For me, setting out to develop a romantic suspense series came more out of a love for the characters rather than a set intention. The goal of any story is to entertain, to captivate the reader and whisk them away to a world of another’s creation. As a writer I find stories spiced with romance and suspense to be the most fun to create, but it is always the characters that make any story fulfilling.
My journey into this genre began when I wrote my first novel, To My Senses. After that book had been published, I envisioned a follow-up to it. Recovery, became the second novel in the Nicci Beauvoir series and where we are first introduced to Dallas August. Born out of my love for the characters, and my desire to highlight New Orleans and all that she had suffered during the ravages of Katrina, Recovery led to the third book in the series, Sacrifice. Even after the saga of Nicci and David was complete, I felt there was still more to be done with Dallas August. He is a character with a great deal of potential and his business of buying and selling secrets ignites the imagination. I never consciously decided to start out on a series, but I eventually let the story and the characters make that determination for me. As a writer, I think you know when a story has reached its conclusion and when there is more to be written. The same is true for Dallas August, and I have already completed the second book in The Secret Brokers series, Of Sins and Shadows, which will be released next May. And I know there will be more for him in future novels. I believe when you find a character compelling as a writer you wish to continue with his or her development. It is an intriguing process to see how far a character can go. And I believe the reader enjoys revisiting old characters in each installment of a series as well. Like any good life story, we want to find out what happens to characters in which we have become emotionally invested. It is like conversing with long lost friends and catching up on the trial and tribulations in their lives. We find common ground and comfort in the fact that their downfalls are ours as well, even if their secrets, affairs, intrigues, and schemes seem a little more glamorous than our own. In the end, it is this feeling of familiarity that is the biggest inspiration for creating a series. Like wrapping your body in a warm robe on a cold winter’s evening, curling up with a favorite character is appealing to most of us. What is dear to the heart gives one a sense of calm amid the chaos of our ever-changing lives. And finding a few moments of peace amid the hectic, technologically fast-paced, sometimes overwhelming world in which we live is necessary, if not required. It nourishes our souls and reminds us that true characters, even the ones made up on the page, matter to all of us.