Thursday, March 26, 2015

Series Romances: Why Do We Love Them?

I’ve asked both readers and authors why they love to read series romance and one key reason seemed to stand out above the rest—because they weren’t ready to say goodbye to the characters.

This truly intrigued me as an author, because I, too, have a difficult time parting from the people I’ve created. I mean, let’s face it…sometimes, though we hate to admit it, we authors spend more quality time with our fictional characters than we do our own loved ones. We’ve breathed life into these make-believe individuals, giving them an identity and a purpose. Through our careful molding, our beloved protagonists find each other. And little by little, we shape the course of their lives, allowing them to grow, to come to a realization, and make that final move toward securing love and happiness.

In writing that perfect “happily ever after,” our own heart and soul goes into the grand making of these memorable characters. Because of that, it seems perfectly understandable why authors wouldn’t want to say bon voyage to them. But readers too?

Through my research, I’ve found that readers enjoy—and often times gobble up—series romance for the same reasons authors write them.

  • Attachment: Readers get attached to the characters, both primary and secondary. They make us laugh. Sometimes they make us cry. And every so often, they make us crazy. Essentially, they become family to us…people who capture our attention, grip our hearts, and hold us on the edge of our seats as we follow along through the twists and turns of the story. As New York Times bestselling author Melissa Fosterstates, “I write HUGE series because I fall for all of my characters.” To give them up would be like shipping your own family to another country and never seeing them again. Series romance allows readers the opportunity to spend “precious time” with the people they’ve grown close to, without the threat of saying farewell after the last page is turned.
  • Familiarity: Readers love the familiarity of the places they visit in our stories. It takes time to get settled into a location and, once we’ve immersed our readers into that lovely world, they don’t want to leave. It feels like home there. As national bestselling author Elena Aitken describes, “Series romance feels as familiar as a comfortable sweater.” Or as New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas says, “It’s like taking a trip back to a favorite childhood place or a favorite vacation spot.”
  • Investment: After the first book, readers are already “invested” in the characters, the place setting, and the conflicts that revolve around the storyline. It’s not enough to see the protagonists achieve their HEA (happily-ever-after.) Readers want to know if perhaps the sister will find her true love down the road. Or maybe the heroine’s best friend had a secret crush on the hero’s little brother. Will she overcome her insecurity and make her feelings known in the next book? Secondary characters intrigue readers as much as primary ones, and with series romance, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken says it best: “Readers get to catch a glimpse into the other characters’ lives.”

Anyone who knows me, has figured out that I truly enjoy writing series romance. At this time, I have three series romances, plus another on the way:

The Jamett & Joseph Series (sweet contemporary romance)

The Emerald Isle Trilogy (historical Viking romance)

The Warrior Saga Series (historical Viking romance)

The Warrior’s Captive, Book 2 — Coming soon...
Warrior Gone Rogue, Book 3 — Coming soon...

Mavericks of Meeteetse Series (contemporary Cowboy romance)
Made For McKinley, Book 1 — Coming summer 2015
Wild For Wallace, Book 3 — Coming soon...

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