Horror Roundtable 8 – Writing a Series

When: May 11, 2013
Time: 12 noon EST (use the Time Zone Converter to find your local time)

Writing a Series

What do writers owe their readers when they write books in series? Or do they not owe anything at all? The readers are the people who buy the books and “pay” the writer with eventual [we hope!] royalties. The people and situations in a book and a series are the writer’s creation and for themselves foremost … but if a writer isn’t thinking of potential readers, then why bother sending the book to an agent or publisher? Why try to get it published? And … what does a writer owe her own characters? Did she form them and breathe life into them only to cut things off in a matter of a few books? Of course, we can think of Sherlock Holmes who died but was brought back after Doyle got a lot of Victorian flak.

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You can follow the Roundtable discussion in the comments section of this post.

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Special Guests:

F. Paul Wilson

Nancy Holder is a founding member and former trustee of HWA. She is a New York Times bestselling author (the dark fantasy series Wicked) who has written over eighty novels, and two hundred short stories, essays, and articles, many of which have appeared in “Best of” anthologies. She has received five Bram Stoker awards, one for Novel (Dead in the Water), Young Adult Novel (The Screaming Season), and three for Short Fiction (“Lady Madonna,” “I Hear the Mermaids Singing,” and “Cafe Endless: Spring Rain”). She received a Scribe award for Saving Grace: Tough Love, based on the Saving Grace TV series. She was given a Pioneer award from Romantic Times for her young adult fiction. She also received a Special Sales Award from amazon.com.

Her other horror work includes the young adult Possessions trilogy from Razorbill, stories in Deep Cuts, V Wars, the mosaic novel Zombie Apocalypse series, and the upcoming young adult horror special from Dark Moon. She has written spooky tales for Nancy Drew and as Chris P. Flesh and Melissa J. Morgan for Grosset and Dunlap. She is well known for her work on such properties as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, MTV Teen Wolf, Saving Grace, Hellboy, Hulk, Highlander, Sherlock Holmes, Kolchak, Zorro, and many others. She will be one of two Author Guests of Honor at the 2014 World Horror Convention. She edits comic books and pulp fiction for Moonstone Books and she is on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program offered through the University of Southern Maine. Visit her @nancyholder, https://www.facebook.com/nancyholderfans, and www.nancyholder.com.

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Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make her produce “normal” stories failed. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She’s the author of the “Otherworld” urban fantasy series, “Darkest Powers” & “Darkness Rising” teen paranormal trilogies as well as the upcoming “Cainsville” modern gothic series and “Blackwell Pages” middle-grade fantasy adventure trilogy (co-written as K.L. Armstrong with M.A. Marr).  She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets. Photo credit: Kathryn Hollinrake

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F. Paul Wilson is the award-winning, NY Times bestselling author of nearly fifty books and many short stories spanning horror, adventure, medical thrillers, science fiction, and virtually everything between. More than nine million copies of his books are in print in the US and his work has been translated into twenty-four foreign languages.  He also has written for the stage, screen, and interactive media. COLD CITY features his urban mercenary, Repairman Jack.  His latest is THE PROTEUS CURE, a disturbing medical thriller written with Tracy Carbone. Paul resides at the Jersey Shore.

