Ainslie Paton romance author

The Series Dilemma

Lean closer, that’s it. I have a confession to make.

I’ve never written a series before.

I know, I know, readers love them. They love the fact you can connect with characters and settings for longer than a single novel. They love the ability to visit with favourite characters as a series progresses.

Heck, I love a good series, the familiarity, the comfort of knowing you’ll have a good time, the enriched experience of connecting stories up to make a whole world.

But I’m a contemporary single title romance writer. A pure single title writer. No deliberate series bait characters, no cosy small town settings, no extended families or plot lines that might need more than one book to explore. I might spin out the occasional novella, but series – shudder.

I write workplaces romances. I write about characters who want things that are hard to achieve or who find themselves with difficult choices. I’ve written a female rockstar, Getting Real, a male nanny, Unsuitable, a taciturn geek, Insecure.

I wrote an undercover cop who’d forgotten how to be himself and teamed him with a female chauffeur who was secretly on the run. Floored. I wrote a journalist whose story got a businessman arrested, Detained, and a heroine who fell in love with the homeless man she was responsible for re-housing, Inconsolable (coming in August).

But a series—was I brave enough?

I mean a series needs a truly great concept; it needs an idea big enough to hold attention, to make a reader want to come back for more, to pay good money for a second, third, book.

Who wouldn’t be scared of that?

Except every other author who writes series, right? Which is like, oh so many of them.

The way I saw it, I had to pull my big girl pants up and get on with it. I drew up a list of things my first series should have:

  1. An engaging and unique world
  2. A hero with a moral dilemma
  3. A successful heroine who was unhappy with her life
  4. A big idea for a plot

That shouldn’t be a problem. ARE YOU KIDDING? It was a problem. I felt like the world had all the series it could possibly handle.  A choice vast in style, length, heat level and sub-genre that lined up end to end would reach the moon. (I’m a writer, excuse the hyperbole).

I needed a big idea.  BIG.

And I might be a fraidypants, but I’m not a quitter. I wrote my first series. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s called The Bliss King. It’s a five book contemporary Gothic romance with a captivity theme. It has cliff hangers. It’s first person alternative point of view.  It’s set in the wilds of New York City and a remote jungle in Asia.

It’s a little dark and surprisingly funny.  It’s about a drug lord with a huge moral dilemma and a desire to change the world, and the ghostwriter he kidnaps to help him.

The Bliss King is the story of secrets, innocence, pleasure, wealth, corruption, and lashings of moral ambiguity.

The whole series is available from July 1, but Captive, Stolen and Lost are available now.

Confession over.  I feel so much better.

Hello, what are you thinking?

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