Wait! I thought this was a Break, not a Break-Up (kissing your favorite book series goodbye) Jessie Smith
Last month, I was in denial over the announcement that Charlaine Harris was ending her Sookie Stackhouse book series and I wrote the first part of this blog series. Apparently she was not aware that I thought we were in a race to see which Sookie version would last the longest. Currently we are 13 books versus 6 HBO seasons and as someone who pitched their tent in the book fan camp, I could argue that I was living on the winning side. What happened? I thought things were going so well. (Famous last words used during all my break-ups).
During this month, I have had time to analyze my bookshelves and reflect upon the fates of my other favorite series. First and foremost, I worship upon the computer keys in which Sherrilyn Kenyon types her Dark Hunter series. For 14 novels, readers created their own backstory for Ash, the poster boy for the tall, dark, and handsome mystery man. In book 15, readers were given a thousand pages to reveal his past and present him with his soul-mate. Hum. Seriously? That is not how I pictured his ending. Those were my final thoughts when I read the last page of the book. Readers had been filling in his character gaps so once his history was revealed, it didn’t always align with our imaginations. But the final mystery was solved and the series was concluded. Imagine my surprise when I saw a book 17 on the book shelves. It hadn’t dawned on me that the series had continued because I thought we were done. It’s kind of like being at a party and realizing your friend got back with her ex. You know the one you nodded in agreement when she called him a jerk and now she is upset with you for not supporting their reunion. Awkward.
Well, there are also the limbo series, killed by publishers but resurrected by authors. I am a huge fan of Delilah Marvelle’s School of Gallantry series and I’m lucky enough to know her personally. Driving back from the Emerald City Conference I got to hear her plans for a five book historical series about a school for the wealthy to learn how to be better men in and out of the bedroom. The five men were in the same class so the series would be written simultaneously from each of their perspectives. But after two books, her publisher pulled the plug. It’s one thing to have your series prematurely ended, it’s quite another thing to know tidbits of what was supposed to happen and not have the full stories. Urgh! I couldn’t accept that the series was over, and apparently neither could the author. After 3 more years and I’m sure lots of red tape to get the book rights back (blah, blah, boring legal stuff), thanks to the new self-publishing territory Delilah has been able to continue her series. Book 3, Lady of Pleasure was self-published in March 2013. Once thought of as a rare victory, I hope the self-publishing option allows many writers to continue their sagas free from the bonds and pressures of publishers.
It certainly must be powerful to have control over your series. At a local author signing event, Gail Carriger informed her fans that she was ending her Soulless series after only five books. Try to imagine a room full of Steam Punk costume wearing, parasol packing fans all depressed while looking so darn pretty. Since her series was wildly popular, it seemed like bad business to shut down the franchise with a meager five books. Had she run out of creativity? Had she fallen out of love with Alexia Tarabotti? Nope. She explained that she was tired of experiencing authors dying before they finished their series. So she would finish this series on her terms. But she was business savvy and had plans to begin a new series on one of the minor characters in a new setting. She left enough breadcrumbs for readers to follow her as she pursued a new series.
Gail had a valid point. Nobody, I mean nobody, wants another Robert Jordan situation. Fans were 17 years invested into his 11 books on the Wheel of Time series when he passed away in 2007 of terminal heart disease. Robert and his fans thought he had a few more years to end his series. We were woefully wrong. The only silver lining was that he left extensive notes about how the series should end in the final book and his family was able to hire the writer, Brandon Sanderson, to continue on the story. Nothing against Brandon but Robert could write descriptions about his descriptions for eternity. Even though Brandon stretched out the last book into three novels to make sure he covered all of Robert’s notes, fans will always wonder what the books could have been if Robert was at the helm.
In the end, I should be grateful that Charlaine Harris knew what she wanted to see happen to end her series, worked towards it for eleven novels and wrote the conclusion on her terms. I said I should be. This actually might be the final straw for me to give the television show around chance, once the withdrawal shakes start from missing the book series. In the meantime, please share your detox programs and coping mechanisms on how you handled reading the final page of your beloved book series. This is, after all, a group literary therapy session. This issue crosses all genres and all are welcome.
Posted on June 27, 2013, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged Charlaine Harris, Dark Hunter Series, Delilah Marvelle, Gail Carriger, Sherilyn Kenyon, Soulless, True Blood, Wheel of Time. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.