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Kim Newman is a novelist, critic and broadcaster.  His fiction includes The Night MayorBad DreamsJago, the Anno Dracula novels and stories, The QuorumThe Original Dr Shade and Other StoriesLife’s LotteryBack in the USSA (with Eugene Byrne) and The Man From the Diogenes Club under his own name and The Vampire Genevieve and Orgy of the Blood Parasites as Jack Yeovil.  His non-fiction books include Ghastly Beyond Belief (with Neil Gaiman), Horror: 100 Best Books (with Stephen Jones), Wild West MoviesThe BFI Companion to HorrorMillennium Movies and BFI Classics studies of Cat People and Doctor Who.  He is a contributing editor to Sight & Sound and Empire magazines (writing Empire’s popular Video Dungeon column), has written and broadcast widely on a range of topics, and scripted radio and television documentaries.  His stories ‘Week Woman’ and ‘Ubermensch’ have been adapted into an episode of the TV series The Hunger and an Australian short film; he has directed and written a tiny film Missing Girl; he co-wrote the West End play The Hallowe’en Sessions.  Following his Radio 4 play ‘Cry Babies’, he wrote episodes for Radio 7’s series The Man in Black (‘Phish Phood’) and Glass Eye Pix’ Tales From Beyond the Pale (‘Sarah Minds the Dog’).  His official web-site can be found at www.johnnyalucard.com.  His most recent publications are expanded reissues of the Anno Dracula series and The Hound of the d’Urbervilles (from Titan) and a much-expanded edition of Nightmare Movies (from Bloomsbury).  Johnny Alucard, the fourth Anno Dracula novel, appeared in 2012; his next novel will be An English Ghost Story.  He is on Twitter as @AnnoDracula.

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87 Responses to “Horror Roundtable 8 – Writing a Series”

  1. Nancy Holder says:

    Hello! This is Nancy. I’m checking to make sure I’m logged in properly. The discussion has not yet started!

  2. Kim Newman says:

    Hi. This is Kim. Logging in.

  3. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I’m here

  4. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Hey, it’s Kelley. So apparently, I’m into’ing the topic and getting discussion started. I have a few questions that will lead us into the big one “What do we owe readers” and then we can make it a more organic discussion from there. I’ll get that topic posted now…

  5. F. Paul Wilson says:

    By coincidence, I’ve just reached the 60k mark in the last book of the Repairman Jack series.

  6. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Hey all, let’s get started here with a description of our topic. It looks like we have introductions posted right on the page already so I’ll hop into my first question after this…

    What do writers owe their readers when they write books in series? Or do they not owe anything at all? The readers are the people who buy the books and “pay” the writer with eventual [we hope!] royalties. The people and situations in a book and a series are the writer’s creation and for themselves foremost … but if a writer isn’t thinking of potential readers, then why bother sending the book to an agent or publisher? Why try to get it published? And … what does a writer owe her own characters? Did she form them and breathe life into them only to cut things off in a matter of a few books? Of course, we can think of Sherlock Holmes who died but was brought back after Doyle got a lot of Victorian flak.

  7. Kelley Armstrong says:

    First, for context, tell us about the series you’ve worked on, and what stage they’re at (starting, in progress, done)

  8. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Oops. My page doesn’t auto refresh. I didn’t know you’d started.

  9. Kelley Armstrong says:

    I started with the Otherworld series–multi-narrated urban fantasy, which started with Bitten in 2001 and wrapped up with Thirteen last summer. I’ve started and finished two YA paranormal trilogies (The Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising.) This week I launched book 1 in my new co-written (with Melissa Marr) Norse mythology middle-grade trilogy. This summer, I start another adult series called Cainsviille. Oh, and I have my straight-up mystery trilogy–Nadia Stafford–ending this Nov.

  10. Nancy Holder says:

    When I wrote the Wicked series with Debbie Viguie, the fourth contracted book ended on a massive cliffhanger because I assumed (naively) that we would be moving on to book 5. But our editor left and no one picked up the series. We asked and asked to be given the go to write the fifth book (and had independent publishing been a thing, we may well have done it.) SIX YEARS LATER the series was repackaged and hit the Times list, and shortly before that occurred, we were contracted to write the last book. During all that time, we talked about what to do, including writing a list of answers to all the emailed questions we had received.

    I read a lot of series and most of the books I read (and write) end on cliffhangers, but this makes me nervous.

