Have you ever waited impatiently for an author to publish the next novel in a series you’ve been reading? There you are, hooked on the story, on the characters, and you want more. You need more…today, if possible. Alas, the next book isn’t due to arrive on shelves for months and months.
Have you ever read a novel in one sitting and spent the next few weeks absorbed with those characters, wondering about all the little things happening in their “lives” that you will never get to know about? You think about all the character details left on the editing room floor, and about how much you would like to read them, know them, but will never see them.
As readers, I think it’s fair to say we’ve all experienced those moments of bonding, of pleasure, while immersed in the lives of literary characters, and their story lines. Even the setting of a favorite scene will often resonate long after the final page has been read.
As writers, for those of us that have chosen that path, we may find ourselves straddling the line between rushing to get that next book into the hands of hungry readers, and wanting that next book to be the very best story we are able to tell.
The thing is, writing a novel takes time. Sure, there are exceptions, authors who can (and do) produce 3, 4, or 5 books in a year. But I’m not one of them.
When I began writing AVA, I had no idea it would be a series. Then it happened: I fell in love with my characters. The only way to keep them “alive” was to keep writing about them. And a series was born.
If you’ve read my blog over the past few years, you know that I started out with the intention of publishing each book in the series in swift succession. I was aiming for one every nine or ten months, if possible. Well, it hasn’t happened that way. Not even close.
BONNER, the second novel in my Priya Club series, has been sitting on my hard drive for over two years now. Had I released it at the first opportunity, I would have retained a certain level of reader interest from AVA, the first book, without having to begin marketing all over again, from square one.
But I chose not to release the second novel, and time passed. Other writers brought fun or interesting works to the Romantic Thriller shelf, and readers moved on. “When are you going to publish the next book?” is a question I received regularly. I never had a solid answer. Something about the whole process didn’t feel right. But what?
At first, I thought maybe I was being sensitive about the long gap between book releases. Then, I asked myself if my hesitation was about having unrealistic expectations of reader appreciation for the new book.
Neither was the source of the problem.
What I came to understand about myself is that writing a series, releasing one complete novel at a time, isn’t enough for me. I want more from my characters. I want to share more about my characters. A deeper understanding of their minds and hearts. A clearer picture of the world they live in, love in, and create trouble in.
That’s all it took, that one realization, and the fire was lit! Fast-forward six months and my series has now been rebranded as the Priya Club, complete with a website dedicated to exploring new territory in literary fun.
Here, at the Priya Club, my characters will give readers more backstory, more insights. Readers will learn about the hardships each woman has faced, and about her successes and triumphs, too. They’ll get hints about her soulmate – way ahead of the novel release schedule.
Special excerpts, preview chapters of upcoming novels, and membership club opportunities will also be making their way to the Priya Club this spring. The newsletter will alert readers to these types of special events, and to any in-person gatherings.
The new site is also a way to expand on small details contained within the series. For example, there are lots of fun snippets about Helaina’s restaurants, featured in the series, with each one dedicated to a different member of the Priya Club. (Recipes forthcoming!)
In “Shop the Story,” readers are able to explore favorite items of the Priya Club members and read why these things hold special places in their lives.
“Living Life the Priya Club Way” will be bringing readers “lifestyle” blog posts, written by different characters in the series. For example, the following blog posts are coming in early 2018:
- Ava Arden writes “Bringing The World To Your Door: A Basque Country Dinner Party”
- Bonner Danilov writes “The Art Of The Monogram: Hunter Boots”
- Jilla Clarke writes “Kombucha: Modern Moonshine?”
You’ll also occasionally find blog posts from me, the author of the series, beginning with this one:
- Ashley Barron writes “Finally! A Proper Author Photo”
Some of my characters will even have their own websites. For example, Tessa Marshall, the first Priya Club member with her own active website, has a very unique job…and the photos to prove it!
This adventure in writing is a way to go deeper into the mystery that surrounds the Priya Club, and to develop a 360-degree view of the world in which its member live, and love.
Building this new world, paving this untraveled road, is happening one step at a time. The Priya Club website is definitely still in Beta mode. There will be all sorts of small changes and new looks sampled over the coming months, and there are many text blocks on the website waiting to be filled.
In some ways, the Priya Club will always be “under construction,” as new characters, plot lines, and thrills continue to be added to the “lives” of its members.
Every week, new stories, new information, and new details will be added to the pages of the Priya Club website, keeping the story alive and nourished in the minds and hearts of readers interested in characters who formed an unbreakable bond in childhood, one that still resonates in their lives today.
Writers and Readers – I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas as you explore this new (to me) literary territory, the Priya Club website. Tweet me at @dcPriya!