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Connecting characters with Cynthia Eden

immortal-danger2

Connecting Characters

Hi, everyone!  Greta-thank you so much for having me over at your blog today. I am very happy to be here!

For my blog topic, I’m going to talk about connecting characters (and it is fun to connect them!).   My first two novel-length books for Kensington Brava contained connected storylines (and, of course, linked characters).  HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT and MIDNIGHT SINS are both part of my Midnight trilogy, and in these stories,  the characters from the two stories cross-over in the books. .  My monster doctor (from HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT) and her demon shifter lover are the secondary characters in MIDNIGHT SINS.  Hey, if there is a paranormal killer on the loose, the monster doctor won’t be far away! 

Sometimes, it is easy to connect characters-it’s particularly easy if you’re writing a series during a close timeframe and the characters all play important sub-roles in the stories. For example, in my Midnight trilogy, readers were introduced to the demon Niol in my first book. A dark, very dangerous guy-Niol appears again to tempt folks in MIDNIGHT SINS. His appearance links the books and sets up Niol for his own story, MIDNIGHT’S MASTER (a book due out in July of 09).

But other books…well, the character link isn’t as direct.  My next release is IMMORTAL DANGER, a paranormal novel that is set in the same “world” as my Midnight books, but this story focuses on different characters.  Characters who haven’t been in the Midnight books because these folks are far, far away from Atlanta.  In the case of IMMORTAL DANGER,  the link  is the world building. The paranormal rules that the characters must follow. Like the cast from my Midnight books, the hero and heroine of IMMORTAL DANGER live in a world full of shadows and death.  Magic is possible, death is likely, and if you’re weak, you’re expendable. 

My heroine, Maya Black, is a vampire. She’s strong, she’s tough, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone.  While Maya has never made an appearance in one of my novels, if you happened to read  my novella “Wicked Ways” in WHEN HE WAS BAD, then you’ve seen a snippet about Maya.  🙂  She was mentioned by another character in that story.  You see, Maya Black was the human cop turned vampire-the woman who now hunts her own kind. Actually, she hunts any kind that gets in her way. 

Was mentioning Maya in this novella deliberate?  Well, it was a small mention, but it was definitely intentional.  Because at that point, my vampires were generally very evil. Emotionless.  Perfect predators.  And since I am an equal opportunity paranormal woman, I wanted to let readers know that they wouldn’t just be getting one-dimensional evil vampires from me. There would be another vampire out there, and Maya, well, she’d be different.

So…there was a method to my madness! LOL.

Authors often include subtle character connections in books, and not-so-subtle (usually in trilogies) links, too. 

How do you feel about connected storylines?  Do you love ’em? Hate ’em? Why?

Greta, again, thank you for inviting me to your blog! And thanks for letting me chat about connecting characters!

Cynthia Eden

http://www.cynthiaeden.com/

IMMORTAL DANGER-03/31/09 from Kensington Brava

Believe in monsters. They believe in you. 

***Leave a comment one lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of IMMORTAL DANGER. Winner will be announced tomorrow.*** 

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36 Responses

  1. *Hi Cynthia – waving*

    I love connected worldbuilding storylines, it means you can read the next books understanding the ‘rules’ that were laid down in the first and just absorb the new layers that are added. Gives a lot of depth to the story. The first book can sometimes be a little hard to grasp/remember all the different rules and I worry that there will be a test at the end!! Lol.

    As for connected characters – love them too. Tis always nice to be intrigued by a secondary character in a book and then find out that they are going to get their own – Niol is a great example of that and it also brings up the question of ‘how will he be redeemed’ cos he was such a badass in the first 2 books!

    Can I ask did you always have plans to write Niol’s story right from the start? And if not, when did you realise that he was going to get his own book and did you make any subtle alterations to his character/background in the preceeding books to line him up for his story?

    Oh and one more thing about connected stories – I like a beginning, a middle and an END – always enjoy and remember a strong series that goes out on a high, instead of meandering on and on over years . . . . jmho. 😀

  2. Hi Cynthia!

    I do enjoy connected storylines / series books. I really like it when authors introduce new characters into sub-plots in a book and then write them into a sequel.

    Great post!

    All the best to you. 🙂

  3. Morning Cynthia 🙂

    Great interview! I love series books for the simple fact that I feel connected from one book to the next because of the characters. Even though they aren’t the main characters in the next story they are still around. You get a feel of what is going on in their lives since their story was told. They remain in the “picture” so to speak.

    Now I also dread series books just because I get so into the series and then have to wait months before the next book comes out.