  11. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Yep, it doesn’t auto refresh, so I guess we sit here clicking it :)

  12. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I have a 5-book SF series called the LaNague Federation that Idon’t intend to go back to. Plus I have the Adversary Cycle which either 6 books if you leave out all the sequels to THE TOMB. And then you have the Repairman Jack series which 22 books that crisscross the Adversary Cycle

  13. Nancy Holder says:

    Also missed the no-auto-refresh. Hi, F! Missed you at RT.

    So what I’m saying is that the “vogue” or the thing we do is to end each book with unanswered questions/a cliffhanger these days. One/I aim for a “satisfying conclusion” but with more questions to be answered in the next book.

    Series: I have written Wicked, Crusade, The Wolf Springs Chronicles, and the Possessions series. The longest in terms of books was Wicked, with five books (thus far.)

  14. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Yeah, I suspect that no-auto-refresh thing will get awkward. But I’ll leave Kim to answer when he can and move on to my next question…

    What do you love about doing a series? Let’s take this from the writing perspective first.

  15. Kim Newman says:

    M. John Harrison once said that all his fiction was part of one vast meta-series. I tend to think that’s true of my stuff too – Mike Moorcock probably systemised his multiverse more explicitly, and Stephen King began tying everything together just by dropping crossover references. I’ve done a little of both – going back to characters and settings, sometimes starting over again with people, sometimes picking up directly (ie: doing sequel or series stories). With Anno Dracula, I knew while I was working on the first book that a) there would be further novels and stories and b) they wouldn’t be conventional sequels but revisit the world of the story at later points in history – now I’ve done several more novels and stories with varied settings, I’m starting to see the whole thing as less like a series and more like one long sprawling novel.

  16. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Hi, Nancy. Heard you were at RT – never saw you.

    Yeah, ideally in a long series you end each book’s individual arc but leave hooks that will make the reader look forward to the next. I managed that for the nine RJ novels, then came HARBINGERS which was spoiler city for the preceding books.

  17. Nancy Holder says:

    I tweeted Kim to give him a headsup.

    What I love is being able to live in that world with those characters for a long time. To me, writing a standalone is akin to writing a short story–for me, there’s an equal amount of world-building, and it would be nice to have the reward of sticking around for a while for doing so much.

  18. Kim Newman says:

    What I love about a series is the opportunity to work on a larger canvas than a novel. I wonder if the rise in America of longform TV series of stature and depth has anything to do with the added popularity among writers for doing series. Of course, there’s still room for the pulp equivalent of the myth of Sysephus where, say, Doc Savage or Biggles essentially have the same adventure (with variations) over and over again and are forever back where they started …

  19. Kelley Armstrong says:

    For me, the advantage to a series, from a writing perspective, is a chance to really delve into character and world building. If I know I have at least 3 books to play with, I don’t have to dump it all in the first. I can be constantly setting up and playing out revelations and characters shifts. Of course, there’s a comfort in writing a series–I just started book 3 of the Cainsville series this week and I was positively gleeful at the chance to play in this world, with these characters again, as their voices become so easy and familiar.

  20. F. Paul Wilson says:

    The nice thing about a series is that you’re not always reinventing the wheel with every new book.

  21. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Now let’s flip to the marketing angle. In your experience, what are the marketing and sales advantages of a series?

  22. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I agree with Kim. The opportunity for long arcs arching over the shorter ones is what draws me to a series.

  23. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Publishers love series because it’s a built in (and hopefully growing) audience. Like F. Paul said, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel–either with world and story or with marketing.

  24. Nancy Holder says:

    Jeff Mariotte’s son loved Scooby-Doo when he was little. Jeff asked, “Why? It’s always a guy in a suit.” And David replied, “But it’s always a DIFFERENT guy in a DIFFERENT suit!”

    I was suprised (and pleased) when it became apparent that writers could write what Kim is calling longform. I teach in an MFA program and students are doing really interesting research into this multi-verse/larger worlds such as you are talking about, Kim.

    Kelley, looking forward to the new series!

