Monday, 15 June 2009

Writing a series - that's not a series!

When I wrote 'Tales from a Hen Weekend', it hadn't crossed my mind that it might lead to a series. Not until my editor pointed out that the 'tales from' idea could work really well with other situations ... and then I had a field day, listing all the things I could write about tales from! We
eventually settled on following it with 'Tales from a Wedding Day', and now 'Tales from a Honeymoon Hotel'.

The reason they're not exactly a series is that they're all separate stories, with different characters. The only thing linking them is the titles, and the fact that they tell stories of emotional discoveries amongst groups of friends and/or families.

Writing a series that's not really a series has been a challenge in some ways: I've been conscious of the fact that some readers who enjoyed the first book might expect the second to be a sequel, so I've been careful to make it clear on my website etc that this isn't the case. On the other hand, I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed writing three novels with the same set of characters quite so much. I'd love to hear from anyone who's done this, or attempted it. I wonder how difficult it would be to keep up the impetus through three books.

Writing about events surrounding a wedding has been great fun - there's so much going on, so many emotional undertones to explore. Every bride is different, every character has their own hidden dreams, memories and agendas! 'Tales from a Hen Weekend' was inevitably the most lively book, with drunken antics leading to the unintentional revelation of various secrets!
In 'Tales from a Wedding Day', while still keeping the tone light and humorous, I perhaps introduced more tender moments, and explored some depths of emotions such as jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness.

The new book, 'Tales from a Honeymoon Hotel' is different again - telling the stories of three very different honeymoon couples, who have all gone into marriage with some unresolved problems. When I started writing the book, I had to decide where to set the honeymoon hotel, and after a couple of changes of heart, eventually settled on the Croatian island of Korcula - where I'd had a holiday myself a couple of years ago. It's beautiful and romantic, and small enough for the three couples to realistically interact.

Well, I'm not going to give too much more away! But the point is that I think the three books have turned out to be quite different in tone, as well as being different stories. I didn't particularly set out with this intention - it seemed to happen automatically because of the circumstances of the characters and their stories.

Of course, it's always much more interesting to know what other people think of the books, than wittering on about what I think - which is why as a writer, we love getting feedback from our readers, isn't it! I've always likened it to sending your kids off to school and then waiting with bated breath to find out whether the teacher thinks they're well-behaved and whether the other kids like them!

So - only a couple of weeks till publication: my baby's going out into the big world and I can't wait to know whether everyone loves it or hates it!


  1. I'm just in awe of the fact that you have written three books! That's no mean feat! Well done and I really hope they sell well. I shall have a snoop in some book shops and if they aren't in a prominent place I'll put them in pride of place!!

    Julie xx

  2. Ah, thanks Julie! Sadly, books by the 'likes of me' tend to get shoved into the back of the shop - it's just the bestsellers and the 3 for 2's that are put in prominent places! Hopefully the new book will be in shops from 2 July, even if only in the back shelves! If not, by all means ask for it! Demand it! Tell them how short-sighted they are for not stocking it! Threaten to blow up their shop! Stage a sit-in! (Or maybe just order a copy, nicely ...)!

  3. I don't think the militant approach will work in my local bookshop. I don't fancy being bundled to the floor by a load of muscle bound security guard - or maybe I do?! Mmmm