Romance: it comes in single servings...or multi-packs.
by Jeaniene Frost

I'll be the first to admit it--I'm unfaithful.

Before anyone calls my husband, I'm talking about genres. Romance is my first love, but I'll spend evenings with urban fantasy, mystery, and horror novels, too. Yes, call me shameless.

I'm also an avid series reader. I love to follow the same hero/heroine through several novels, watching them change, grow, be challenged, and ultimately, be triumphant at the series' conclusion.

So it's probably no wonder that the books I write would be romance blended with a hefty dose of urban fantasy, a touch of mystery, and even a little dash of horror. Plus, I write a series featuring the same heroine and hero throughout several books.

But wait, somebody says. I didn't know romances could extend beyond one book with the same hero/heroine. Doesn't that break the happily-ever-after rule that the majority of romance readers expect?

I can't speak for every series that's ever been written in romance, but for my own, no, it doesn't. I will deliver a happily-ever-after for my hero/heroine. Guaranteed. But it's just going to take more than one book to tell their story.

The staple of romance is the stand-alone novel, where a hero/heroine have their happily ever at the end of one book, and then aren't seen again. Or, there are novels where the series is set in the same "world", so that same hero/heroine can appear later as secondary characters, but a new hero/heroine takes center stage in each book.

Some authors with popular "same world" series are JR Ward's BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD novels, or Sherrilyn Kenyon's DARK-HUNTER novels. I love stand-alone's and same-world series books, too.

Still, as a reader and a writer, I have to confess that I most enjoy following the same hero/heroine throughout several books. There are lots of recurring hero/heroine series novels outside romance's walls, but, with those, I can't count on a happy romantic resolution for the hero/heroine, because, outside romance, a happy resolution isn't an imperative.

So anything could happen, which is part of the excitement for me as a reader, but sometimes, I want to know in advance that everything will work out for the couple in the end. This is where a romance series with a recurring hero/heroine can offer readers something they won't necessarily find outside the genre--the chance to delve into the same characters over multiple books, but still get that guaranteed happy resolution.

I don't claim to have blazed any trails with my books. One of the first series' romances with a recurring heroine I read was in the eighties, with Bertrice Small's SKYE O'MALLEY books. Today, Mary Janice Davidson's QUEEN BETSY series is very popular. So is Katie MacAlister's AISLING GREY, GUARDIAN series, and Colleen Gleason's GARDELLA VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, just to name a few.

My NIGHT HUNTRESS series has received more enthusiasm from readers than I ever expected. The coolest part of being a writer has been when readers tell me they can't wait to see what happens next with Cat and Bones in my series.

So, while stand-alone's will always be the mainstay in romance, readers have shown that there's also room in the genre for series' novels with a recurring hero/heroine. For readers like me, who enjoy delving into the same characters over multiple books, but who still want that guaranteed ultimate happy resolution, there are books available without having to leave the romance section of the store.

Jeaniene Frost

17 Comments:

Anonymous Libby said:

I am so happy that more series romances are being published! I love the ups and downs a series allows. I can still remember the shock I felt at the end of Katie MacAlister's first Aisling Grey novel, when Aisling and Drake didn't have a HEA. At first I felt sort of betrayed. I wondered if pages had been left out, and sort of panicked. I even read the last chapter a few times to see if I'd missed anything LOL.

But you know what? Since I read that one, it completely changed how I read romance, and now I am a die-hard for the series romance (especially urban fantasy). I think the adrenaline rush I get from the uncertainty and the "anything goes" setting is so refreshing, and I don't mind at all that I may have to wait several books for a resolution.

Thanks for the great topic, Jeanine!

3:51 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Libby, I love the GUARDIAN novels, too. I think MacAlister does a great job keeping up the tension - and fun - between Aisling and Drake.

If you haven't read the other romance series authors I listed (Colleen Gleason, Mary Janice Davidson), you may want to check them out, too. Good stuff!

6:33 PM  

Blogger Ang said:

I love serial romances. When I read a book, I'm usually pretty invested in the characters and being able to visit them again and again through different adventures is one of the reasons I have so many books in my house.

I was so happy to see that you've got five books listed for the Night Huntress Series - more adventures with the half dead and the fully dead.

