There are different ways to introduce a series.
When it comes to Charlie Rhodes, I realized I wanted to do it in the witch world for a very important reason: Location.
The hardest part of introducing a new series is to get readers to care about the characters. By introducing Charlie via the witches, I was able to anchor her in a unique way. She got to know characters readers already knew but managed to almost bond, in a way, with readers because she loved the witches, too.
Most people seemed to like the introduction, but a few didn’t. They wanted it to be all about the new characters. I get that. I understand the complaint. I felt that Charlie, Jack and Millie were the most important characters to start with but the rest of the characters will be fleshed out more in subsequent books. The second book, for example, will not involve any crossovers and will focus solely on the new characters.
However, the Winchesters were a nice cushion for Charlie to land on for the first case out in her new world. There will be other crossovers in Charlie’s world (not in the second book, but down the line) but the witches were the natural fit for the world for the first book.
Now, by contrast, I have another new series in development. Before anyone asks, it won’t debut this year. It’s very early on and I’m mostly working on world building (by hand in a notebook). It’s also a series that will allow a lot of crossovers (no hints because I don’t want anyone to steal the idea before I’m ready to debut it). This series will not open with a crossover. Why? Location.
The location in the second new series will be stationary and involve characters going to that location for a very specific reason. I’m sorry for the vague blogging but I honestly don’t want anyone stealing the idea, which is something that sadly happens from time to time.
Charlie Rhodes does not have a stationary location. Sure, we’ll see her in the main office from time to time, but her world is a moving target. She’ll be traveling all over the country with her trusty band of misfits. When creating an ongoing location, it’s almost another character. Charlie won’t have the benefit of that stationary location.
Now, when you look at my other series, most of them have very important locations. Hemlock Cove, Shadow Lake, Whisper Cove, Blackstone Bay, Covenant College, etc., they all have a personality of their own. Avery Shaw and Aisling Grimlock live in a real place, which allows for a different sort of story building. Sometimes that’s easier but, frankly, sometimes it’s harder. Avery also lives in the “real” world so there’s no hope of crossover for her. She lives in a non-magical world. Aisling lives in the real world but she can cross to a magical one, so she’s different.
That brings us to Mystic Caravan Circus. Now, they do move around (much like Charlie Rhodes) and have a different location each book. However, they set up their own camp (which is really kind of like a small town) whenever they get to a location. So, even though the part of the country is different, the set up and people are the same. The circus itself is kind of a set location even though you get to enjoy the fun of checking out a new set of fairgrounds each go around.
Charlie doesn’t have a set camp. She will have the same people around her (and a new set of people to interact with because I need suspects, after all) but she doesn’t have a home location to anchor her. That’s why I believe launching her story in Hemlock Cove was important.
Now, as for the crossovers, they will happen. That doesn’t mean they’re always going to happen or that the crossover characters will be as widely featured as the witches were in Charlie’s story. I have ideas for crossing my Covenant characters over to the Mystic Caravan Circus for a book as well as Charlie’s world at a certain point. The grim reapers will definitely cross over to the unnamed series at some point. It’s not going to be something that happens in every book but it will be something that happens if they fit a certain story.
So, that’s it. I hope you liked Charlie and when it’s closer (and safer) to talk about the new series when it debuts next year I will definitely do it. For now, though, I won’t be answering stories about that one.
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail.