- by Sasha White
I’ve never been a plotter. When I write a synopsis for an unwritten book, it resembles a back cover blurb. My brain just shuts down and my imagination freezes when I try to think too far ahead in a story. And yet, when I started selling to NY publishers, I was urged by people who knew I wanted to build a career, and not just sell a book or two, to come up with a series idea.
And of course, I froze. A series? Uhmm, I can’t even plot a book!
No matter how hard I tried, I could not come up with a series idea. Everything sounded idiotic, or had been done, or my ideas could cover one book, but no way could they cover a series. I just couldn’t do it.
I got down, I got a bit depressed, and I resigned myself to writing stand alone books. What was the big deal? Sure the trend was trilogies, or series, but the trend isn’t always the way to go. Especially if your mind is like mine, and it doesn’t always follow the same path everyone else’s does. Besides, plenty of authors have built careers on stand alone books. Yet now, four years later, I look at the novels I’ve written and surprise, surprise, I see not one series, but Two!
And I did them my way.
I have no series title, but there are 5 stories in this paranormal journey I’ve embarked on, all connected by the same characters. Three of the stories were in the anthology SEXY DEVIL, One was in the recently released single title PRIMAL MALE, and the final one is in the novella NO ANGEL that will be in the July release MOST WANTED.
The whole thing started with the idea of a blind date mix up that became Gina and Caleb’s story in THE DEVIL INSIDE, the first novella in SEXY DEVIL. A free spirited psychic and an uptight construction worker meet, and sparks fly. That seems to be a theme for me. People meet, and sparks fly. I think because as much as I’m a cynic about happily ever after, and I don’t really believe in Love at first sight. I do believe in attraction and lust at first sight. And it’s magical when that attraction grows into more.
That theme, mixed in with some magic and crazy circumstances, seem to be the basis of this series, and I’m just clueing into it! To me, this is the magic of being an author. I know others who find that magic when they’re plotting, and planning, that’s the magical stage for them. For me, it comes from building a character, and throwing them into a situation that is out of their element, and then going on the journey with them. I get to learn about them, and see them, as readers do…or I should say as I hope readers do.
Drake Wheeler, the hero in PRIMAL MALE, was a complete enigma to me when I started the story, and all I knew about Melissa was that she was a shapeshifter. As with most people, there was so much more to them both than just that – and I hope you’ll enjoy reading PRIMAL MALE and discovering more about Drake and Melissa, as they learn more about themselves.
Not only did this series thing happen with my Aphrodisia books, but also with my Berkley books. The first single title I ever wrote was BOUND, and in it was a ‘throw-away” character named Karl. Karl was just a guy that hit on the heroin in the bar one night. A hot guy she was attracted to sure, but he wasn’t a planned character. He was just something that needed to happen for the heroine to figure some things out. When I wrote the next single title for Berkley,(TROUBLE) a totally unrelated story, Karl turned up again, as the hero’s best friend. Half way through TROUBLE, I contacted my editor and asked her if we could scrap the idea I’d sold her for my third book, so I could write Karl’s story instead. And she said yes. That book is WICKED.
Strangely enough, the next book for Berkley, MY PREROGATIVE is also connected with those ones, the main character is a bartender in the bar the hero of TROUBLE owns. So really, I have a series, despite the fact they were never really meant to be that way, but they are certainly connected, by setting and character. All of my books stand completely on thier own, but at the same time, they tend to be connected. And in my mind, it just goes to prove that no matter what craft books, or workshop instructors, or even writer friends say… you don’t have to be a plotter to develop a series.
To this day, I still can not plot a book, let alone a series, but one thing I’ve learned to never forget is that it doesn’t matter what other people tell you can and can’t be done…it only matters what you do!