When is a Series Not a Series?
I grew up reading fantasy and science fiction. Early on, I learned the pain of falling in love with characters, immersing myself in their stories, only to wait for a year or more for new books to come out. At the same time, I mastered another type of pain — finding a new book that looked Super Amazing Cool, only to discover that its series-cohorts were out of print or otherwise unavailable.
I’ve committed Series numerous times in my writing career. While THE GLASSWRIGHTS PROGRESS (second in the Glasswrights series) can be read without reading THE GLASSWRIGHTS APPRENTICE (first in the series), the other three volumes rely pretty heavily on series continuity. Same with the Jane Madison series — you can read SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL and MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL for the stories contained therein, but to understand the character arcs, you should read them in order.
So, I decided to try something different with the As You Wish series. I decided to write a series that could be read in any order. The trick, I quickly realized, was having a series-unifying character who stood somewhat outside the action in each individual volume. The trick was to have a genie.
Teel, the wish-granting genie, appears in each volume of the As You Wish series. The genie, though, helps different heroines, in different venues, in each volume. While a reader *can* read the books in order, s/he can just as easily start with WHEN GOOD WISHES GO BAD. In a way, Teel is like a detective in a traditional mystery series — you can pick up any Hercules Poirot mystery and read it, without knowing the detailed lives of the cast of characters. (Yes, Poirot (and Teel) evolve(s) in some relatively minor ways, but that’s not the true focus of each volume.)
So? What are your favorite series-not-a-series?
Mindy, with less than a week to wait, to learn how readers react