7:15 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Ang, yes, I love writing about the half-dead and the fully dead :).

Yay for fellow serial romance readers!

6:49 AM  

Anonymous Tanya said:

I'm a series girl all the way! It's like catching up with old friends! I'm waiting for your next book! Along with Mark Henry and of course Sherrilyn Kenyon. I just started Mary Janice Davidson. Loving it! Thankfully, there are enough wonderful writers such as yourself, to keep us entertained in a way that TV and movies will never be able to do!!

7:09 AM  

Blogger AriesRain said:

Tanya, I completely agree that it is like catching up with old friends! That is a great way to put it.

I am a series person as well. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches series is what got me hooked on series books. I loved being able to follow the characters and watch them grow and change (Anne Rice gets a little… wordy, but I ignored it for the sake of knowing more). I am very pleased to see that more authors like Jeaniene Frost, George RR Martin, Kresley Cole, Kathryn Smith, and others are creating series with their characters. It just makes me giddy when a new edition in a series that I love hits the bookstore.

10:18 AM  

Blogger lotts said:

I like series books; if you fall in love with a set of characters, don't you usually wonder what happens; even after the "HEA"? I do. I fell in love with Marion Zimmer-Bradley's "Darkover" series years and years ago and as far as Romance writers, I also am totally committed to the J.D. Robb books by Nora Roberts; that's a big dose of mystery, action and romance all in one. So, I'm all for it; I really love the characters created in "Halfway to the Grave" et all and I imagine even after book #5 or 6, I will still be saying.. "okay, but what about??? "

11:28 AM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Tanya, yes, the "old friends" analogy is perfect!

I loved Rice's MAYFAIR WITCHES series. Never read Rice's vampires, believe it or not. Love Kathryn Smith's books, and but haven't tried Kresley Cole's books yet (I hear great things about them, though).

12:22 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Lotts, may there be more readers with your opinion about my series :)

12:24 PM  

Blogger Kim said:

I love the Aisling grey novels too. They crack me up in a schadenfreude way. I'll read a series before a single novel any day! I want a good story to be more than just a one night stand. I love watching characters grow and develop over time. It makes it that much more real. Have any of you read Dara Joy's "Wheel of Destiny" series? They're fantastic!

3:28 PM  

Blogger Terra57 said:

I have to agree that romance series are the way to go even though I do like the single book romance every now and then to break things up. Unfortunately with the single book romances is that if the author hasn't taken care of every single little thing in the story it can get frustrating.
I really like the way the series go on like it's a primetime series (aka. Lost). The series is just spread out more over years instead of weeks but it's basically the same. Only problem there is you need to have patience and Goddess knows there are times when I don't.

Jeaniene, yesterday I finally read One Foot in the Grave and yes I was a glutton and read it all in one day. I loved it. I especially loved the twist you did at the end because it could give you another whole storyline to dabble in. Can't wait for the next one. Drool! Kudo's to you for a fantastic series sweetie.

4:08 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Kim, I still love stand-alone's (call me a one-night-stand girl ;) but there's something about getting involved in a good series that just really floats my boat.

Haven't read Dara Joy. Another name to add to the TBR pile!

6:23 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Hi Terry57, so glad you liked OFITG! I'm working on polishing the third book in the series right now.

6:25 PM  

Blogger Barbara said:

I agree, I love a good series, whether it is with the same characters or with secondary characters that are given their own story. The expansion of the background "world" really adds to the enjoyment of the stories.

7:41 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Barbara, I agree, being about to explore more of the world is half the fun. I'm greedy that way, I want to know MORE, lol.

9:27 AM  

Blogger April said:

This looks so interesting. I love the cover. Thanks for sharing.

5:40 PM  

Blogger Book Calendar said:

I like when authors cross genres. A horror romance might be quite interesting. It is very hard for a really good author to not diversify their writing a little bit.

For example Elizabeth Lowell wrote as Ann Maxwell. One of my favorite books ever written is the science fiction romance, Name of a Shsdow written by her.

Also, Marion Zimmer Bradley started out writing gothic romances then switched to her Darkover novels. There is a touche of romance in them.

I think I might try out One Foot In the Grave. It looks interesting.

9:21 AM  

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