I'd never planned to write a book series...EVER. The reason why: because book series' are hard! Dang hard.
Then I wrote DESERT RICE. I finished the book and didn't have plans to write a second. Guess what? The character of Sam wouldn't leave me alone. She demanded a second book (those of you who are writers will completely understand the concept of being haunted by a character. Those of you who are readers will think I'm crazy, and in a lot of aspects, you're right). That second book HAD to be written. I couldn't get around it, but I didn't necessarily enjoy the idea of doing so. You want to know why? Because what if I didn't write it in the way my readers were hoping for? What if the second book was no where near as good as the first? What if I let them down? *huge, crippling fear*
So then guess what I went on to do? I wrote WANTED: Dead or Undead and part way through I realized there was no way everything would be tied up in a nice little bow by the time I got to the ending. It was going to have to be a series. Dang it. There I go again. The worry, the questions, the fears all came rushing back. And now that I'm in the process of writing book three in the series, it's become even worse, so much so that I'm finding it very difficult to write and most likely won't be able to publish it this coming Summer. It may have to wait until the Fall.
Readers have expectations. They have their favorite characters and ideas of what THEY want to see happen. But here's the thing: each reader is different, each reader has their own ideas, and each reader is keeping that information locked away inside their own heads and not sharing it with the author. So where does that leave me? I have to write the story that is inside MY head and hope my readers will understand, and hopefully like what I've done and where I've taken the story. The other thing I've come to realize is that even if I wrote the second and third book in the series EXACTLY how my readers were hoping, they'd still be upset because the story was so predictable. I can't win. There's no way I can win.
Ahhh...what to do, what to do?
The only thing I can: write the book that is inside my head. That's it. I got the best advice from my editor that said, "You can't control the response to your book, only the book that gets written." That's all I can do. Simple and to the point. My editor is extremely wise. I love her.
And in the future, I will only write stand alone books. That's my plan. (But we all know what they say about plans, right?).
So I have a question for you: what series of books was your favorite? What ones disappointed? (For me, I loved the first book in the Hunger Games and then each book after that, not as much).