Today’s guest blogger is author Lisa N. Paul, who talks about her love of series books, something that is near and dear to my little series-loving heart!
Explaining Series Books in a Cliffhanger World by Lisa N. Paul
I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little girl—as far back as I can remember. And while I would read anything and everything I could get my little hands on, I always preferred related/connected books or series books.
Why, you ask? Well, there was something comforting in taking a road trip back the world an author created and spending time with characters I’d formed a lasting relationship with.
For example, as a small girl, I loved the Berenstain Bears books. My dad and I would cuddle up in my bed and read all about the silly country bears and their misadventures. We would giggle over how the Papa Bear would try with great passion to teach his cubs life lessons only to succeed by failing. But each time my dad and I would open a new release, I would get excited to see what kind of silliness my bear friends would find.
From there my dad and I met Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice, as well as Fudge and his brothers, and enjoyed the easy way we slipped back into the lives of our friends time after time.
The days of cute little bears, silly school mishaps, and reading with my dad were all but over the day I discovered Francine Pascal and her Sweet Valley High series. Those books became my hobby, part of my bedtime routine, the topic of conversation between my girlfriends and me, and my guilty pleasure all wrapped up in the brightly colored covers of multiple and continuing books. What I found so extremely pleasing about that series was that in each book there was a story and at the end there was a resolution. (Instant gratification!!) However, when the next book came out, the characters, NOT the story, moved on.
I mean, come on!! We were young, we were dealing with our changing bodies and boys—the LAST thing we needed was to have even more angst added on by having to wait for the next installment of SVH to see what happened to our book friends.
If we wanted a cliffhanger, all we needed to do was watch Dallas and try to figure out who shot J.R. Ewing!
That, my friends, is the difference between a cliffhanger and a series/connected book, television show, etc.
A cliffhanger is one story told over more than one book. A series/connected story is multiple stories that are connected by either characters, place, or event. I may be missing something… but that’s the general idea.
Nowadays, cliffhangers are all the rage. And… let’s be honest, they tend to cause some rage as well. Cliffhangers are the books readers love to hate. For me, personally, I don’t like them. I’m still an instant gratification kind of girl.
As an adult, I have gravitated to the series books. I’ve found I am more invested in stories when I know I’ll get to spend more time with my friends. Yes, yes, I know it sounds a little crazy, but trust me, if you’re anything like me… you’re nodding with me right this minute. I see you. 😉
When I started my journey as a writer, I began writing my first scene and from the minute I introduced the two main characters, I knew there would be at least two books needed—hence, a series was born. As I delved deeper into my first novel, Thursday Nights, I realized that each of the characters was special and deserved a story of their own. I am working on the third book now.
Two of the most frequent questions I get from potential readers is “Are your books cliffhangers?” and “Should I wait for all of them to be released before I read the first one?” My answer is always the same—NO!!! Not only are my stories NOT cliffhangers, they are standalone books. While they read better if they are read in order, they can each be read individually and still make perfect sense. Will there be spoilers? Yes. That happens when you read out of order, but it will not ruin the story that is taking place in the current book.
To me, reading is a consuming activity. If the story is well written and the characters are developed nicely, they become more than words on a page or a screen. They become part of my fiber. A great book stays with me for a long time… Some, forever. Long stories stretched over several books can be incredible! But getting to visit with my friends and learn new tales from different points of view, well, that is always my first choice.
Give it a try.
About the Author:
Lisa N. Paul is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, reader, writer, blogger, and self-proclaimed comedian—just not always in that order. Ever since she was a little girl, she has devoured books. Falling in love with the Sweet Valley High series at a young age drew Lisa to series books and inspired her to write her own. Thursday Nights is the first book in her Charistown series.
When not writing, Lisa can be found eating french fries and Godiva raspberry truffles, or hanging out with her husband and two sons.
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