Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Diamonds & Duds of Dynamic Duo Series Writing

Are you a series reader? What I mean is, do you like reading book series?

I LOVE writing series!! I know it’s not for every writer just like it may not be for every reader. But, boy, oh boy, I can’t seem to NOT think in series. When I start a first book (and think it’s going to be a stand-alone) my brain immediately starts zooming in on these secondary characters to see who is going to be next 😉

Series writing is a norm for me.


Until, I was asked to write a series where the hero and heroine stayed the SAME in each book!!!

What?? (Erica can chime in here too. She’s doing the same thing with her Thorndyke and Swann series)

I’m a romance writer! The romance is the driving force in most of my fiction, so how on earth could I keep the “spark” alive for characters who’ve already been romanced in book 1 to carry through books 2 and 3??

Have you tried writing a series like that before? Do you like reading them?

As I’ve been learning how to make this type of series work, I’ve been finding a few “diamonds” and “duds” in the writing process.

Diamond: I don’t have to leave characters that I’ve loved writing! I get to follow them into the next part of their story!!

Dud: Um…what is supposed to happen next? Most of my stories end with an implied happily-ever-after, but what happens after the ever after? I have to figure that out?!!

Diamond: I get to spend more time with characters I have ADORED writing! They’re such fun!

Dud: I must figure out how to keep growing their characters/relationship far longer than I usually have to do! (Not an easy feat, my friends).

Diamond: romance and more romance – This hero and heroine are just chock-full of fun romance and humor. It’s a blast to spend time with them.

Dud: But , whereas, romance was the driving force in book 1, it’s not the focal point of the other books so now I have to learn to share that spotlight with another story purpose. I’m choosing mystery (which has been fun) but it requires a new learning curve.

Anyone ever been here before? If you’ve written a series where the main characters continue to be the main characters throughout, I’d LOVE to hear from you. What diamonds and duds did you discover?

AND, for fun, I’m giving away a paper copy of The Cairo Curse to a commenter below (U.S. entries only).   


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. Her 20th book came out in February 2023. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is a wife, mom to five great kids, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her dual timeline novel, Hope Between the Pages, was a 2022 finalist for the prestigious Christy awards. Pepper loves connecting with readers and other authors through social media outlets like Facebook & Instagram.

You can learn more about Pepper and her books on her website at www.pepperdbasham.com


  1. I am looking so forward to The Cairo Curse & The Juliet Code! My series will have changing main characters except 2 & 3, she will be the same. Interesting duds you brought up. I will be considering those as I write. I love your writing - they will be amazing books!!

  2. Pepper, I love your covers! Some suspense mainstream authors keep the same hero and heroine, but I know it must be a challenge. The main conflict is often resolved in Book 1 with new problems arising in the later books, as you mentioned. However, sometimes there's an overarching secret or bigger hurdle that can't be resolved until the end of the series. Good for you--you're stretching and growing, no doubt! Can't wait to see how you make all the books fit together.

  3. So strange. Yesterday, my comments never appeared. I feared the same would happen today, but it looks like blogger is accepting me today. Thankfully!

  4. Writing a romance spread over three books was such a challenge! And yet, here I am embarking on another three book series where the hero and heroine are the same throughout the series. Eeep! Grace and Freddie have made quite the splash, and I can't wait to read The Cairo Curse!

  5. Pepper, I've read (and loved) TMC and TCC and am so anxious to read The Juliet Code. Thanks for writing such great books!

  6. I don't mean to be anonymous. Jackie Smith jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

  7. I've read a few series where the main characters are the same in each book, but it's been a long time. Sometimes I would like the characters to stay the same, because I miss them in the following books in the series if I really like them!

  8. I would think it would be having the main characters the same especially for this reason: Dud: I must figure out how to keep growing their characters/relationship far longer than I usually have to do!- I could not imagine trying to come up with what to do with them. Will be fun to see what you do!

  9. Your series looks great! Just the right blend of mystery, adventure, and romance. :-)

    I'm in the middle of a multi-book cozy mystery series, and I'm facing the same dilemma of how to let the characters continue to grow - but not too much - in each installment of the series. I saw that potential difficulty before I started writing the first book, so I have been able to insert teasers into each of the books so far. Book three will address one of those teasers, so I'm looking forward to writing it!

    Congratulations on your continued success, and I can't wait to read The Cairo Curse!

  10. Pepper, I loved The Mistletoe Countess so I am looking forward to the others. Please put me in the drawing. I love series and I enjoy the ones with recurring main characters.

  11. Thanks for sharing valuable information & love to hear more from you soon!

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  12. I love series, but I can see how difficult writing conflict, ripens, goals, etc would be. I haven't had a chance to read the first one yet, but I'm sure you've done a great job!

  13. I've enjoyed Freddie & Grace's courtship and adventures so I'm glad that there's a third book ahead. I'm sure it's hard to keep it fresh but I just keep thinking about the Thin Man movies. I adore the older classic movies and I loved the adventures of this detective couple. They managed to keep us involved and guessing and I believe you can do the same! Blessings!


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