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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shiny New Series! by Paty Jager

When the topic First in Series came up and the call went out for posts, I had to write about this topic.

I kind of killed my momentum as a historical western author when I followed all the shiny new ideas in my head. But it has given me the experience to dive into a new series without flinching.  I just have to keep my series ideas focused on the genres that I have the largest following and my heart dictates.

The first series I wrote was the historical western romance Halsey Brothers series. It started out as one book, and I "fell" into the series when readers wanted the brothers' stories. That gave me, Marshal in Petticoats, Outlaw in Petticoats, Miner in Petticoats, Doctor in Petticoats, and Logger in Petticoats. Readers still hadn't had enough of the Halseys, and I wrote three more novels (Laying Claim, Staking Claim, Claiming a Heart, and A Husband for Christmas) with younger men who came into the family through marriages and a Christmas novella with the daughter of one of the heroine's.  While I enjoyed the Halseys and writing their stories I was ready to move on after the 8th book and the novella.

But before I moved on to a new historical western series, I played with the idea of a series with Pinkerton agents. I wrote the first book, Improper Pinkerton, with the dream of a series, but it didn't receive the love of the readers as much as I loved writing it. I could still resurrect it as a series but I moved on.

I had the idea for a historical paranormal series and ended up with the Spirit Trilogy. A three book series about Nez Perce Spirits who watch over the Wallowa Valley Nez Perce. The first book, Spirit of the Mountain, is set before the whiteman came to the area, the second book, Spirit of the Lake, when they arrived and the third book, Spirit of the Sky, takes place when the Army chases Chief Joseph and two other bands of Nez Perce toward Canada. These books show the life and history of the Chief Joseph band and were written with just the three books in mind. I've been asked for more Native American books but we'll see. There isn't as big a following for this type of book and they require tons of research to get the facts and lives correct.

While complaining about a book that wasn't what it was toted, I ended up coming up with an action adventure series. This contemporary series was a LOT of fun to write. The female protagonist is an Indiana Jones/ MacGyver character who specializes in Native American cultures and works for the World Intelligence Agency. Isabella Mumphrey's Latin DEA agent helps heat up the pages. These three books may some day be a larger series but for now they are a trilogy. Secrets of a Mayan Moon, Secrets of an Aztec Temple, and Secrets of a Hopi Blue Star.

After dabbling in romance books, I finally bit the bullet and started a mystery series. Mystery has always been my first love for reading and the first type of book I wrote decades ago. Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, Double Duplicity.  I'm currently writing the fifth book in this series, Killer Descent, and loving visiting Huckleberry and the characters I've established in the town and area.
Using my love of Native American culture, specifically the Nez Perce, I came up with an amateur sleuth who is a potter. I gave her a big slobbery, cowardly dog, an eccentric older woman who works for her, a handsome county detective, and quirky characters in a small ski resort town. Coming up with all the elements for this series was as much fun as writing the first book in the

I just released my first book of a new historical western romance series. The series title is Letters of Fate, the book is titled, Davis. Seeing so many people clamoring for Mail Order Bride books, I decided to write a book kind of like that only with the hero as the person searching for a new life, not necessarily a wife but as the letter he receives changes his life it also brings him to the woman who fulfills him. What I like
best about this new series is how many stories I can write with a letter as the catalyst and that the stories while being a series won't have to be read in order to enjoy them.

I have written stand alone books, but I have to say, I enjoy coming up with the premise and ideas that make a series. It helps me find continuity with my thoughts and the way to put the books together.

Do you enjoy series books? If so, what is your favorite part about series? The same characters, the same premise, or just the feeling of coming home as you read?

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. All Paty’s work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at
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Judith Ashley said...

I do like to read and write series. I like recurring characters in a recurring setting. Not that the story has to take place in the same town/city, but if the characters are recurring, they will spend some time there. I really like series that go beyond the original main characters and provide stories for secondary and next generation characters especially if they keep the original characters involved.

You've provided me many hours of enjoyable reading, Paty!!!

Barbara Rae Robinson said...

