Hey Gang and Stiletto Gang friends, as my wrist is in the final stages of healing, I’ve invited Author Kassandra Lamb to take my spot today. Kassandra is as disciplined as they come. I think you’ll agree when you read the following. See you next month! ~ Donnell
The Writer’s Juggling Act (When Writing Two Series)
by Kassandra Lamb
Some of the most stressful, and most exciting times I’ve encountered as a career author were when I am winding down one series and starting another. This is the second time I’ve done it and I’m a little more organized about it this time. But it is still a writer’s juggling act.
I know a couple of authors who have several series running concurrently. My hats off to them (I’m lookin’ at you, Edith Maxwell 😉 ). I could never keep up the juggling act for that long.
The hardest thing to juggle is the main character’s voice. This past year, I was working on Book 2 of my new series, and also the last two books in my cozy mystery series. The cozies had a fairly young protagonist—in her early thirties at the beginning of the series—who is a bit flip at times, and sometimes downright snarky.
She’s matured a fair amount during the course of the series and is now a first-time mother (late thirties). In the last story (recently released), she is forced to face down evil in her own small town and struggles with how to protect her little family, her friends, and neighbors.
The new series’ protagonist is a tough-as-nails veteran cop. She is thrown off kilter though, when she moves to Florida to take a job as the chief of police of a small city department. She’s mid-forties, no-nonsense, and thought she had a pretty thick wall around her heart.
But she soon discovers several unsettling things. One, she’s lonely in this new place with all her acquaintances—some of whom she is now acknowledging might actually be friends—hundreds of miles away. And two, the learning curve is steep as she struggles to run an entire department, while having two major cases thrust at her in as many months. She’s used to feeling confident about her work, sure of what to do, but now she’s in uncharted territory.
So in the old series, I had Marcia, a soft-hearted, somewhat neurotic and snarky young woman who needed to grow up some. And in the newer one, I have Judith, a mature woman who needs to learn to lighten up some and let people in more readily, and not be so hard on herself when she makes mistakes.
Their voices are very different. But not quite different enough that it was easy to keep them straight. I discovered that the line between Marcia’s snarkiness and Judith’s no-nonsense approach was not always all that clear. I had to rewrite more than one scene to make Marcia a little less no-nonsense, or make Judith a little less snarky.
Part of the juggling act has been the timing, i.e., when should I write/edit which book? Most recently, I was editing and polishing Book 2 of the new series, while finishing the first draft of Book 13 of the old one. I found that if I was editing one in the early part of the day, I really shouldn’t try to write more of the other that afternoon or evening, or vice versa. It was too hard keeping the characters’ personalities and voices separate.
I also had to adjust, back and forth, to very different settings. Marcia lives in a small (fictitious) town, with less than a thousand residents. Some of her family and friends live in other small towns (some fictitious, others real), scattered across the countryside of central Florida. Judith is chief of police of a small (fictitious) city, which borders the much larger (real) city of Jacksonville.
I found I had to stop sometimes and carefully calculate how long it would take people to get from one place to another in these different locales. Plus, small towns and cities have very different vibes.
The exciting part of this juggling act is the fun of writing a new series. Nothing like new characters and new story ideas to get the creative juices flowing. I found that even when I was working on the last book for the cozy series, I was more into the writing process than I had been recently. The words were flowing easier because my muse had been invigorated by the new series.
Now the cozy series is done, and it’s been a bittersweet experience letting go of those characters and their town. But I’m relieved that the juggling act is over, for now, and super excited about writing Book 3 in the new series.
About Fatal Escape: Two months on the job and barely recovered from a serial killer case, Chief of Police Judith Anderson is called out to the scene of what looks like a suicide—or is it? There’s no ID on the woman, and her abandoned car has been partially wiped clean of fingerprints. Judith’s search for answers leads to a human trafficking ring operating in her city…and the realization that she’s up against more than one ruthless foe, perhaps even someone on her own force. Can Judith stop the traffickers and find a killer…before more lives are destroyed?
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Retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer, lover of all things
chocolate, and author of the Kate Huntington Mysteries and the Marcia Banks & Buddy Cozy Mysteries
Co-founder of misterio press LLC <https://misteriopress.com> ~ Author