Neil Plakcy ~ GRL 2016 Author Tour Local Giveaway

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.

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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

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8 thoughts on “Neil Plakcy ~ GRL 2016 Author Tour Local Giveaway

  1. Thank you for the interesting post, Neil. I like both series and standalone. When I like a couple, I normally want to continue reading about them, but I do not like it when the stories drag on forever. I just lose interest. There must be a balance in everything!

  2. I like both … but I also think if a series went too long, if only features a couple it will get boring. Usually a series that feature a couple that I follow will be in form of urban fantasy/paranormal, so they will also be busy saving the world and all ^^

  3. I think everyone likes the “happily ever after” – eventually. Some conflict, to make things interesting – but nothing that can’t be worked out. This is in ANY romance. M/M, M/F, F/F – makes no difference. When it comes right down to it, all relationships can suffer from the same root issues and insecurities. Gay, straight, or alien matters not. But, obviously, the characters must be likable. Each partner must have their redeeming qualities, for the reader to root for them and hold interest. This is true in both series and stand alone books. The benefit of the series, of course, is the potential for new conflicts and much deeper character development.

  4. I like both. I enjoy series with the same couple as well as series featuring different couples from the same storyverse. I also like standalone stories, but often find myself wanting to know more about other characters or what happened after the ending.

  5. Hi Neil, first off, sorry to correct you that Avery Cockburn’s Glasgow Lads series is about LGBT football (or soccer) team, not rugby. 😉

    As for your question, I like both series with same characters or new pairing and setting. With same couple there were characters development to enjoy on top of whatever went on in the story; and with the new pairing …well, they give clean sheet experience; which I also find interesting. So, both works for me.

  6. First, I thank you for sharing your thoughts about creating efficient romance novels. Secondly, to be honest, I haven’t read any of your books yet mainly because I have just started my quest on reading this particular genre and there are times that I barely read anything. Depends on my mood, actually.

    From what I’ve learned of your statements, you build your characters story in a series and not just in a single book, not necessarily making the novels fall under the not-standalone category but still making their impression on every stories they are involved. It is indeed a good technique. It makes us, readers, want more from the characters and be satisfied on their appearances in succeeding novels.

    I will definitely add your books to my to-be-read list especially that “frat story”. Thanks again for sharing this with us. More power to you & God bless. 🙂

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