Married authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn wrote individually until they got together and created the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. The fifth and final book in this hard-boiled series based in old Hollywood of 1956-57 is now available. Learn more about Janet and Will and their books at their respective websites.
Creating a Satisfying Conclusion to a Series
My husband, Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Mysteries, a hardboiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, Game Town, is set in Hollywood and exposes a scandal that rocks the toy industry in Los Angeles.
The Skylar Drake Mystery series ends with Game Town. We found ourselves spending more time outlining this final book than the others. In the end we scratched our head and wondered "Why was it so difficult?"
We wanted to tie up plots and sub-plots rather than just not answer series questions.
The conclusion of a series is just as important as the beginning of a series. The reader has to be satisfied that there may not be a happy ending. After all, in mysteries, lovely characters die or don't get what they want or deserve. However, things need to end okay, so the reader who has been following the series feels satisfied.
Ending the series can also be a big letdown for the writers. Remember, we have been living with these characters for years. In our case, for five years. During this time it was not unusual for our characters to follow us into the car and argue in the back seat over a moot point we hadn't addressed. Or we could have been happily writing an intense scene that took blood, sweat and tears by the time we finished, only for the character to put their foot down and demand a change because-it didn't work in the book.
The important thing in ending a series is to deliver on the vow made in the previous books to take the reader on a journey they will enjoy to the end and leave with memories of the trip.
A Skylar Drake Mystery, Book 5
Skylar Drake is hired as a bodyguard for two young starlets. He delivers the actresses home after the Emmy Awards ceremony, but stumbles onto the murder of Silver Brovor-Smith, the mother of one of his charges. The FBI is on-scene. He wonders why they are there for a simple murder.Drake and his partner, Casey Dolan, are now on the case as suspicion shifts between the victim’s husband and her three brothers. Drake and Dolan are misled while kidnapping and mysterious deaths take them into the world of Hollywood backroom deals. They must keep the high-profile family from becoming front page news. Drake meets the perfect woman to help him move on, but is she a suspect? The letters P-E-G-O seem to appear everywhere. He thinks they may be connected to the crimes.Follow Skylar Drake to Hollywood parties where the forbidden is accepted and games played are for keeps.