Thanks for inviting me to discuss my trilogy: Murder, Madness & Love, Memories of Murder, and Murder & Obsession, a romantic suspense/thriller with a little horror added for good measure.
Murder, Madness & Love was my first book, so I stuck to the advice all writers understand. Write what you know, and write what you want to read. While I’ve never murdered anyone, I’ve always loved a mystery, a great love story, and a good scare.
I’d always planned a series, and after I’d finished the first book, Murder, Madness & Love, I immediately submitted the manuscript to a publisher. She suggested a trilogy. When you’re on the phone with someone who’s impressed with your work, you just automatically say yes.
To me, a trilogy meant three books linked by one story or plot. For other authors, it’s been a war, a space adventure, or simply the journey of a single character. I decided to use the detective’s love interest to tie these three murder mysteries together. From the reader’s responses, I achieved my goal.
If you’re considering creating a trilogy, here are a few points to ponder.
Before you decide to write a trilogy:
- Make sure each book can stand-alone with a beginning, middle, and an end. Don’t leave issues unresolved (cliffhangers). If you cheat your readers, they won’t come back for book two.
- Know the story you want to tell and how you’ll tie all three books together.
- Commitment is essential. Love your characters; you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them.
The advantages of writing a trilogy:
- Being able to tell an agent or publisher that you have a trilogy lets them know how serious you are about your writing. It will help with your ‘one book wonder’ fear, or am I the only one who suffers from such doubts?
- Setting: while it may be perfect for that first book, you have to go where the story takes you.
- The characters get a chance to grow, especially the secondary characters. Readers, who are attached to the characters, appreciate this the most.
- Opportunities for more books based on secondary characters. Many authors use the standout to continue the story or start a new series.
While I enjoyed writing a trilogy, there are always two sides of a coin.
The cons of writing a trilogy:
- The amount of time it takes.
- Ensuring character features, names, and events stay static.
1. To avoid this issue, keep notes on characters, timelines, and plot issues in a separate file.
2. Even if you’re a pantser this is where an outline is priceless.
3. Reread your previous book to keep your memory fresh.
- Keeping important plot details flowing from one book to the other to tie the entire story together. These clues will make your readers go ‘ah ha’ when they reach the conclusion.
- Dealing with characters who have a mind of their own or a setting that loses its luster. If you get bored with your story, so will your readers.
I’d also recommend that you have the synopsis, tagline, and blurb for all three books prepared when you present that first book to an agent or publisher. They’ll ask for them, and you don’t want to have to scramble.
While it’s not necessary to have all three books completed before submission, I advise it. This is the one thing about my process I’d change, mainly to synchronize the release dates.
I enjoyed writing Murder, Madness & Love, Memories of Murder, and Murder & Obsession. I still love my characters and the Alaskan setting, and am now working on a prequel called The Snowman, it’s Quaid’s first case as a Detective, and a 4th Detective Quaid novel called Dark Motives, making my trilogy a series.
(FYI: a set of three books is also considered a series!)
At one time adventure called to Yoland Renee, and she answered. She learned to sleep under the midnight sun of Alaska, survive in below zero temperatures, and she was privileged to hike both the Brooks and Alaska Mountain Ranges. Yolanda has traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of her most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left her and thus now influence her writing.
Despite Yolanda’s adventurous spirit, she achieved her educational goals and worked for too many years as an accountant. She is married and has two wonderful sons. Writing is now her focus, her newest adventure!