untamed, is out today! She’s here to talk about keeping a series fresh, and she’s also generously offered 3 copies of Desire Untamed (Feral Warriors #1) to 3 lucky winners, so please check out the giveaway deets at the bottom of the post!
Please welcome Pamela to the blog!
Keeping a Series Fresh
By Pamela Palmer
Readers like series, especially in the paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy genres. It takes a bit of time to come to understand the world in such books, often a world a reader can visit no other way. My Feral Warriors series, for example, an urban fantasy romance, is a world of shape-shifters, mages, and Daemons who live and battle beneath the radar of the humans around them in and around Northern Virginia. The Feral Warriors, the last nine shape-shifters left in the world, each of whom shifts into a different animal, are all that stand between us and destruction.
Readers want to revisit these worlds over and over, but the difficulty for the author comes in keeping the stories fresh and interesting and not simply replaying the same scenarios over and over again. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t and the jury, of course, is usually split on that point. I’ve drifted away from a number of my once-favorite series because the stories no longer particularly interest me. And yet those authors’ new books continually hit the bestseller lists. Clearly, other readers don’t feel the same as I do. They’re still thoroughly engrossed in those series and those worlds.
So how, as a writer, do you go about keeping a series fresh? All I can do is tell you what I believe and what I’m striving for with my Feral Warriors series, the sixth book of which, ECSTASY UNTAMED, hits stores today. The way I see it, the first thing you have to do is decide whether your series is telling a single story or is simply a collection of episodes without a strong external story arc. With television shows, this would be the difference between a normal drama or comedy and a serialized drama. Can you watch the episodes out of order and miss little, or do you have to watch in order to keep from getting lost? The techniques required to keep each type fresh differs, but the one thing that is critical to both is the careful application of change. Characters need to grow, situations need to vary. Things need to HAPPEN.
In the serialized drama, which is the category I think most paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy series fall into, there’s another element that must be addressed: the external story plot. A strong series story-line requires most of the same elements as any book: an intriguing beginning, at least a couple of strong and surprising turning points during the middle, and an exciting, rip-roaring end.
With each book, it’s important to keep the reader engaged with the characters and the world while introducing something new, often surprising, and to end each book with the reader wanting more. Even, as in the case of my Feral Warrior series, when the books are stand-alone romances. Each book in my series focuses on a different pair of protagonists, a couple who will, by the end of the book, fall in love and commit to one another. But the series is one continuing story. In book six, ECSTASY UNTAMED, we hit the first big turning point. Surprising things happen in this book, some early readers have even called them shocking, in a good way. And they’re delighted.
Because these are romances, I always, always, always wrap up the primary love story at the end of each book. But the external plot, rarely. Often, I leave one of the main story threads dangling—warriors missing, Daemons on the loose. And this book is no different. I strive to always leave my readers with a warm feeling of love conquering all even as I leave them needing to read the next book to find out what happens next. A story within a story. An urban fantasy told through a series of romances. Sometimes the plotting gets a little tricky, but my goal—any writer’s goal—is to keep the books exciting and intriguing. And to keep the series fresh.
A question for you: Which series are you reading and enjoying, and how many books in that series have you read? I’ll give away signed copies of book 1 in the Feral Warriors series, DESIRE UNTAMED, to three commenters.
1. Giveaway is for 3 copies of DESIRE UNTAMED (Feral Warriors #1) to 3 winners.
**Giveaway is now closed! Thanks to everyone that entered!
About the author:
Pamela Palmer is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Feral Warriors shape shifter series, the Esri series and, under the pseudonym Pamela Montgomerie, the Jewels of Time time travel series. When Pamela’s initial career goal of captaining starships didn’t pan out, she turned to engineering, satisfying her desire for adventure with books and daydreams until finally succumbing to the need to create worlds of her own. Pamela lives and writes in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Keep up with Pamela: Website | Twitter
Purchase Ecstasy Untamed: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
About Desire Untamed (giveaway book):
They are called Feral Warriors—an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release . . .
Kara MacAllister’s quiet small-town life is transformed forever the night a powerful stranger rips her from her home, claiming she is the chosen one—the key to his survival.
Spiriting her away into the rain-soaked night, Lyon reveals a truth Kara can barely credit. She’s immortal, and the only one who can save his race. And deep within her, he arouses a fierce, primal hunger beyond anything she’s ever imagined.
But only when their lives are threatened by an ancient evil will Kara and Lyon realize they have found a love they would risk their immortal souls to claim . . . and a powerful desire that could never, ever be tamed.