Monday, July 2, 2018

Foundation of a Novel Series by Mary Davis

Mary Davis

Hey writers! Annette here. Have you ever written a series? Or maybe you've considered it, but haven't known where to begin. Our guest today, Mary Davis, has some great tips for getting started with that all-important foundation. Read on!

By Mary Davis

Oh, series. How do I create thee? Let me count the ways.

The foundation of a series is that “something” that connects the stories. In general, these connections fall into three main categories: character/s, locations, and themes.
               A single character (or small group) who has different experiences.
               A family where each story focuses on a different member.
               A group of friends or a club.
               A community, a town, a state/region, a shop, a church, island, etc.
               A theme can be knitting, gold rush, cooking, Pony Express, Texas Rangers, mail-order brides, Amish, events, etc.
               As well as various other aspects that can connect stories from book to book.
               Sometimes, a publisher comes up with a series. These are often theme connected. The theme could be as simple as similar titles, and other times a common story element.
This last one is how my current The Quilting Circle series came to be. A publishing house started a series of both contemporary and historical stories to be written by various authors where a quilt played prominently in the story. My agent asked me if I’d like to submit something.
Oh, boy, would I! I love quilts and have made several. This was a perfect fit for me.
Whenever I’m asked if I have any stories with a particular element—such as quilts—or if I’d like to submit to a series with a particular theme, my imagination goes WILD! BONKERS! The ideas tumble and roll around in my head, spilling out faster than I can write them down. I no sooner get one story idea partially scratched out when the next one urges me to jot it down so it’s not forgotten. Then the next one, and on and on.
I quickly came up with three historical and two contemporary ideas, as well as one generational idea. Sadly, none were contracted. But in the shell game of changing agents, my new agent said I had enough ideas I could create a quilting series of my own.
Ooh. I liked that idea.
Unfortunately, my collection of stories wouldn’t fit smoothly together into a single series. Oh, I could’ve forced them, but that would have been a disservice to both my stories as well as my readers. However, one of the ideas stood out as making a great backdrop for a series, The Quilting Circle. As the series title suggests, the quilting circle and the ladies who populate it connect the stories, with Aunt Henny, the matriarch of the group, at the helm.
Though it took a while, it did finally get contracted. It’s not my first series. I’ve created others that centered around families, places, friends, and themes.
I like series, both to write and to read, because once I get to know the people in the first story, I already have a jumpstart for the next one and the next. Sometimes, side characters demand to have their stories told. They can be such prima donnas, but fun.
Once the foundation is determined, the stories can vary greatly as long as they keep that connection.

The Widow's Plight by Mary Davis

A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series. Washington State, 1893

When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother. Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?
THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT  released in ebook on July 1, and is already out in paperback.


MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018: "Holly & Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups. Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.

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