Writing: Same, but Different

I’ve started to write my fifth Mill Pond romance.  I still like the town.  I still like the people.  I enjoy having characters from previous books mingle with new characters for a new story.  My worry–keeping each story fresh and unique.  Catherine Bybee manged it in her Weekday Bride series.  Seven different romances, one for each day of the week.  Seven stories that have a similar premise, but a unique take on it each time.  My writer friend, writing as Julia Donner for her Regency romances, has done it with her Friendship series. Her eighth novel goes live on June 18, and I’ve already pre-ordered it.   I love her work.  Each one has a different feel, even though they all have healthy doses of her sly humor.  As a matter of fact, I think her writing keeps getting better and better, the longer the series goes.  Something I’d like to achieve.

(If you’re interested in Regencies, here’s the link for her latest: https://www.amazon.com/Barbarian-His-Lady-Friendship-Book-ebook/dp/B01GIFX2DM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1465673622&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Barbarian…++julia+donner)

A long time ago, I wrote a bundle of novellas to experiment with writing romance.  That’s how I ease myself into writing something new.  I try working on shorter pieces before I commit to something longer.   I liked Emerald Hills, got good feedback on each one of them (which I lost when I combined them into a bundle–didn’t think about that:), but one reviewer mentioned that she’d have liked more variety in the stories, that they felt too similar to her.  Now, I know that a writer can’t please everyone, but I wrote these as a learning curve, so her opinion stuck with me.  If I ever wrote a romance series, I told myself to vary things up–have one with some humor, another that was a little more serious, throw in some different types of characters, and mix up the plots and themes a little.  I think–at least, I hope–that I’ve achieved that.

For my Mill Pond romances, in book 1, I tried for a heavy dose of humor.  For Brody and Harmony, in book 2, I tried to create two people who’d keep butting heads.  And in the book I’m working on now, I wanted to throw in a few serious themes, but lighten them up with Miriam–a character with more snark than I’ll ever have.

When I read a series, I look forward to returning to the same setting, the same characters.  I’m reading Patricia Briggs’s Fire Touched right now, and I’m enjoying how Mercy and Adam interact as a couple, how Warren smooths things over, and how Ben has such a potty mouth.  It’s a world I want to visit and linger in for a while.  That’s the joy of a series, returning to something familiar that I’ve missed.  But each story has to be different enough to make me want to return again for new experiences.  Everything’s about balance–keeping the old and introducing the new–a happy blend.

 

My webpage: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter:  @judypost

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Fangirl moment

I need to pinch myself.  USA Today HEA did an interview with me for COOKING UP TROUBLE.  THAT was a big enough moment for me, but one of the questions was “What three romance writers do you fangirl about?”  I don’t fangirl very often.  I like to think I’m too practical, but I mentioned Nora Roberts–that woman can hang anything on a romance and make it work, Sarah Addison Allen–I love how lyrical her writing is, and Catherine Bybee–because she mixes it up and surprises me with what she adds to her romances.  And then I snuck in my friend Julia Donner–because I honestly think she writes some of the best male characters I read.  It was a fun interview.  I felt all giddy when I saw it on the USA Today site this morning.  But then, EVEN BETTER, Catherine Bybee retreated it and mentioned me on her twitter page.  Catherine Bybee herself!!  I’m going to float for the rest of today:)

If you’re interested, here’s the interview:

Interview: Judi Lynn, author of ‘Cooking Up Trouble’