Series in which the author features a different hero and heroine in each volume are common in Christian fiction today. I hate to admit it, but, with the exception of a very few authors whose work I especially love, I generally don’t read the rest of the books in these series. If I’m really drawn into the first story, love the hero and heroine, and am satisfied by the conclusion of their story, I feel very little motivation to read a sequel that focuses on one of the secondary characters. Although a setting that readers are particularly drawn to can provide the motivation to continue with a series, I personally believe that switching heroes is a major reason why sequels often don’t sell as well as the first book even if the subsequent stories are well written and engaging.
From the time I was a teenager, I devoured novels, primarily classic literature. And very early on, what stood out to me in these stories was that my interest was the most highly engaged when the hero or heroine was “on stage”. I was conscious of a definite drop-off of energy and engagement when secondary characters commanded the stage and became impatient for the hero to return. The exception was when secondary characters’ actions or dialog directly related to the hero, but even then my interest never quite reached the intensity the main character engaged. For that very reason, when I began to think about turning Daughter of Liberty into a series, I made a conscious decision to feature Elizabeth Howard and Jonathan Carleton throughout rather than having secondary characters become primary in the sequels.
Unlike most series today, both series I’m writing—The American Patriot Series, set during the American Revolution; and the Northkill Amish Series, set during the French and Indian War—focus on the primary characters of book 1 from beginning to end. The scope of these particular series demands that treatment. However, I believe that following one hero and/or heroine throughout is the most powerful way to construct a series. It allows the author to develop a strong, overarching theme that builds through every volume, affecting readers on the deepest level and keeping them reading.
What’s your opinion about series? Do you agree with me or not? Why or why not? Please share some examples of series you’ve read that especially engaged you and how the author handled this issue.
The American Patriot Series is the only truly comprehensive fictional series on the American Revolution. Painstakingly researched using a wide range of primary resources as well as the latest popular and scholarly histories of the American colonial and Revolutionary periods, it contains a highly engaging and accurate account of the founding of the United States.
While the series is written for adult readers, it is also appropriate for students from middle school through college age. The books of the American Patriot Series will engage students and bring history alive in a way that non-fiction texts cannot.
At the time of the Revolution the American colonies were already a melting pot of racial, ethnic, and religious groups. The American Patriot Series accurately depicts this diversity by portraying the involvement of women, African Americans, Native Americans, and other groups in the struggle for independence.
The American Revolution and the establishment of the United States are based solidly in the Christian faith of our founding generation, as innumerable primary resources document. It is therefore appropriate for the American Patriot Series to reflect those crucial aspects of our nation's founding by accurately depicting the beliefs and values of those who sacrificed their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to bring this nation to birth.