Tips for Keeping A Series Fresh by Beth Carter

Before we discuss the challenges of penning a series, please help me celebrate! champagne popping

It’s release day for CHAOS AT COCONUTS, Book 2, which all began with double award-winning THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. As I write Books 3, 4, (and possibly 5 in the series—who knows, I’m a pantser), I continually strive to keep the characters engaging, intriguing, and compelling for readers.

Chaos at Coconuts cover - 830x1250

As background, my main POV characters are three thirty-something best friends who’ve known one another since high school. Suzy’s a wedding planner; Hope is a high school guidance counselor; and Alex is a bank marketer. The threesome enjoy Happy Hour at Coconuts, an island-themed bar, in land-locked Crystal City. Secondary characters such as bad-boy cops, neurotic brides, exes, and hippies create gleeful havoc along the way.

In CHAOS AT COCONUTS, I introduced a newcomer, Cheri Van Buren, who is a wealthy New York socialite and celebrity chef. You’ll have to read my novel to see why she makes a splashy visit to Coconuts. At first, Suzy, Alex, and Hope aren’t too keen about having a beautiful, filthy rich woman as competition, and they may or may not befriend the stranger.

I also introduced Izzy, a lazy, disrespectful teen stepdaughter for Suzy–who her new husband forgot to mention during his whirlwind proposal–as well as a job-stealing intern and stalker ex-wife who both unleash mayhem on an unsuspecting Alex.

Hope has a couple of major issues to deal with at Hilltop High. One challenge is a devastating tornado. This was my first attempt at a tornado scene, and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy to create but I’m very happy with the aftermath and outcome. The fact that I’m from Missouri and actually saw the destruction after an EF5 tornado in Joplin made these gut-wrenching scenes a bit easier to construct, even if on paper.

To recap, here are tips I used to keep my series fresh:

  • I added several new characters (some from different states)
  • The characters all had different, unique professions
  • A monster tornado was used for several surprising, poignant scenes
  • I penned two unique weddings for totally opposite couples
  • Backstory was woven in (mainly using dialogue) rather than an info dump
  • As always, plenty of plot twists were used for both old and new characters
  • The “flavor” of the island bar, Coconuts, was maintained
  • My voice remained the same ensuring plenty of humor, suspense, and romance
  • Both novels were written so they could be read as standalone books
  • The same font was used on both covers to ensure branding.  Each book title in this series will include the words “…At Coconuts.”

Here’s the blurb for CHAOS AT COCONUTS:

To most, Coconuts is simply a bar. But for three best friends, it’s their oasis. That is, until everything comes crashing down.

Socialite Cheri Van Buren makes a splashy, paparazzi-filled visit to Coconuts. Secretly dabbling in disastrous online dating, the wealthy caterer desires normalcy away from the society pages. A few girlfriends would be nice too.

Hope’s life is routine, if not dull. The most exciting part of her day is counseling students until a monster tornado heads toward Hilltop High. Now she’s in shock—and not just from the devastating twister.

Alex oversees a marketing intern from hell who appears intent on stealing her job. Her relationship with her sexy cop boyfriend isn’t so sexy, especially after his ex-wife stalks her.

Suzy’s new marriage is challenged by her surly teen stepdaughter, a unique Halloween wedding, and her son’s ever-changing nuptials. If that isn’t enough, the family discovers an astonishing revelation requiring a giant leap of faith.

Will the women overcome the chaos or will it tear them apart?

By the way, I’m having an online launch party on Facebook to celebrate my new release, and you’re invited. The virtual party will be held Thursday, April 12, from 4-7 p.m. CST. There will be excerpts, contests, swag, signed books, and gift cards. Please join me!Launch party banner - Chaos At Coconuts

Amazon buy link: https://www.tinyurl.com/chaosatcoconuts

Headshot 2016 looking over shoulderDo you prefer books in a series? I’ve written standalone, one-time novels, and Coconuts is my first series, but likely not my last. I’d love to hear from you! Connect with me on social media or via my website at http://www.bethcarter.com

 

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About Beth Carter

Multiple award-winning novelist and children's book author. Former bank VP and hospital PR director turned pajama-wearing writer. Find me online or at Starbucks where I'll be writing while sipping a skinny vanilla latte. If I'm not there, it's possible I'm at T.J. Maxx. Happy reading! 2017 Raven Award Runner-Up for Favorite Contemporary - SLEEPING WITH ELVIS; 2015 RONE Winner and 2015 Best Debut Author - THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS.
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5 Responses to Tips for Keeping A Series Fresh by Beth Carter

  1. The hardest thing is keeping a series fresh and intriguing, sounds like you’ve nailed it! Wishing you the best of luck!

    • Beth Carter says:

      Yes, it is a challenge when the main cast of characters is in each book. I have the most trouble with the character who is most like me! (Alex). Lol. I’ve got big plans for the next two books in the series. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Social media’d and commented.

  3. I agree that new characters are essential. I, too, have written a sequel to “From Ice Wagon to Club House,” and it was fun to add new characters and new adventures. Prohibition has ended, and the trauma of WWI is over for Jude Mooney and his family; however, the younger generation is soon engulfed in the Irish Uprising and then WWII.

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