  25. F. Paul Wilson says:

    For a genre-hopper like me, the Repairman Jack series was a career-saver. I could do a techie thriller, a medical thriller, a haunted house story, flat-out paranoid SF — and as long as Jack was the protagonist, the marketing department knew just how to sell it.

  26. Kim Newman says:

    I assume if reaction to the first book was indifferent, there would be a series – though, for example, Doyle’s first two Sherlock Holmes novels made little impact and it was only when he started writing short stories and issuing them as collections that they really took off. I imagine there’s a comfort in publishing terms of knowing that if the first book sold well so will follow-ups, though I guess we can all come up with examples where that didn’t work. I can also think of a few books – Clive Barker’s Cabal is one – that were supposed to start series but,for various reasons, were not followed up.

  27. Kelley Armstrong says:

    So lots of great reasons for writing a series. But there’s an ugly side too, as Stephen King explored in Misery. You build up that readership which is amazing…but then you need to do something creatively different. You end the series or you spin it in a new direction, and fans are…displeased. Any experience with that? Did those reactions surprise you?

  28. Kim Newman says:

    The trick, I suspect, to keeping a series alive is very like the trick to writing genre fiction – giving readers what they want in a way they might not expect, fulfilling a contract with the reader that they will find this to be the sort of thing they like but still delivering surprises and, I would hope, expanding the fictional world and maybe offering more challenges.

  29. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Since you never knew what to expect in the RJ series, that wasn’t a problem. Oh, you didn’t like this story? Okay, the next will be different. Jack will grow a little and face a different type of problem.

  30. F. Paul Wilson says:

    People were NOT happy when I said I was retiring Jack.

  31. Nancy Holder says:

    What F is talking about is why I loved writing for Buffy. I could do all kinds of different sorts of books–capers, mysteries, comedies–and as long as it was about Buffy, it was all right with my powers that be. I have gotten flak over the heroine’s romantic choices and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get some more next December. I’m a pleaser at heart so I find it uncomfortable.

  32. Nancy Holder says:

    Sorry, writing too fast here–I have gotten flak in my “own” work re. the heroine’s romantic choices.

  33. Kelley Armstrong says:

    I changed narrators in my Otherworld series, and readers would grumble. But they learned that it was just expanding the world and old narrators popped up in the stories of others or returned to take a turn at the helm. They were mostly okay with it.

    They were also pretty cool with me ending the Otherworld series. I explained why and promised I wasn’t abandoning it entirely (just not doing a book a year) and they were supportive if disappointed :)

    My experience in YA was a little different. They howled when I changed narrators for trilogy #2. They swore never to read me again. I got ugly emails and hurt emails, and the hurt ones were harder to take. The reaction caught me off guard. I expected it to be more like when I changed narrators in the Otherworld. Teens get a little more…invested in characters.

  34. F. Paul Wilson says:

    The downside to the larger arc is that it can grow too weighty… achieve critical mass where it has to be dealt with once and for all.

  35. Kelley Armstrong says:

    So that takes us to the question that leads off this panel description. What do writers of series owe their readers. Or, to put it in a personal context, as a series writer, what do you feel you owe your readers.

  36. Kim Newman says:

    I think you have to be true to your own vision – ugh, that sounds awful. I mean, you should not get too comfortable, and follow your own sense of the internal logic of your series and your characters and their place in the world. Otherwise, you might end up writing your own fan fiction – trying too hard to please. I love what Dumas does in Twenty Years After, where we meet the Musketeers in later life and they’ve genuinely and believably changed in a way that is truthful and sad.

  37. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Okay, now it’s auto refreshing and wiping out my typing

  38. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Yep, same here. Arghh!

  39. F. Paul Wilson says:

    You owe series readers what you owe every reader: a good story well told. But you also owe them a reliable continuity.

