Hello, everyone! I’ve got the inimitable Caitlin Ricci with me today to kick off the March Shapeshifter theme with a discussion about how she writes a series…in her case, about shapeshifters, naturally. Turns out we share a love of dog sanctuaries. Represent.
When I actually sit down and start writing a story, I generally know if it’s going to be a series or not. This is because side characters have already started talking to me or they’ve barely made themselves known. A series can survive on one pairing for multiple books, and plenty of authors do that well. My Pine Hollow Wolves series is like that, and I have a series being co-authored with Cari Z that is about two women. But I knew going into this novel that A Forever Home would not be one of those series. Instead, Seth, an employee at the rescue, and Marius’s brother, Jeremy, were already talking to me and wanting attention before Marius had even said two words to Jack.
A series needs side characters to survive. They help drive the plot, they create conflict and they provide a completely different view of the main characters. If I love a character, I want to see them get their own story. I have one series that I read a few years ago that the author dropped after giving readers a single chapter at the end of the last book she wrote showing this character. I was psyched to see him fall in love after four books of seeing him suffer. She has no plans to pick up the series, and that, as a reader, is one of the most frustrating things about a series. I want to know going in that if there is a character that I am rooting for that they will get their HEA.
Building a series takes time because each of the other characters matter and it isn’t just all about the two people that fall in love in the first book. There’s consistency issues and pacing and making sure that each character stays true to who they are from the first book to the last, no matter how minor that character is, because it just might be the one that readers attach to most. A character also has to grow, though, through the series.
It doesn’t have to be big things, but when you meet Jack in Rescuing Jack, he’s not all right. It’s okay, though, because this is a series and he will get better. I want to show his progression and his healing and knew that I couldn’t do it in one book. But he is one character that you’ll see a lot of in the later books. He won’t be a huge storyline, but he’ll be there, as will Marius and all the other characters you’ll meet in Rescuing Jack, because this is a series, and even though this first book is a complete story with its own conflict and arc, there will be sub-plots going through the rest of the books.
I like writing novel series most because I get invested in my characters. I enjoy spending time with them and getting to see how they grow and change. These people are constantly surprising me, because I’ll sit down to write a scene and they’ll go completely off the wall with an idea and I’ll realize that they’re in a different place than I planned. That’s okay, though. I try to listen to my characters most of all, and sometimes they have some crazy ideas, but in general they know what they’re doing and I just hang on for the ride.
Summary: Werewolves are real. Marius enjoys the irony that everyone calls him a dog whisperer, not just because he’s a werewolf, but for his work at the local animal shelter. He has a unique talent for pairing families with their perfect pets upon first meeting them. But he’s still looking for acceptance and a forever family of his own.
Then Jack comes into the rescue looking for a big, mean dog. To prevent Jack from making the wrong choice, Marius convinces him to adopt a needy spaniel mix instead. But when Marius learns Jack is tormented by horrible memories while at his apartment, he opens his home to the sweet, scared man. As their relationship grows, Jack feels comfortable telling Marius about the horrors he suffered. Marius hopes his steady presence, protection, and love can help Jack reclaim the pieces of himself broken on that terrible night.
Rescuing Jack is available HERE from Dreamspinner Press
Bio: Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader, and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing.
If she isn’t writing, she can usually be found studying as she works toward her counseling degree. She comes from a military family, and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful fiance and their two dogs. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.