    Can’t wait till next Tuesday!!!!!! 🙂

  4. Hi, Greta! Thank you so much for inviting me to guest blog today! 🙂

    Hey, Willa! You’ve got such great points about connected stories! And I agree with you– I really like it when the series ends on a high (without going on for too long). Ah, now let’s see…Niol. When I began Hotter After Midnight, I did not intend for Niol to ever have a book. Actually, I thought I’d make him the villain during my first draft. But, I started to like him so I changed things up a bit. Then, after Hotter After Midnight sold to Kensington, I realized I could do a trilogy. I did try to add more details about Niol in Midnight Sins, but, ahem, well, he still wasn’t the best man by the end of the book.
    Is he redeemed enough in Midnight’s Master? I hope so! I don’t think Niol’s character will ever be 100% good, though, and I tried to show that. But, he isn’t all bad either. 🙂

    Hey, Lea! Glad to hear that you enjoy the connected stories! I’m working on two more such groups of stories now–one a paranormal bounty hunter series and one is a romantic suspense connection. So, I really, REALLY like hearing that folks enjoy the connected tales, LOL.

    Good morning, Michele! I like finding out what is happening with characters in follow-up books, too–thank you so much for mentioning that! One of the (many) reasons I like Christine Feehan’s stories is because I like to read the character updates and see what is happening with the heroes and heroines I liked in follow-up books.

    And I do understand the dread wait in between books. After I read one series book that is so good–I immediately want the next one! I am so bad at waiting!

    Thanks for the comments!!

  5. Hi Cynthia. I like connected story lines. I like it when a character who is introduced in the first book gets his/her own story.

  6. Hi Cynthia! I really like the connected story line books because I believe it gives the author great follow up story ideas for the world they have created. They also provide answers to the readers, about other characters mentioned in said books. I would LUV t o get my hands on Immortal Danger ( and we won’t mention Midnight’s Master )! Have a great Monday everyone.

  7. I enjoy connected stories and world building. I can’t tell you how many Pern books by Anne McCaffrey I’ve read. It’s nice to catch a glimpse of the characters again and see how they’re doing. In paranormal, they’re more likely to have something to do with the plot, and not just showing them at a house party with their children, like many historicals do.

  8. Looks yummy!

  9. Enjoyed your post today. I enjoy connected characters and series, sometimes when you finish a read you hope to get more and these are great ways to continue a series or ongoing charcters. I have several series that I can’t wait for the next releases to come out.

  10. I like connected storylines. It’s like visiting old friends.

  11. Hello, Greta and Ms Eden!

    Personally I enjoy books set in the same universe even if they are not necessarily interconnected–the occasional character mention, or even reference to an big enough event that affects the ‘universe’ the writer has created.

    Best of luck with the release!

  12. I love connected story lines, because when you crack that book it’s like visiting friends. Also you are already familiar with the world developed by the author so you just fall into the book and enjoy your visit.

  13. Hi, Crystal! I like that, too. It’s fun to see what happens to folks in later books.

    Hey, Barb! Such a good point–thank you! Writers do get the chance to expand on their world more in the follow-up books.
    And I hope you have a great Monday, too! 🙂

    Hi, Edie! I love to read a series and have the chance to check back in with characters–I’m always interested in seeing the twists they take!

    Thanks, Munk!

    Glad you enjoyed the post, Teresa! I’ve got a series list going, too. The next one I want? Larissa Ione’s upcoming Demonica book!

    Hey, quiltingreader! That is such a good description (“visiting old friends”).

    Morning, azteclady! Glad you like the same universe stories. I think Jayne Ann Krentz (well, her ego Jayne Castle) is really good at doing those types of stories. Thanks for the good luck wishes!

    Hi, Lisa! Falling back into a world that a writer has created is one of my favorite reading pleasures. So much fun!

    Thanks for the comments!

  14. Hi, Cynthia! I tend to like connected stories and related characters–in general, I enjoy revisiting places and people I already know and like. And I love when a character that I’ve “met” gets his/her own story later–always cool! That said, I do prefer a series where each title focuses on a different couple and can be a stand-alone: I have a hard time with those on-going stories, where the arcs continue from book to book. I’m tremendously impatient and I really like closure. The mentions in later books give me a chance to see beyond the HEA, but I don’t like not knowing if there will be an HEA and I’m not sure I could stand to keep going if that were left hanging. Congrats on Immortal Danger!

  15. Hi Cynthia,
    I love stories that connect characters. I love that you can re-visit characters from other stories and see what happens after they get their HEA.

  16. Hi Cynthia~

    I love connected stories. I enjoy revisiting characters that I have met in past stories and seeing those secondary characters that I loved in one story getting their own. For me, it is a kind of a selling point to find out that a book is part of a series…although, I do have to read in order.

    Your paranormal bounty hunter series definitely grabbed my attention…looking forward to more details on that.

    I am really looking forward to the release of Immortal Danger! Have a great day.

  17. Great interview Cynthia!!!!

    I love them!! I get so caught up in their lives, in the moment, in that time with them. I would love it if they made more movies based off connected stories. One of my favorite connected series was the Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas and how I saw the characters continue to grow throughout the series.

  18. Hi, Fedora! Thanks for the congrats and for giving me your take on the series. I like the different couples in the books, too (though I am addicted to Eve and Roarke from the In Death books–can’t ever turn them away!).

