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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Kara Lynn Russell

Weaving Common Threads Through a Series
A series can be a set of stories that have as little in common as a setting, like Kasey Michaels alliterative Regency romances (The Tenacious Miss Tamerlane, The Anonymous Miss Adams, etc.). All are romances set in the Regency time period and have alliterative titles but have little else in common. Many series, like the Nancy Drew books so many of us remember fondly from our childhoods, may have the same set of characters and the same plot types but anyone can pick one up from any place in the series and have an enjoyable read. There is no character development and the plots are completely separate.
Then there are ones like the Harry Potter series. The central characters pretty much remain the same throughout but the plot of each sequel builds on that of the book or books that came before. And the Harry Potter of The Sorcerer’s Stone is very different from the Harry Potter of The Deathly Hallows. The characters change and grow along the way.
Different series have different common elements that will determine how closely the books are tied together.
The Orchard Hill stories stand fairly well on their own, but there is a thread of plot that flows throughout the series.
The series started with a location - a  small town much like my own.
Then I had a thought. Holiday stories are always fun. Why don’t I set each story around a holiday? The series takes place over one year’s time, with each story revolving around a holiday,from New Year’s to Christmas.
I started playing around with titles and found a pattern in the titles that I liked. It seems like titles should come last, or at least after the plot is constructed but for me, titles often come first. They inspire me to find a plot that fits them.
So I found my titles: Saving Gracie, Entertaining Angel, Considering Lily, Keeping Faith, Enduring Hope, Accepting Charity, Disrupting Harmony, Losing Patience and Finding Joy.
But it wasn’t until I met Pansy and Misty that the series really began to come together. Pansy and Misty are the matchmakers that decide to see who can make the most matches in a year’s time. It is the thread of their story that weaves through all the installments and ties the stories together, while also keeping each story separate.
I’ll talk more about Pansy and Misty and story arcs tomorrow. For more information on Orchard Hill please visit my website:

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