I love series. And I'm currently writing a romantic suspense series. Love the varied elements of your series, Paty. What fun!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I enjoy reading series. It's like revisiting old friends when you see returning characters or the same setting more than once. It's also interesting when you have a common theme or plot thread.

Sarah Raplee said...

I enjoy series for all the reasons stated by other commentors! Plus I love the worlds the authors create in SciFi/Futuristic, Paranormal, Fantasy or Supernatural stories.

But I musty enjoy the author's voice. Otherwise I get annoyed and quit reading.That's a very personal thing that's different with each reader, so the author doesn't have a lot of control over it, other than to master the writing craft so her voice shines.

I love your books, Paty!

Diana McCollum said...

I've enjoyed reading your series books, Paty. I have to agree with the other commentors remarks. I like following friends or family or both through a series of books. And it is the feeling of coming home. I've just published my first novella in a series. "The Witch with the Trident Tattoo". I find I like writing series for the same reasons. Great blog post.

Paty Jager said...

Judith, Thanks for stopping in and commenting. I agree there is a feeling of "home" when the same characters return in a book. I'm glad you enjoy my books!

Hi Barbara, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I tend to do things the hard way by following shiny new story ideas. But it keeps my writing fun and exciting to me.

Hi Lynn! Thanks for commenting. I think a series gives a reader something the know and like and that's why they pick up the next book.

HI Sarah, I agree, if the writer's voice isn't a good fit for the story then it can be hard to read more than one book in a series. Thank you for your kind words about my books. I enjoy writing them!

Hi Diana! I look forward to reading your series.

Peggy Henderson said...

I love series! As has been said, it's the feeling of familiarity with recurring characters and coming home. I wrote my first book as a standalone, for myself, with no intention of publishing it. I had tons of background on it that never made it into the book. This turned out to be a good thing, because when I finally decided to publish, I had people asking for more. I thought the series was done after the fifth book, but I kept getting requests for additional books. I've written some novellas in the series, done a sort of spin-off trilogy, and am working on a few more, but after that, I think this series is finished. Everything I've written since has been series-based, and I just started a new one. We'll see where it goes....

Maggie Lynch said...

I love reading series, as long as the stories feel fresh. Your's always do, Paty! There have been a couple of authors in the urban fantasy genre I started off reading and around book three just wasn't interested anymore. It seems that when one character is the same in every book (kind of like mysteries) that it is really hard to sustain that in the paranormal world. Not sure if I'm just conditioned to trilogies or it is really hard to write beyond that. Though we do know J.K. Rowling did fine with Harry Potter. :)

As to writing series, I have a love-hate relationship with that. I like to return to the series because I know and love the characters and I want every one of them to find what it is they are looking for. However, because I know them so well, sometimes it is hard for me to go back--especially when I have bright shiny ideas for something new. But I do force myself to go back and after 50 pages or so, I'm caught up again and love them even more.

However, like you with the Halsey Brothers, I do have a series with one more book left and then I need to leave them (Sweetwater Canyon). I'll start the next series with one of the characters from the previous one to provide some continuity, but the outlook and sense of the new series will be quite different from the previous one. Younger, less jaded, and more optimistic from the start. :)

M Pax said...

I enjoyed your spirit trilogy and Isabella Mumphry. Great reads. I like how you blended the research you've done into new series. Very interesting approach. Keep writing... a fan. :)

Veronica Scott said...

Enjoyed the post! I love the way you develop your various series, and find the inspiration for each. I write a romantic fantasy series set in ancient Egypt and I use my Pharaoh's court as the connecting element.He knows everyone LOL!

Paty Jager said...

Peggy, I know what you mean about readers asking for more in a series. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Maggie, Thank you for your kind words about my books and for stopping by and commenting. It is a bit hard to leave the familiarity of a series and start a new one, but from what I've received on my first book of my new series this one should be as good and better written than the first series, which is exciting.

Hi Mary! I'm glad you enjoyed the Spirit trilogy and my Action Adventure trilogy. They were books that required lots of research but I loved every word I wrote in them and the characters. Thank you!

Hi Veronica, Your series sounds interesting with the Aharon's court as the connecting element. Thank you for stopping in and commenting!