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Friday, September 26, 2014


Award-winning author Donnell Ann Bell leaves the international thrillers to world travelers, preferring to concentrate on "suspense to close to home"--books that could take place in her own neck of the woods. All of her books have been e-book bestsellers. Her fourth release, Buried Agendas, is due out in the fall of 2014. Donnell is also one of the authors featured in Bake, Love, Write: 105 Authors Share Dessert Recipes and Advice on Love and Writing. Learn more about Donnell and her books at her website.    

Let’s get Series about Single Title
All right, a very bad pun, but I’m coming down from a deadline, and it’s Friday. On Friday, we talk about anything on Lois’s blog, so I thought we might discuss how people feel about Series vs. Single Title. I’m curious because I just completed my fourth single-title for Bell Bridge Books, and, as I do every time I finish one, I lament saying goodbye to my characters. I’m actually jealous of authors who get to commune with their characters longer. 

Recently, though, I had a nice review that stated I’m glad this is a single title instead of a series.  For obvious reasons I liked the review. However, I am also working on book one of a series.  Quite frankly, I’m nervous. I admit to writing single title because the characters called to me and wanted me to tell “their” story.  Single title gives me the freedom to research different topics, go different places, and spend time with different characters. I never get bored writing single title.

However, I’ve received some reviews that say readers want to see more of these characters from my single title books.  What’s a writer to do?  I admit that I get so lonely for these characters after they’re gone, that I want to continue their saga. And I do have some planned.

I talked to a friend about series vs. single title and asked her opinion.  She said both. “Series allows me to reconnect with characters I know I love and continue on with their story. However, I think some authors continue it too far, going into book 21 when they should have stopped at something like book 8.”

About single title, she said, “If you get hold of a good single title, it’s a lot like Christmas. You open the package, and you’re not sure what you’re going to get.  You may be happy with it, or you may want to take it back. But nothing makes me happier than reading an outstanding single title.”

She makes valid points, don’t you think?  I love both series and single title. I’m hoping there’s room enough in this world for both.  In the meantime, Buried Agendas is off to copyediting, and I’m still missing these characters.  I hope that’s a good sign, and, if you like romantic suspense, I hope you’ll stay tuned.  The log line for Buried Agendas is, “A devastating secret drove her from the man she loved. Will a secret equally as deadly lead her back to him?”

So, what about you?  Are you series all the way? Or do you like single title?

A woman betrayed and a child stolen, bound by the invisible ties of blood.

When Oklahoma City resident, Irene Turner learns the incomprehensible, that the stillborn baby she delivered 28-years earlier is alive, she takes the evidence to where her daughter now lives—Denver Colorado. Detective Nate Paxton can’t believe what Irene’s evidence shows him.  Kinsey Masters, a world-class athlete, raised by a prominent Denver family, an unattainable woman he’s known and loved for years, was stolen at birth. 
Irene Turner, Nate Paxton, and Kinsey Masters are united in a sordid conspiracy.  But, it’s who the conspirators turn out to be that will leave the trio shaken and in disbelief.  Irene’s foundation of trust will be ripped from its core, as kidnapping, murder, and a thirst for revenge lead her to learn she’s been betrayed.

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Janis Susan May Patterson said...

Donnell, you took almost my exact words out of my mouth. I write single title and love it. Always something different. Personally I don't like series, either reading or writing. I want new - new characters, new settings, new facts. Visiting the same place with the same people is just too boring - and I bore very easily. But - I think we are in the minority here. Every one of my standalones had brought in mail asking when the next book in the series is going to be. It's hard telling an interested reader that there's not going to be one. I don't think there are any easy answers.


Donnell is having trouble posting comments today. Her computer crashed and is in for repairs, and her phone isn't cooperating. She's trying to get on but wanted everyone to know she appreciates readers who post comments and isn't ignoring them.

Deb Coonts said...