    Hey, Randi! How are you? Re-visiting characters can be so much fun. I just finished a rough draft and I’m planning to do some re-visiting reading today..

    Hi, Lori! I hope you’re having a great day, too! So far, I’ve written two books about the paranormal bounty hunters–both will be out next year. After I write one more RS story, I’ll get to work on the last bounty hunter one. I think the heroine in that one will be a fire-starter. I just wrote about a fire-fighter, and now I am so ready for a fire-starter!!

    Thanks, Angela! I haven’t read the Wallflower series, but I do enjoy Lisa Kleypas stories–I’d better check that out!

  19. I also love series that connect characters. 1- cuz the whole thing just keeps on going, but because u get a view of everyone u meet. I feel soo god when a book comes out and a character comes in saying something that happened last book. I’m always like I NO U!! lol. I agree with some people up there who talked about movies like that. Some movies get so boring about one person, but all them! Would be awesome

  20. HI Cynthia. Another who likes connected stories, especially when there is that secondary character who stands out you just want to know more about. In the paranormals, I like knowing more about what’s happening in the world, even if it veers off to a new, but connected series, and introduces new characters. I even don’t mind not having a final HEA but the promise of one developing and to come, along with a plot that carries over from book to book, as you find in a lot of urban fantasy, keeps things interesting.

  21. I love them. I love the continuation. I love that I get to learn more about the characters. Often you get to see them grow. Connections are fantastic!
    I am definitely adding these all to my TBB list! 😀

  22. I love connecting characters! I first encountered them in Charles de Lint’s Newford books – it’s so fun to have a book about someone else, yet Jilly’s waiting on them at the cafe or they go to Sophie’s opening at a gallery. It makes me feel connected, too.

  23. Hi Cynthia,
    I like connected storylines. Instead of feeling sad that the book is over, I can look forward to the next one!

  24. Hi Cynthia, I have tons of series that I enjoy reading, and really love connected storylines. When I get to the end of a great story, I love that I can revisit that world in subsequent storylines. Getting a chance to get updates on favorite characters, while I meet new ones, is always a bonus.

  25. This looks like a great book! I like connecting stories. It’s nice because you get character updates and get a glimpse of life after the HEA. I also like stories set in the same world, even if it doesn’t mention all the characters from previous books (like the Jayne Castle Harmony series). It’s nice to have a world that can hold up to a variety of stories from a variety of characters, even if they don’t all know each other.

  26. I love connected books and storylines. I become attached to the characters that I read about and always want to know more about them. It is nice to revisit the characters and settings of books that I loved. I always want to know what will happen next. Sometimes I feel disappointed when I finish reading a book that I know is a stand alone because all of the characters’ stories were not wrapped up.

  27. I love connected storylines and series. I always want to know what happens after the books I finish and what is really up with those secondary characters.

  28. Hi, Taylor! LOL, I like feeling that I know the characters in the subsequent books, too.

    Hey, Pam! 🙂 You do seem to see a lot of that in urban fantasy, don’t you? I sure do like my happy endings, so, like you, I do like to at least have the promise of one.

    Natasha, I am so glad to hear you love them! I was really curious about everyone’s opinion on the connected stories.

    Christ, I think that connection is so important–it seems to tune in readers to the stories faster.

    Hi, Chey! That’s the way I feel, too! Give me another story, please!

    Hey, Cathy! How are you? See, I’m all about the bonus. 🙂

    Thanks, Lisa! Oh, the Jayne Castle Harmony books…you just named one of my favorites! Love those–I just re-read Dark Light.

    Lori Ann, I often wonder about characters, too. Or, sometimes, a character in a book just stands out so much that I want him or her to have a really good spin-off.

    Hope everyone is having a great evening!

  29. I like subtle mentions of characters from other stories. They don’t have to be in every story, every time. One exception where they seem to flow seamlessly into and out of each storyline is Shelly Laurenston’s shifter series. They’re all relatives and friends and co-workers, so it’s organix that they’re all around.

  30. This book sounds right up my alley! Please enter me!

  31. love interconnected books. And would love to win this one.

  32. I love connected stories. Immortal Danger sounds great!

  33. Hi Cynthia,
    I do enjoy connected storylines. I especially like revisiting with characters from previous books.

  34. Hi, Laura! I love those subtle, sneaky mentions. 🙂

    Thanks, Andrea!

    Hey, Pamk! Glad you like the interconnected books!

    Hi, Amy! Thank you!

  35. Connected story lines are my alltime favorites. I love getting attatched to characters and reading about them in more then 1 book. I am always sad when a book ends because I fall in love with the characters and dont want to say goodbye. Your books sounds fabulous and I would love to read this trilogy.

  36. Add me to the long list of those who love connected characters, plot/story-lines and worlds that are big enough to hold them all without breaking that universe’s rules. I admire an author who can craft such a place, and keep it clear and alive in his/her mind and ours without beating the details to death with words.

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