  40. Nancy Holder says:

    I agree with Kelley re. YA. Debbie and I debated and debated over the death of a specific character in Wicked. He was one of two possible choices for one of our female main characters and we applied our theme to the two possible outcomes: “Even in the darkest place, there is hope.” Guy A already knew that. Guy B had yet to learn that. So we killed Guy A not because Guy B was a better partner for our girl, but because he needed to find that light…and by being with him on that journey, our heroine would, too.

  41. Kelley Armstrong says:

    I owe my readers a good story and my best efforts. The problem comes when I think that means making changes (including ending a series) before it becomes “just knocking them out to make a buck” and when readers tell me they’d happily read 400 pages of the characters hanging around talking!

  42. F. Paul Wilson says:

    You don’t owe them growth in the characters (although I can’t imagine writing a series without it) because some of them are: Let’s have another one just like the other one.

  43. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Okay, while I always have backup questions, let’s take what we have and chat!

  44. Nancy Holder says:

    Uncertainty of “To Be Continued” in today’s tipsy publishing world is one of the reasons I LOVE the BBC (is it BBC, Kim?) protocol of stating upfront that this miniseries is x number of episodes long. Of course, now my beloved SHERLOCK is up to season 4 (time for champagne) when at first I assumed it was only the 3 stories total.

    But I have started reading series that didn’t continue and I’m disappointed when that happens.

  45. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Agree with F that some readers just want more of the same. And yet I’ve seen writers who provide that and get slammed for writing the same story over and over. It’s a no-win sometimes!

  46. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Nancy, that’s really interesting about killing off one character to allow another to grow.

  47. Kim Newman says:

    I’ve lost the last three things I tried to say thanks to the damned autorefresh option.

  48. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I’m writing in a blank email and copying it over

  49. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Just like in a stand-alone novel, some characters’ arcs demand they die. It’s like you have no choice. But you can determine =how= they die

  50. Kelley Armstrong says:

    I’m also doing the email thing!

  51. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Re: Nancy’s comment about a set # of episodes, that’s why I’m rather fond of trilogies lately. On the other hand, I envisioned Cainsville as one, and having started book 3, it’s clearly not. But I’d like to still envision the end-game and imagine it ending at 5 or 6 books…if it does well enough to go that long.

  52. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Robert Parker wrote 10 great Spencer mysteries – some of the best PI fiction ever — and then began repeating himself for 20 more novels. Worked for him.

  53. Nancy Holder says:

    Thank you, F. It was such a hard decision. Guy A was “better” all around. Kind and chivalrous, brave, etc. Guy B had sat in the Dark Side’s hot tub and eaten all the Dark Side’s chicken tenders. He really got all kinds of good stuff for being evil. So we kicked Guy A upstairs and gave Guy B a one-way ticket to redemption. Crying, literally, when we did so.

  54. myoung says:

    Sorry for the auto refresh drama: this has now been set at 5 minutes.

  55. Kelley Armstrong says:

    One problem I find is that there’s no way to know how long a new series will be allowed to last. It takes a few books to build, so I can’t say from book 1 that I want 6. People laugh when I say it wasn’t until book 6 of the Otherworld that I actually relaxed and accepted that it was a “series” but it’s true. Until then, I waited for the axe to fall at any moment. Because it can.

  56. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I’m finishing up my first ever trilogy. I found it wholly different from a series in that I’m telling one story over three books. I’ve approached it like a play: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3.

  57. Kim Newman says:

    I like the unintended character arc between The Big Sleep and The Long Good-Bye … Marlowe gets older and more contemplative because Chandler did, and because the author wanted to expand the envelope of what a mystery could be.

  58. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Yes, trilogies are an interesting beast that way. Book 1 = setup, book 2 = complications, book 3 = resolution. 3 act plotting. Or that’s how I do it!

  59. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Another thing I love about a series — or an uber story like my Secret History — is culling characters from other books and giving them walk-ons and sometimes even speaking parts. Kim, you’re sort of notorious for this.

