To write a series or not write a series, that is the question. There are pros and cons of series books, but I think the pros outnumber the cons, which is why I decided to write one. I wanted to create a series where each book could be a stand-alone story as well as being linked to the others, and I thought what better way to do this than to set each book in the same town?
Books linked by the setting have unlimited possibilities for characters and stories. Although series’ containing the same main characters in each book are great too, they do have some limitations… Because character development is an important part of any story, there is only so far you can go with the same characters, and there is a risk of it becoming monotonous and predictable. I wanted a series that could allow many different stories to develop and for new characters to be created. And so my Tarrin’s Bay series was born.
Another benefit of a setting-based series is that the setting can become like a character in itself, a familiar friend with its own appearance, personality, and behaviour. Tarrin’s Bay is a small Australian coastal town, known as the Town of New Beginnings, and I wanted to create an idyllic, beautiful town that people find hard to leave; one that always feels like home. Tarrin’s Bay has the beach, quaint shops, community atmosphere, a park with a wishing fountain, a late night cafe with live music, walking tracks, and even small farms and rolling green hills. I based it on where I live on the NSW south coast, and started writing the first book, The January Wish, as soon as I moved here. It can be fun to see the same landmarks and locations in each book but with new characters interacting with the setting and new stories evolving.
Something rewarding about reading and writing books set in the same place is that characters from previous books can reappear in future books. Even if they don’t get a chance to be main characters again, readers get to experience a glimpse of how their lives are down the track, long after their main story ended. In the second book of the Tarrin’s Bay series, February or Forever, there is a brand new story with new characters which means you don’t have to have read The January Wish first to enjoy it, as there aren’t any spoilers. But because of the recurring setting, there will of course be the reappearance of some characters who are town locals.
There are several authors who have explored the benefits of writing setting-based series’, including; Susan Mallery with her Fools Gold series, Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series, Susan Wiggs Lakeshore Chronicles, and Sheryl Woods with her many books including the Chesapeake Shores series.
Do you have a favourite setting-based series?
> Until the end of January I’m giving away a beautiful photographic print of the setting of my series, as well as a $25 Amazon gift card. Open worldwide. To win, enter the rafflecopter giveaway here: