Please welcome Tate Hallaway to VampChix today! We're excited to feature her as a guest, but a little bummed because her latest release is the last in an awesome series. Tate has 5 copies of HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD to give away to 5 random commenters, so give her some love in the comments and be sure to follow her on Twitter and FB! [Winners announced Wednesday.]
Everyone knows a never-ending series that should have stopped at book eight. A friend of mine and fellow writer made a conscious decision to end his popular urban fantasy series while he was ahead -- in sales, as well as fresh plotlines.
Me? I’m not that savvy. I was looking forward to writing DEAD & RETIRED, book four hundred and seventy-three in the Garnet Lacey series. But, my publisher had other plans.
It was particularly hard to say good-bye to a set of beloved characters under those circumstances, as I’m sure you can imagine. It was a bit like I woke up one day and got the news that my main character, Garnet, was killed in a car crash. Worse, because I wasn’t prepared for the news, I wasn’t able to write the last book conscious that it was the end. I’d already turned in a complete final draft when the publisher decided it was uninterested in the proposals for the next three books my agent and I had offered. Which meant, I’d written the entire book PLANNING the next – there were plotlines I’d intentionally left open ended, with the idea I’d use those as seeds for the next book. My main character is a witch, who, we learn through the course of the series, isn’t exactly careful about her spells. I’d left some of the consequences of her carelessness in the text for a three-book long “clean-up” and character arc in the proposals I submitted.
When I got the book back for revisions, I had to scurry. I did what I could to patch plot holes and tie up series-wide loose ends. For readers, I rewrote my acknowledgements so that it was clear to them that it was this was the last book (it’s not labeled that way on the cover. In fact, the cover art doesn’t match the style of the rest of the series at all.)
In the end, after a lot of sweat and some tears, I’ve ended up with a book I’m proud of, but sad about as well. I wish I’d had more of a heads-up earlier in the process so that I could have lingered over good-bye. I think I would have written a very different story, had I known.
It’s tough because, for me, one of the things I like about writing series is the opportunity to expand themes over several books. My books are always structured to stand alone. Their story is self-contained. The problem I bring up in the first chapter is resolved at the end. However, I like leaving little tease-y bits in the sub-plots hanging loose so that they can show up later, and readers can say, “Ah ha! That’s the consequence that little thing she did in book two!” I also like watching a character change and grow over the course of the larger arc. I always try to have my main character learn something about herself at the end of each book that changes the way she deals with the next.
Garnet, alas, still had a lot to learn.
Blurb for HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD (Berkley): In wintry Wisconsin, occult bookseller-and witch-Garnet Lacey isn't immune to the cold. But even though her new vampire husband doesn't actually have a pulse, love will keep them warm-if the honeymoon doesn't drive them apart.
Thanks to a vengeful frost demon, instead of a gothic honeymoon in Transylvania, Garnet and Sebastian are stuck in exotic Minneapolis, Minnesota. And with gods and goddesses running amok all over town, Garnet can't seem to find much quality time for her new hubby...
Read and excerpt