Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Neil Plakcy for stopping by today on the 2016 GRL Author Spotlight Tour. Please give them a warm welcome.
Two Approaches to a Romance Series
My reading tastes were formed as a teenager by series characters like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. I adored reading the latest exploits of these sleuths, and that love of series followed me as I broadened my reading horizons. These days, I read a lot of M/M romance, and one of my favorite things is to find a series I can fall in love with.
I’ve tried to do the same thing as a writer—find characters and a world I care about, and then develop them over a series of books. But if a romance is about two characters coming together and falling in love, how can you more than one book about them? From my own experience, and what I’ve read, there are two different approaches.
The most common one is to write about a group of characters. Friends, frat brothers, teammates, for example. My recent reads include a group of Sue Brown books set around a veterinary practice in England, as well as the Glasgow Lads books by Avery Cockburn, about members of an LGBT rugby team. In each case, one couple comes to the fore, while others from past books recur.
A couple of years ago I wrote a collection of erotic short stories about members of a gay frat, Lambda Lambda Lambda, AKA the Three Lambs. It’s set at Florida University in Miami (FU), and I had a lot of fun writing it. But the guys kept hanging around my brain, asking for romance and happily ever afters. I went back over those stories and picked three guys who intrigued me, and I put them together in a rented condo on Miami Beach soon after graduation.
Those became my Love On Series from Loose Id: Love on Site, Love on Stage, Love on the Web and Love on the Pitch. Each guy got his own story, but his friends and frat brothers drop in and out. The common setting ties them all together as well.
The other approach is less common, at least in what I’ve read. What happens after that first bloom of attraction? How does a couple sustain a romantic relationship? That’s what I’ve explored in the Have Body, Will Guard series, also from Loose Id. In the first book, Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, ESL teacher Aidan Greene is fleeing a bad relationship in the States and ends up in Tunisia, where he meets hunky ex-SEAL bodyguard Liam McCullough.
Sparks fly, and as they embark on a wild ride through the desert they begin to fall in love. By the end of the book, they’re ready to commit to each other.
But I know from my own life that when opposites attract, eventually the ways in which you differ from your sweetheart can begin to eat away at your connection. How would Aidan and Liam handle working together on their first case as joint bodyguards? What if a sexy client threatens to tear them apart? And then, in the next book, what if Aidan realizes that he misses teaching, and reconsiders a career with Liam?
I loved finding ways to challenge their relationship, but as they became more settled and comfortable with each other, that got harder for me to do. But what if there was a secondary romance? Two teens from star-crossed families? Two older men who need a jump start in order to get together?
Turning Aidan and Liam into matchmakers, while retaining their work as bodyguards, breathed some new life into their romance. Sure, they continue to have problems—in the most recent book, A Cold Wind, they buy a house together and embark on renovations. What a trigger for conflict in a relationship!
I’ve enjoyed both these approaches to writing a romance series, and I hope my readers have been happy to go along on the journey with me.
How do you feel? Do you like to read a romance series, or would you prefer to meet new characters in new settings in every book?
About the Author
Neil Plakcy is the author of over thirty romance and mystery novels. He lives in South Florida with his partner and two rambunctions golden retrievers. His website is www.mahubooks.com.
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