Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guest Post: Kelly Meding

UFI welcomes Kelly Meding Author of The Dreg City Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

Writing a Series

Thank you for inviting me to your blog! I want to talk a little bit about a question that pops up pretty frequently on both message boards and during in-person chats: Why did I decide to write a series?

I suppose the flip answer is "I didn't choose it, the characters did." Which is partly true. But there are three pretty good reasons (that I came up with) for writing a series, and the biggest one is that urban fantasy, unlike some other genres, lends itself so well to series writing. And it does so because of the amount of world-building required.

Some of the best UF series have fantastically imagined and fully-wrought worlds. Think of the alternate Atlanta in the Kate Daniels books (Ilona Andrews), or Harry Dresden's Chicago (Jim Butcher). The authors make you believe these worlds exist, or could exist, or sometimes do exist right alongside ours. And as a reader, you want to explore those worlds. Maybe not on your own, because let's face it—some of those worlds are freaking scary, and I wouldn't want to live there. But you can explore them from the other side of the page, as the book's hero or heroine investigates, hunts, slays, and generally tries to stay out of the way of the trouble that's always stalking them.

As a writer, world-building is insanely fun. I get to decide what creatures exist, why they exist, and what rules govern their interactions with humans and society. It's often these rules that are catalysts for plots and adventures, and they also help provide the twists and turns that propel our characters through four hundred pages of story. A well-imagined and layered world gives authors lots of room to explore and many new places to take our characters.

Speaking of characters, they are the second of my best reasons to write a series. And not just because of the POV character (Evy, for example, in my Dreg City books), but also the
supporting cast. Writing for the same characters over the course of multiple books allows for a longer, more fully-realized journey, and it often leads to a better sense of growth for the hero/ heroine. In Rachel Vincent's Werecats series, I don't think Faythe's journey would have been nearly as fulfilling and satisfactory if it had happened in two books. Faythe's six-book journey allowed her to truly grow up and into the role she was born for.

There are excellent books that are standalone, of course. But as an author, being able to take my heroine on a longer, more in-depth journey is a terrific adventure for me. It also allows me to develop and play with a large cast of supporting characters, some of whom have been around since book one, and others who you will meet for the first time in book four. Just as in our real lives, people come and go, live and die, and things are always changing. And once the characters stop growing and changing, or they go as far as the author can possibly take them, it's time for the series to end.

And it's hard to mention ending a series without mentioning the third good reason for writing a series in the first place: the fans. The readers. You guys.

In UF, there is almost an expectation that you will write a series, and that's cool with me. Readers like to revisit favorite characters and favorite worlds, and to see what's in store next, and what new twists authors have up their sleeves. It's what I like most about a series as a reader. I get invested in the characters, and in their world, and I want to know what happens next. And next. And next.

And as an author, I love hearing that readers get just as invested in my own characters. Writing is a solitary profession. We publish because we want to share our stories. And we authors love to hear from readers, telling us they enjoyed the stories we shared. It makes the next book in the series that much more special—knowing someone out there is eagerly waiting for more, the same way I'm eagerly waiting for more from my favorite authors.

So…world-building, characters, and readers. The trifecta of writing a series. Do you have a favorite series? And if so, what keeps drawing you in book after book?

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Find Kelly and her books
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Another Kind of Dead
Dreg City #3
Aug 2, 2011
She can heal her own wounds. She can nail a monster to a wall. But there’s one danger Evangeline Stone never saw coming.

Been there. Done that. Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers. Now all but five people in the world think she is dead again, this time for good—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a macabre, monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant, vampire-obsessed scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry to trade for what he desires most of all—Evy Stone: alive and well, and the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science.

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As Lie the Dead
Dreg City #2
July 27, 2010
Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . .

. . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps—and increasingly outgunned humans—a war for supremacy is brewing. With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy. And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it—unless, of course, her own side gets her first.

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Three Days to Dead
Dreg City #1
 Nov 24, 2009
 They’ll never see her coming. . . .

When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue—in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there—her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night she and the two other members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters, mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls. Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor—and she can’t even remember what it was.

Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice—and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off. Because in three days Evy will die again—but this time there’s no second chance. . .

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