Years ago, there was a romance writer that I found, and I got a kick out of the blurb for her book, bought it, read it, and loved it. I went right out and bought the second book in the series. When I read it, it was still fun, but it was SO much like the first book, it felt like I’d just changed the names and a couple of plot points and everything else was the same. But I didn’t let that discourage me. I bought book three. And…same old, same old. That was the last book of hers I bought.
But, on the other hand, I had a mystery writer who was an automatic buy for me until–and I’m guessing on the reason here–she decided she didn’t want to write straight mysteries. She wanted to write something more serious with more angst that tackled bigger subjects, and her characters had to suffer more. I endured that book and bought the next one, hoping the change was just a fluke, but nope. The next book tackled subjects that were grimmer than the previous book’s, and I was over it.
I buy certain books to suit my moods. I like Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap mysteries as much to visit South Cove as to guess who dunnit. I want to hear the banter between Jill and her sheriff/boyfriend Greg. I want to know what Jill’s aunt is up to this time. When I want a warm read to lift my mood, Tourist Trap does the trick. Another automatic read for me is Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby books. Her mysteries steep me in Gothic atmosphere. I enjoy sinking into the world of 1830’s England, Scotland, and Ireland. I enjoy the growing relationship between Kiera and Gage. I expect long descriptions, mixed with history, and a moody vibe.
Are there some things that feel repetitious? Sometimes. Do I care? Not that much. They settle me back into those worlds, the feel of the books. Can too much repetition drive me nuts? Only if it feels like every book is a rehash of the one before it. And what changes that up? New plots, new characters. Different questions for the new book to answer. I want a new story that’s not like the old story every time I visit that author’s world.
I’m new to the J.D. Robb In Death series. Do I have certain expectations when I start one of her books? Oh, yeah. Eve Dallas is tough and gritty. The murders are visceral and grim. Roarke is richer than Midas with a lot more connections and a questionable background, and he’d move heaven and earth for Eve. I’m only now finishing book three, but even though the tone stays consistent for each book so far, the stories keep surprising me.
Can a series book change too much? It can for me. When I pick up a book and it doesn’t come close to my expectations, the reason I chose to read it, I’m not a happy fan girl. So, the trick is to keep each book fresh in a series but to keep the tone and feel of the book similar to the last one I read. That doesn’t mean one book can’t be more serious or more humorous than the last one, but it can’t feel like some other author usurped my favorite author’s name and tricked me. Simple, huh? Hah! Nothing about writing is easy. At least not for me. But think about why you keep buying books in a series. What keeps you coming back for more?
Whatever you’re working on, happy writing! And have a great Labor Day weekend.
P.S. I put up a new snippet on Monday for Muddy River and another new snippet on Thursday from The Body in the Gravel, if you’re following either. And I forgot to pin the Jazzi snippet to my twitter page. (Shame on me).