That’s right. I used an 8LW banned word (or it would be, if we kept a banned words list). Prologue. In our McDaniel classes, Jenny instructed, encouraged, and pleaded with us to eschew prologues, because the story should start when the Thing That Changes Everything happens. But since this isn’t a story, I figure I can get away with it as an introduction to my series of posts on series.
The first series I remember reading in childhood was The Little House on the Prairie. The first romance book I read was book 1 of Roberta Gellis’s Heiress series. As soon as I finished it, I was thrilled to find out books 2 and 3 were available, and devoured them. To this day, I’m thrilled when I find a new series to love and often find myself googling impatiently when I’ve gone too long without an installment of one of favorites.
That love doesn’t stop at reading. It extends to writing. Several of us here at 8LW are either writing a book series or planning one. Justine has mentioned her plans for the sister of the heroine from Three Proposals to get her own book. Jilly is already working away on the second MacKenzie brother’s story. If the gods smile upon us, there will be more demons and were-cheetahs in Jeanne’s and Michaeline’s futures. And me, I’m in the midst writing one Victorian-era romance series and planning a modern-day, Copenhagen-set mystery series.
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to share more details about some of the series I’ve read or partially read recently, and what lessons they’ve taught me for writing my own series. There will be minor spoilers, lots of opportunities to discuss our favorites, and maybe even a surprise guest or two.
But today, as a prologue to the upcoming series on series, I thought I’d share just a few of my many, many favorites, which I’ll be discussing further in the upcoming weeks. Feel free to share your own favorites in the comments!
Chief Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny. Nearly every one of Penny’s 10 books in the Gamache series has won or been nominated for major awards including the Edgar (as in Poe) and the Agatha (as in Christie). These books are complex, with many story threads twisting through them. There’s also an overarching ‘big picture’ issue that comes to a head in book 9 (more about that next week!). I started with book 9, then read book 10, and now am going back to the beginning to read all of them.
Bridgertons Series by Julia Quinn. Quinn has been writing this series for over a decade. I recently returned to reading it, after seeing a reference to one of the newer books and realizing the series had fallen off my radar. I then had the fun of getting caught up with several new-to-me books in a row. Seeing the (in)famous Smythe-Smith Quartet and so many main characters, now happily married couples from earlier books has been like reconnecting with old friends.
Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French. French has been on my auto-buy list since I read book 2, Likeness, based on one of my daughter’s (always excellent) recommendations. I then quickly read book 1 and impatiently waited for book 3. French has now released 5 books in the series, and some of them have been optioned for TV. But the book is almost always better than the screen adaption (this is totally unbiased fact, of course) so if you haven’t read them yet, you really should start!