  60. F. Paul Wilson says:

    LOVED the Moriarty book, btw

  61. Nancy Holder says:

    Kelley, that’s so true. A number of YA series that I was following have stopped and usually I find out that the publisher was the stopper.

    F, that’s how I approach trilogies as well. We are so smart. ;0

    Kim, as always, you are so erudite. I suspect you are a diabolical mastermind.

  62. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Back to killing off characters, I’ve never done it in a significant way, but I’ve seen it happen and see the fallout against the author. It’s one example of what I call “When Readers Attack.” Love readers and 99% of them are amazing, but there are those who seem to see the writer as the evil dictator who controls and imprisons and even murders the characters. We do what’s best for the book and the characters, however tough it may be.

  63. Kim Newman says:

    A format I really like, which I used in Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the d’Urbervilles and the forthcoming Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard, allows you to do a whole series in a single book; the fix-up. My model is things like Grant Allen’s An African Millionaire and Guy Boothby’s The Prince of Swindlers – both first published in the Strand magazine as a series of self-contained short stories, but with an overall (perhaps attenuated) narrative. Conan Doyle didn’t quite manage this, though it’d be interesting to see an edition of the Holmes stories that selected the ‘arc’ episodes where the main characters are developed or have major revelations/reversals so you can follow the relationship as it is expressed through a series of individual mysteries, much like the way many current TV series work.

  64. Nancy Holder says:

    I think there’s some tension between ending a book with unanswered questions BUT also with a satisfying ending and ending a book on a cliffhanger and THEN the publisher pulls the plug. In Wicked 1.0, it was the latter. I just read (and adored) THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson and she really finishes the story while making it very clear that this main character could easily have more adventures. And does, yay.

  65. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I’m having such fun with the trilogy now that everything’s falling into place as I hoped it would (for a while I was terrified it would all fall apart). All these disparate characters and groups of characters who seemed like ships passing in the night are now colliding and causing all sorts of havoc.

  66. F. Paul Wilson says:

    That’s why Kim’s Moriarty book belongs in the discussion because the series of short stories has been welded into a cohesive narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.

  67. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Definitely hate to see a publisher pull the plug when it’s so obvious the author wasn’t done the story. I always worry about that, but I think I worry a little less now in the days of easy self-publishing. There’s always the opportunity to write a final book and self-pub it, which is not ideal, but it is a series safety net.

  68. Kim Newman says:

    Yes, readers get upset when characters they like die – they should, but sometimes the story requires it. On some level, I think authors almost owe their most developed characters a death in the way that they owe them a birth and a development. That ‘bury me where this arrow falls’ bit in the Robin Hood legend completes the set of stories in a way that paradoxically makes the character more alive. Agatha Christie wrote books in which Miss Marple and Poirot die, and left them to be published posthumously. I think that over-a-waterfall ending was better for Holmes than retiring to keep bees but nipping back for one topical WWI adventure.

  69. Nancy Holder says:

    Death: I though our own HWAn Jonathan Maberry did a great job of SEMI SPOILER ALERT killing off someone very significant in DUST AND DECAY. It was appropriate and kept to his notion of writing his zombie trilogy as a Western. It gave the other characters a way to mourn many other losses. In that way I thought it was reminiscent of THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHA.

  70. Nancy Holder says:

    Ah, but Kim, if he had stayed over the Reichenbach Falls, we would not have had “A Case of Death and Honey” by Neil G., which I loved. (A STUDY IN SHERLOCK.)

  71. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I’m known to my readers as a killer of likeable characters. In a series you can’t kill of the hero, so I have to build characters the readers love and then kill them — or not. That not is important. You don’t want a Crewman 6 in every novel. Sometimes you need to spare one or 2 to keep readers off balance.

  72. Nancy Holder says:

    This, of course, is one of the things my captain Joss Whedon does. Makes you love someone so he can kill them.

