January is rolling along and the new year means more author interviews, spotlights, and guest posts. Remember, if you would like to be featured, please contact me here or at my email.
Thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog, Stephen! It’s always such a pleasure to be here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about series books lately, maybe because I was reading one about the same time I was working on the fourth book of my GenTech Rebellion series, with book five sketched out and ready to go. The series will definitely end there, though. Five books is pushing it for a bunch of reasons I’ll delve into below.
Somewhere about the time I was slogging through one of Robert Jordan’s endless series books, I promised myself that if I ruled the universe, I’d make a law forbidding more than four books in a series. I loved the Wheel of Time series up through, maybe, book four. Possibly book five. It’s been a long time since I read them, and I can’t exactly remember. The problem all authors run up against is there’s only so much they can do in a make-believe world. Eventually, the same things have to happen again, and the characters and world grow stale.
A book I was reading recently happened to be number seven in a series that shall remain nameless. Book five was decent, book six held an interesting premise, but book seven was a disaster on many fronts. For one thing, the alpha hero took a swan dive off his pedestal, leaving me with a true WTF moment. He’s going to be content sinking into obscurity and leaving everything me (and every other reader in the world) thought he cared about? To say I was upset is putting it mildly.
From an author’s perspective, series books have other problems. For me, the main one is balancing backstory with the new story unfolding in the current book. Different authors have different strategies. One book I read recently simply did a huge info dump that took up the first two chapters, and then moved on. While it got the job done, it wasn’t very satisfying to be on the receiving end. I’d have liked it better if I hadn’t read the first book, but hey, you can’t please everyone.
Balancing enough backstory so a new reader isn’t lost with enough new material that old readers aren’t bored is an art. While I’ve grown better at it, my answer is still to limit my series books to a reasonable number. The vast majority of my series stop at three books. One has four, but one of those was a prequel. The GenTech Rebellion series has the dubious honor of being my one and only series with five books.
How about all of you. When you read series books, how do you feel about later books in the series? How do you prefer backstory woven in? Inquiring minds want to know.
Edge of Night
A Collection of Short Stories
Dream Shadow Press
Release Date: 12/16
Genre: Paranormal and Horror with a splash of romance and scifi
Here’s a roadmap to Edge of Night. Welcome to an eclectic collection of nine short stories.
You’ve done time at the edge of night. Nail-biting, stomach-churning time filled with hissing snarls, menacing growls, the whoosh of unnatural wings, and the flash of hellfire. Time that lasts forever, but is over within seconds because time becomes unpredictable in places like that. You don’t want to stay, but it’s too fascinating—in a grisly, macabre, toe-curling kind of way—to turn your back on.
You recognize it, though. The place just at the threshold of darkness where it’s not quite safe anymore. Evil broke its bounds at the edge of night, or maybe it always ran free and we’ve been deluding ourselves all along.
Join me for nine supernatural tales. Monsters, demons, gods—fallen and otherwise—ghosts, aliens. A touch of science fiction. More than a splash of romance. From magical lands to a chilling glance into the past, Edge of Night has something to tempt everyone. Everyone who craves danger, that is. It takes guts to read the stuff woven into nightmares.
It’s a tough job, but you’re up to it.
Welcome to my world. A world where magic holds court and the dude next door just might be a demon. Or a shifter. Or an alien.
About the Author:
Ann Gimpel is a USA Today bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients. Now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 45 books to date, with several more planned for 2017 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren, and wolf hybrids round out her family.
Find Ann At:
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)