A while back, I was asked how I came up with the main character in my mystery series. I explained I originally got my inspiration to write a mystery novel with an academic librarian as amateur sleuth during the time of my library studies at Rutgers University. Completing my MLS degree, I was required to attend symposiums. One speaker was a Princeton University librarian who spoke about inferno collections. His lecture was so fascinating and vivid that I was inspired to do further research. I became convinced the concept of inferno collections would be an excellent frame for a mystery novel and discovered that no one else had written anything similar. (Briefly, inferno collections are banned books considered inappropriate for public display and reading. Often these were books deemed salacious and kept separate or hidden in libraries under lock and key).
My novel THE INFERNO COLLECTION was the first in the Kim Reynolds series. It was published in hardcover by Five Star/Gale, who published two more of the novels in the days when they did mystery fiction. All three of the books received fine reviews. They were also picked up by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery for paperback editions and distribution.
Kim Reynolds isn’t me. She’s a creation of my imagination, as are the other characters in the series. There are now five mystery novels with Kim as the main protagonist. The fifth novel, BLOOD FAMILY, was released by Encircle and has also garnered good reviews.
I also created a series of short stories which feature Tom Atkins, a young attorney who ends up solving murder cases. He has been featured exclusively in SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE. (The current issue has a Tom Atkins mystery story.) The Sweethearts Detective Agency series has appeared in several different mystery magazines and anthologies as well and will continue.
Should writers consider creating series characters? I’d say yes. If readers respond well to the initial book or story, it’s something worth continuing and developing further. Word of mouth and good reviews carry over for continued books in a series or short fiction. (Witness the success of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among a multitude of others)
What series do you particularly enjoy reading or writing? Why? Your thoughts and comments welcome here!