SPIN-OFF SERIES. TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

Recently, I had three historical authors ask me if writing a spin-off series based on their first series is a good idea.

Could they make it work?

Do readers want to read about secondary characters enough to read an entire novel or series about those people? Are the characters interesting and intriguing enough to carry an entire new string of books?

Can I keep all those facts straight?

Of course, I said, “Go for it!”

We know it’s not uncommon to see a short story or a novella based on secondary characters. I could name dozens of authors who have done so, often even offering the stories for free reads.  

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00099]My newest release, A Kiss for Miss Kingsley (a Regency Novelette) and Bride of Falcon (Captivated by His Kiss Regency boxed novella set) are set at the same ball where Flynn, Earl of Luxmoore is introduced in Triumph and Treasure  (Book I in the Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series.)

I have another short story, Heart of a Highlander (Gifts from the Heart Valentine Anthology) that is based on characters from the Castle Brides series too.

Overkill?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Personally, I adore a long series and spin-off series—especially if a character piqued my interest or emotions—is just icing on the cake. I knew several of my characters from the Castle Brides series had to have their own stories, but it didn’t work to add those books to that series. Hence, the Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series was born.

But I don’t always know I’m going to write a book about a secondary character until I create them. Such is the case of Bradford Kingsley. I gave him a quirky sense of humor in A Kiss for Miss Kingsley, and if you know me at all, that’s reason enough for Olivia’s brother to get his own book…eventually.

To be totally honest, though, I have started a few second series and found they just didn’t have the pizzazz, the zing, of the first. I didn’t finish them.

So, what are your favorite spin-off series? Why?

Have you ever started a second series and thought the author should have stopped at the first?

Can a spin-off historical series be as good as the original?

Let’s take a little poll, shall we?

Answer in the comments since I cannot find the poll option anymore. 

A. I adore a spin-off series. The more books the merrier!

B. I like short stories and novella’s based on a series, but not another entire series.

C. Authors need to learn when to quit and move on to something fresh.

Here’s a little something from Bride of Falcon

(Captivated by His Kiss boxed novella set)

Captivated by His Kiss - RGB 72 dpi low res @ 300 - Copy

Available for pre-order now-Releasing January 12, 2015

Splaying the fingers of his ruined hand, he stared at the empty space where the digits ought to be. Peculiarly, but he felt them at times. They itched, ached, twitched—not in actuality, of course, but phantom sensations of what once was. At times, he even tried to pick up items with the missing appendages.

Losing himself in the magic of music had been his singular passion, other than Ivy. Now, both were lost to him.

Sighing, he set aside the brandy. Brooding served no purpose. After shoving to his feet, he banked the fire before circling the room and blowing out the candles, except one three-branched candelabrum. A final glance at the fireplace assured him the meshed brass guard prevented embers from escaping.

Determined to put the day behind him, he snatched the candelabrum and exited the room. Across the hall, the drawing room door stood open. Lid closed, the grand piano washed in the moon’s silvery glow beckoned him. He stood in the doorway for several long minutes, his emotions vacillating.

A scan of the corridor confirmed Chance alone remained below at this ungodly hour. He advanced into the room, standing unsure for a moment. He placed the candles atop the piano and ran a hand along the carved mahogany. A truly grand instrument.

After shrugging out of his coat, he tossed the cutaway on a needlepoint parlor chair. Before he sat, he unbuttoned his shirtsleeves and rolled them to his elbows. The ivory keys gleamed in the soft light. He rested a tentative hand upon their surface, relishing their familiar cool presence beneath his fingertips.

His useless left hand lay on his thigh. He ran his right fingertips across the keys and, pressing the quiet pedal with his foot, played a familiar melody, one-handed.

“Falcon?” Ivy whispered his name, her voice a blend of curiosity and wonder.

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Today’s Romantic Pursuit trivia question is: Why can’t Chance play the piano anymore?

Remember to answer in the game section.

 

 

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Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, COLLETTE CAMERON pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them. Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You'll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.

21 Responses

  1. Hi Colette! My Devil Devere series is up to 9 books and still going strong. I plan to add at least three more titles in the next year before spinning it off with the next generation of DeVeres. If readers are invested in the world and the characters, I think it’s great to keep a series going. The trick is keeping it fresh.

    • I agree, Vicki. I don’t mind if there are similar themes in a series, after all, something has to tie the stories together, but when the books are basically the same except for character names, I don’t finish the series.

  2. Maggi Andersen

    Hi Colette, some of my secondary characters in my series demand their own story. I like a spin-off series, but one quite different from the first. It’s fun to set new stories in a familiar world which is already richly drawn.

  3. Barbara Monajem

    Occasionally I like a spin-off novella or two, but usually I prefer it if the author goes on to something new. I rarely read more than four or five books in a series, and I don’t know if I could write more than that without wanting to try something different.

    • If the series/spin-off series can’t offer something new, then I usually don’t keep reading. It’s like recycling the same material.

  4. ginaconkle2013

    Hi Collette,
    I like the spin-off idea. You can keep it fresh and interesting. My hunch of late is readers crave diving into an expansive series rather than the standard 3 books. Once they fall in love with the world you create, they want more. So, here’s to your books! 😀

    • Readers feel like their part of a book family, I think. They get excited when they see familiar characters. A drawback is if a reader comes to the book(s) somewhere in the middle of the series and can’t figure out who’s who.

  5. Pat Harrell

    I love spin-off series. You get to know these characters in one book, and want to learn more. If you read Susan Mallory or Robin Carr you know what I mean.
    I did order the books, thanks for the great price.

  6. Like everyone else, I like spin-off series. Always great to follow children or secondary characters you’ve grown attached to.

  7. I love a great spin-off series. I’m reminded of Mary Balogh’s Slightly and Simply series, all of which I devoured! Knowing what I know now about writing, however, I don’t know how she keeps all those details straight!

  8. The majority of the time I do love the spin off series. I generally prefer novels to novellas simply because I hate to see a story end. The only drawbacks are the cost of having to buy all those books, and the lack of enough reading time in the day. 😉

    There have been a few cases where IMO enough is enough and I just stop reading but those are much rarer than the ones I love.

  9. Brigette T

    I would say A… I love lots of books and I love getting different views of things.

  10. A. I love series and am sometimes sad when they end, especially if I enjoyed the secondary characters and want to know their story. 🙂

    • Me too! On rare occasions though, I’ve not found the secondary characters engaging enough. That’s when an author can introduce a few new characters.

  11. Definitely A! The only one that comes to mind, and probably because it’s the only that I’ve read from beginning to spin-off is Highland Pleasures by Jennifer Ashley. If someone is bothered by the length of a series, I say don’t read it and move on and let the rest of us enjoy it =D