  73. Kelley Armstrong says:

    I was thinking this morning that it’s appropriate to be discussing what an author owes readers in the wake of Charlaine Harris ending her series…and the shitstorm that’s followed because the ending was leaked and some readers didn’t like it. Disliking it is fine. That’s everyone’s right. Saying so in reviews is fine too. But threatening the author is not. Ever. It’s an example of how ugly it can get. And so richly undeserved, for anyone who knows Charlaine–her kindness and her dedication to her readers.

  74. Kim Newman says:

    I think it’s amusing that so many people doing retired Holmes stories have had to do a massive amount of beekeeping research or take up apiculture just because Doyle, who probably thought about it for all of six seconds, made a throwaway decision that this is what the detective would do in retirement. It could easily have been playing with lead soldiers or crochet.

  75. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I think an author owes a resolution to a series — better than leaving it hanging or letting it be continued beyond your grave by hired hands

  76. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Okay, we’re hitting the last two minutes. Huge thanks for the great answers and I’ll look forward to seeing any questions from writers and readers as this opens up to them. Before we go, tell me what you have coming out next!

  77. Kim Newman says:

    I heard a little about the Harris kerfuffle (I’ve only read one of her books so am not that well up on the specifics) and it all got a bit Annie Wilkes to my taste. I’m sure there are cases where an author has become so heartily sick of a series that they’ve written in twists to affront and alienate longtime readers – especially in the pulpmill days when folks might have been assigned to ongoing sagas they didn’t like. I know in comics and soap operas, writers tend to nurture fantasies of having a bomb dropped on the town or the hero falling off a cliff.

  78. F. Paul Wilson says:

    I wonder what Ludlum would think about how his estate has exploited Bourne.

  79. Nancy Holder says:

    Agreed, Kim. Shared universes, what can you do?

    Kelley, I’ve been thinking of Charlaine this entire discussion. I was threatened when I wrote a late-series novel where Buffy and Angel got together instead of Buffy and Spike. I actually thought B?/A was going to occur based on casting rumors and FOx approved the outline, so…. But there was an organized effort to trash the book (90 one-star reviews as soon as it was published) and someone brought a concealed tape recorder to a Buffy event to “prove” to the world that I preferred B/A. I heard all about it, told Fox and amazon, etc. I was very nervous going to that event but as you can see, I survived. (Or did I? Dun, dun, DUN.)

  80. F. Paul Wilson says:

    THE PROTEUS CURE (with Tracy Carbone) out last week. DARK CITY out this summer in limited edition. A NECESSARY END (with Sarah Pinborough) late summer.

  81. Nancy Holder says:

    OOh! Next is the last Wolf Springs Chronicles book, SAVAGE, then a teen thriller and a teen ghost story, and lots of short (and long) fiction. I’m in Dark Moon’s YA special.

  82. Kim Newman says:

    The fourth Anno Dracula, Johnny Alucard, is (finally) out this year. Another, as-yet-untitled book in the series will follow eventually. My next novel will be An English Ghost Story, which is what it sounds like and not part of a series – though it fits into my fictional universe in some ways. Oh, and I’m writing a comic for MonkeyBrain.

  83. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Up next for me in August is Omens, first in the Cainsville series. Privileged young woman discovers she’s adopted…and the child of convicted serial killers. No werewolves or demons in this one, but it does explore new (for me) supernatural elements like omens, portents, second sight and Celtic folklore, set in a mystery plot.

  84. Kelley Armstrong says:

    Thanks, guys! I’m sure I’ll see you around!

  85. myoung says:

    Thank you to our brilliant (and patient!) guests, Kelley Armstrong, Nancy Holder, F. Paul Wilson, and Kim Newman, for putting on a wonderful Roundtable.

    This Roundtable is now open to the general public for their comments/questions.

  86. Nancy Holder says:

    Thanks for all the fish. I’ll be here all week. :)

  87. F. Paul Wilson says:

    Okay…signing off.