Both have merit. I just released the fifth book in a series and I see the end drawing near. Series burnout is a real thing, for the writer as well as the reader. I love my characters, I want to leave them in a happy place, but they need to go live their lives and let me go play in someone else's backyard. I just finished the first draft of the first in anew series....I know:) But, this series is going to be interesting in that each book will seem like more of a standalone. The POV characters change with each book--four women and while they each are in all of the books, they each get to tell their own story in a book from their POV. It's a fun way to tackle the issue....keeps things fresh but gives the comfort of a series.

Sandy said...

Donnell, I like both series and single title books.

Your excerpt was so intriguing. I really have to have the book.

Vamp Writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela Adams said...

Your book sounds intriguing, Donnell, and I enjoyed reading your post.

Sally Carpenter said...

Enjoyed your post. The secret to writing any good book, series or standalone, is to leave the reading wanting more. I just finished writing the third book in a series and have plans to write several more, with the protagonist evolving in his personal life with each book. I like reading series but not if the character doesn't grow or the same plot is rehashed. There's room for all types of books.

Ellis Vidler said...

I read both, but I agree some series lose their appeal after so many books. I like single titles, or standalones, for the same reasons you do--they're fresh in so many ways, but when the character interests me, series are nice too.

Sheila Boneham said...

I agree with what's already been said - it all depends on the stories and the characters. I think it's essential for the author of a series to have a sense of the arc of the story that continues book to book. Good post, good topic.

Diane Vallere said...

Hi Donnell,
I enjoy both single title and series. What it comes down to for me is that we all have lives that move on and change and things happen, and whether or not we (as authors) are there to capture what happens next for a set of characters, they go on living. Either in peaceful lives lived off the page, or if they're magnets for trouble, in series form.

Good luck with your books!

Rachael Dahl said...

I'm not a big fan of series because I have yet to read one where the last book doesn't feel like the author is bored with either the storyline or the characters or both.

Christine Finlayson said...

Hi Donnell, As a reader, I enjoy both series and single-titles, but I've definitely read books recently where the author kept the series going too long. :( As a writer, I like to create new worlds and new characters so my books are stand-alone. However, I'm tossing around ideas for continuing one character's story because I don't feel "finished" with her yet.

I really enjoyed both Betrayed and Deadly Recall -- thanks for writing great romantic suspense for us to enjoy!

Polly Iyer said...

Great subject, Donnell. Interestingly, Ellis Vidler and I have written a two-part blog for the Writers Who Kill Blogspot on Series vs. Standalones. We examine the pluses and minuses of both, name our favorites, talk about why some don't work after a while, and why some do. The third book in my series is coming out next week, and I found writing it very difficult. I'm not sure there'll be a fourth.

E. Ayers said...

Loved the blurb. I'm about to go get that one and stuff it in my Kindle.

I write the River City series. But instead of the same characters going on and on. Each book within the series stands alone. Each one is a different couple and they may or may not be tied by some connection to the other characters. Some are close friends and some only have professional connections. This allows me to to constantly keep it fresh, yet revisit occasionally with past characters. I hope to be writing this series 20 years from now, but mostly I want readers still reading it 20 years from now.

I've also done the same thing with my westerns by placing them in Creed's Crossing, Wyoming.

As a writer, it gives me a solid foundation for each book. And for those who like to read my books they know there will be more. I think I've taken the best of both worlds and blended them. I can't imagine going on and on with a single set of characters.

I think a series works best with some genres but romance...? If I were the heroine of a romance and I've survived more than a few stories without him saying I do, maybe it time to say I don't and find another guy. LOL

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hello everyone, I'm so sorry I couldn't participate in this topic on Friday. Road trips and computer crashes do not mix! I'm glad to know there's room in this world for both series and single title. I'm glad many of you found my blurb intriguing, and Christine Finlayson, I'm honored you enjoyed both my books.

Lois, thank you for hosting me. I will say I get a kick out of Anastasia stories. It's amazing how your keep the stories so fresh. Will take notes :) Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Polly Iyer, when will your blog run?