Monday, 2 November 2015

Head Hopping Through a Series by Deanna Dee

Romance is all about groups of people. There are the brothers, the girl band, the sports teams, etc. Books in a series focus on each of the members of these groups finding their HEA. It’s great to meet a bunch of people in book one and, by the final book, know everyone inside out. Talk about becoming part of a literary family. Suddenly, you find yourself at the center of friend or family drama that isn’t even yours. It can be a difficult thing to manage, but it can also be a lot of fun.

So what’s fun about it from the author’s perspective? Many things. One is that we get to realize the difference in our characters’ relationships. For example, in my Games of Love series, Craig (the leading man of Critical Hit-On) always calls and thinks of his best friend Lydia as “Lyd.” No one else in the group calls her by a nickname. It was awesome to learn this and a little difficult to remember when writing in Molly (Craig’s girlfriend’s) point of view. It was even more interesting when I got to Lydia’s book, and “Lyd” only popped up in dialogue the entire story. But “Lyd” is a great addition to the books because it shows a certain relationship between Craig and Lydia.

Now, what’s difficult? There’s a lot, but I’ll focus on point of view. When I write a series all from the same character(s) perspective, I have the luxury of becoming comfortable. I learn thought processes and can keep using them. I go deeper and deeper into a few people’s heads until I know more about them than I’d ever want to. More importantly, though, I know how my character(s) feel about people, places, things, events, and other stuff. If these things change, it’s from my own doing. I bring elements into the story that initiate transformation and then make the necessary changes in my character(s).

Switching characters every book is a very different experience. Essentially, it’s like starting over. I needed to find a new voice and a new set of mannerisms and a new outlook on events that readers have already heard about or seen. In short, it can be very difficult to bring a fresh take to an old story. For example, Lydia isn’t a fan of clubbing, but she’ll go to a club when sufficiently motivated. In One Fling to Rule Them All, Sonya gives Lydia a hard time for going to a club. In Finish Him, I had to take Sonya’s friendly concern and turn it into club phobia and outright hatred. It was a big step, and it took me a while to identify Sonya’s exact feelings and then translate those feelings to written words. In the end, I got a great character trait and learned a lot about my leading lady, but man was the process interesting.

So next time you read a romance (or any other genre) series with many perspectives, really pay attention. Play a hypothetical game of Eye Spy. See if you can find the little things that make each character’s relationship to the world different. And when you finish the series, tip your hat to the author for keeping all those details straight from not just one or two, but many different points of view.

*****

Excerpt:

I check the clock on my phone for the tenth time in the last five minutes. Jaxon must really want to apologize for what happened at Fantasmic’s. There’s no other reason for him to choose Kransten’s, an actual sit-down restaurant, for this lunch. I’m not complaining. This is an ideal atmosphere for the informal interrogation I spent the better part of yesterday preparing. I suffered for my obsession by having homework to do until almost midnight, but it was worth it. As a bonus, I got to hide in my room and avoid my family.

A black car pulls into the lot. It parks facing me one spot over, and Jaxon gets out. He’s wearing a black jacket, black jeans, and black boots.

My brain raises the red warning flag, and my insides dance a little. The all-black get-up is understandable in his line of work, but he’s wearing it outside the club. He’s a bad boy. I shouldn’t be here alone with him. I plug my key back into the ignition but can’t bring myself to turn it. Dawn dresses in all black, and she’s one of my best friends. Clothing choice is no reason to blow Jaxon off. Besides, his outfit doesn’t change how much I need information. I put my keys away and get out of my car. The late fall air hits my skin and works its calming magic. I’m in a public place. If Jaxon tries anything, there are security cameras and restaurant employees. Everything will be fine.

“Hey.” Jaxon stops beside me and meets my gaze with sparkling eyes.

My internal stone shield cracks the tiniest bit. Bad people’s eyes don’t glitter with the joy of life. 

“Hey.” I scuff my sneaker against the blacktop. Maybe he’s not a dangerous psychopath. Never mind he’s given no signs of such. “Nice eating choice.”

“Thanks.” He gestures to the restaurant. “Shall we? I’m starved.”

I nod, and we meander toward the building with an arm’s length between us. Jaxon doesn’t try to get close to me or act in any way threatening. He maintains his distance, and the sparkle stays in his eyes. In other words, he’s a gentleman.

At the restaurant, he holds the door. So more than the clothes follow him from the workplace. I thank him and get the next door. Jaxon doesn’t object with some lame chauvinistic argument. He goes in and stops beside the host desk.

I follow. The place hasn’t changed since my last visit a few months ago. Kransten’s is American. There is no other word for it. The décor is of either sports teams or rock bands. The tables are simple wood. There’s a bar with a TV, and the floor is tile. The lighting is recessed, giving the place a dark feel despite all the windows. As I noted earlier, it’s an ideal place for an informal interrogation.

A hostess comes over and asks if we want a booth or table. Jaxon defers to me, and my snap bad-boy judgement sinks farther into the corner of my mind. He’s not controlling or dominating. I opt for a booth, and the hostess leads us to one, sets down menus, and tells us our server will be right over.

*****

Blurb:


Sonya Black never expected a petty sibling quarrel could lead to her sister being drugged. Overcome with guilt, Sonya vows to bring the jerk to justice. When she dives into her own investigation, she lands belly up in the company of Jaxon Nyles, the security guard who may have all the answers.

But being a detective isn’t as easy as Sonya thinks. On top of that, Jaxon always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Is he a suspect, or is he falling for her? More important, is she falling for him?

The round has begun. Who will flirt? Who will win? Will hearts break in the process?

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*****

Author Bio and links 

Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. People, reading, and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that.



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