Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Birth Of A Series by Janet Lee Barton

I'm excited to welcome my friend Janet Lee Barton to Seriously Write today. Janet's a talented author who has written some wonderful series for both Love Inspired Historical and Barbour. She has some great tips to share with us, so sit back and enjoy her wonderful post. 
- Terri
I’m very excited to have a story coming out in the Barbour Collection, Love Is Patient in February!  My story, Harvest of Love, is the first sale I made and the beginning of the first series I wrote, my historical New Mexico series. I can only give credit to the Lord for making that come about, for when I first started writing, all I wanted was a published story.
But, from that little novella, three novels, A Promise Made, A Place Called Home and Making Amends, came about and they are all still available in eBook. I loved these stories and learned much about writing series from it. I’ve always liked reading series, as long as they are stand alone stories, and I love writing them.
Even though they are stand alone, my series are tightly connected—with friends, family--or in my Boardinghouse Betrothal series for LIH—the people who live in Heaton House and have become like family to each other.
For those authors who might want to begin writing a series like that, the time to begin is with that first story, if possible, and then trust in the Lord to give you more ideas.  Should you decide you want to do a series after the first story has been written, but didn’t have characters to build on—it can still be done by introducing your new characters and then bring in characters from the first story, but show a relationship beginning between old and new characters—new friendships starting, an old friend coming back into one’s life, etc.
I try to bring in supporting characters the readers like and care about, and want to know more about, so that I have choices in who to bring into the next story as a hero or heroine. They can’t take over the main story when they are a supporting character, but they need to show up enough that one cares about them. A best friend, a sister, cousin, etc. work great!
In Harvest of Love, the cafĂ© owner, Emma, was a friend of the heroine, Liddy, and Emma became the heroine in A Promise Made. In that story, the citizens of Roswell came to be known and from there it was no problem to bring in others who became friends to populate the other two stories in the series. Be sure to bring in new people you think might work for another story. You don’t have to use them in the next story, but maybe several books later.
You can bring in new people at any time, but be sure to connect them to others. In A Place Called Home, the heroine was from Roswell, but the hero wasn’t. So you have room to be creative.
I’m thinking of continuing this series one day. The beauty of writing series in this day and age of publishing is that you can decide when it ends—or doesn’t. Or when it starts back up again. I hope you think about writing a series and have as much joy doing it as I do!
Bestselling author Janet Lee Barton is a Romantic Times Book of the Year winner as well as a multiple ACFW Carol Award nominee. Janet was born in New Mexico and has lived all over the South. She and her husband now call Oklahoma home and have recently downsized to a condo, which they love. When Janet isn't writing or reading, she loves to cook for family, work in her small garden, travel and sew. She writes both Historical and Contemporary romance, and loves writing about faith, families, friends and of course, falling in love.
Visit her at Sign up for her newsletter there to get writing news first.
If you'd like to read Janet's story Harvest of Love in the Love is Patient Collection click on the link below.


  1. Good morning, Janet! Thanks for sharing your tips on writing series with us. I have to admit that as a reader I love reading series. I become invested in the characters and setting and look forward to return trips.

    As a writer I'm itching to create a series so I appreciate you sharing these tips today.

  2. I like this thought, Janet, that we can decide when a series ends...and if it starts back up again. I've been thinking of revisiting my Redemption River series, and now I just may do it! Readers are always asking what happened to Popbottle Jones and GI Jack. BTW, love your series. Good reads all.

  3. Janet, Thanks for some great tips on writing a series. I love that the books can be stand alone as well as part of the series. I have considered writing a series in your tips are very helpful.

  4. Thank you, Terri, Linda and Ruth! I'm glad you think my tips might help in some way. And Linda thank you for your compliment! I've just gotten the rights back some to some of my Barbour series and am so excited about putting them up and perhaps continuing some of them.
    I truly think you should revisit your Redemption River series and go for it! I know all your readers, including me, would love for you to!

  5. Great thoughts, Janet. I'm working on my first series right now. I'm planning on three books, but maybe I'll go further. Who knows?

  6. Hi Robin! We'll have to talk about this soon. :)

  7. Hi Janet! I'm a reader - not a writer - but I absolutely love your Boardinghouse series! I've read all of the books and can't wait for the next installment.

    1. Thank you Loves To Read! ! I do love hearing from readers! The next story comes out in June. :)

  8. Janet, great thoughts on writing a series. I think it's fun for both writers and readers to get to know other characters in the storyworld and watch them blossom with their own stories. : )


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