Sounds pretty dire and all-encompassing, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how it feels to wrap up a multi-book series. You know how hard it is to start a series, what with having to introduce everyone and describe everything and set plot twists in motion? Since all my books (hopefully) stand alone, everything I write has to include all of the above. Beloved characters from book one have to be reintroduced from scratch in book three, in case somebody is discovering the series out of order (which is fine – however people read my books, I am more than content!). It requires finesse to describe things in a short, fast way that both brings new readers up to speed and hooks them, while not boring the pants off of readers who already know and love the series. Okay, I say finesse, but that really incorporates much head-banging and swearing and staring blankly at the screen.
Then you’ve got all the normal things that have to go into a book – the love story, the secondary characters, the setting, the plot twists, the sex…..
But what I’m working on now is the worst. I’m finishing book three in my Shore Secrets trilogy. This is a huge, hairy deal. I’ve been teasing this love story for 200,000 words. Giving hints at their non-stop sexual tension, the painful yet so-far-undisclosed secret that drove them apart. Dropping clues that perhaps they still want each other, but are positive the other doesn’t and never will. This book is jam-packed with potential goodness before you even hit Chapter One. Not to mention the hero and heroine both have pretty big work conflicts that put them even more at odds with each other.
Except that’s not all. Since it is the final book in the trilogy, I have to wrap everything up. The stolen money that almost bankrupted the town in book one. The simmering secondary character romance which almost began in book two. Mentions of wedding planning for book one’s couple. Crap…I almost forgot…and moving that hero’s mother to town. I have to mention the beloved dachshund, visit the iconic lakeshore – again. Find ways to show the hotel teetering on the edge of financial collapse in book one is thriving by book three. There are so many loose ends to tie up and fave characters to revisit they could fill a book all by themselves and squeeze out my super-important book three romance. Obviously I can’t let that happen.
I have to finish everything. Everything! Sheesh! Ending a series is a million times harder than starting one. It is an avalanche of details to be managed. A juggling act with more balls than can be counted. The kicker is that this has to be the best book of the trilogy. Remember, I’m a reader first and foremost. And readers demand satisfaction. They want – and deserve – every possible payoff. My job is to not miss a single one. So that is what I’m working on right now.