Welcome to Mary's Garden. In Utah it's a beautiful day and warm for this time of year. However, it's still chilly enough we're going to settle in the Rose House. Please fill your plate with goodies and a beverage and settle in. Today, Min Edwards will be telling us why she likes to write book series.
Min Edwards. Thank you so much for having me today, Mary. I love talking to whoever will listen about reading and writing.
Today, I’ll tell you about my journey into series writing. I have three series going at the moment; Stone Bay Romance, High Tide Suspense, and a new series of archaeological thrillers. Today I’ll tell you about my High Tide Suspense series and how it got started.
High Tide Suspense began after I finished my debut novel, Stone Bay in late 2013. This is a fish-out-of-water tale, a little autobiographical as many debut books are, about a Texas woman buying an old house on the coast of Maine... sight unseen. After writing it I realized that I was in love with the setting and the characters in the book and didn’t want to leave them yet. They had so many more stories to tell about their tiny fishing village on the edge of America. But... I wanted to write suspense and romance.
I temporarily put aside what I had deemed my Stone Bay Romance series, and began writing High Tide Suspense. My current novel which is on pre-order now at Amazon, Book Four in High Tide Suspense, Precious Stone, I believe will be the last book in the series. I could change my mind though as there are many characters begging me to tell their tale. Before this book came along there was Book One, Stone Cold; Book Two, Stone Heart; and Book Three, Stone Fall. After writing each one I knew I’d found my home, at least until my imagination pushed me on to other realms... other series.
This series allowed me, in a round-about way, to pay homage to my new life, a quieter, more bucolic one than my previous existences of grad student, bookstore owner, real estate broker, archaeologist, and the list goes on. And all this carried out while living in Austin, Texas. A city certainly not considered bucolic... weird, yes... calm and quiet, no. Have you ever visited 6th street, the Texas Book Festival or the South by Southwest Festival there? If so, you’ll know what I mean.
So in 2014 I began to immerse myself in the lives of my villagers, made-up and actual alike. You see I now live in that bucolic fishing village on the edge of America. It’s the most eastern town in the U.S. with a working lighthouse, Water Street, our main street which borders the Narrows separating Maine from Campobello, New Brunswick, and hundreds of 19th century architectural gems, one of which is my quaint little farmhouse. My new town is filled with history from French explorers of the 17th century to the War of 1812, Prohibition, and the end of the sardine industry in the 1970s. There are a lot of stories to tell which lend themselves to the series format, multiple tales connected by place and characters. High Tide Suspense brings you into my world. Everyday life here becomes fodder for my writing mill. I’ve used the harsh Maine climate, the horrible storms in the Bay of Fundy, the isolated roads, the lack of police presence as well as the wariness my neighbors feel for those from away to feed my suspense. I’ve also used my villagers’ work ethic, stubbornness, sense of history, and gosh darn Maine spirit.
The opening in the 4th installment in High Tide Suspense begins in the little village of Stone Bay with the village baker, Colleen McCullough, sister to the chief of police, Nick McCullough who has his own story told in Book Three of the series. I think you’ll love Collee, a fiery baking sprite. You can imagine her living in the forest with those little elf guys who make cookies. You know the ones I mean. However, I worried about bringing more danger to my pretend villagers so I let Collee and her friends take the danger elsewhere... to France and finally to Scotland. I guess that’s one reason I love writing series. You can have the core characters come back time and again but they don’t have to stay put. They can wonder far and wide. All they must do is keep their basic values intact and know ‘there’s no place like home.’
Each book in the High Tide series shares characters, alludes to things happening in previous adventures, but are complete and individual novels. I find it tedious when an author spends a quarter or more of a book re-telling the previous stories in his/her series. Although, and this troubles me as I get older and my memory of the books I’ve read begins to blur, sometimes in a long-running series I’m addicted to, I inadvertently skip a book and if there isn’t at least an attempt to catch the reader up on what happened in the past, I lose some of my enjoyment of the current story. It’s a fine line in series writing. However, I’ve tried to make each of my High Tide Suspense books satisfactorily stand alone. I hope I’ve been successful in this.
For the moment, I’m finished with the suspense of Stone Bay, Maine. I’m not tired of the village, but I want to stretch my wings, sort of go back to my roots. You see while I was living my frenetic former life in Austin, I was earning an MA in anthropology with a specialty in archaeology from The University of Texas. As an archaeologist and a writer, the world of fiction and adventure had been standing right in front of me for years. My favorite professor would agree as he always said my research papers were more fiction than fact anyway. Maybe I’ll dedicate the first book in the new series to him.
The new tales are tentatively sub-titled TARE: Talon Archaeological Research and Exploration. And I say tentatively because that moniker is a little unwieldy. But since the stories are in the ‘work in progress’ stage, I have time to play with the series name. I’ve also taken on a co-author, L.W. Ellis, a friend and archaeologist as well, which is another long-winded tale in itself. We have two books almost ready for publication; the introductory short novel about the billionaire who forms the company and funds the adventures, and the first novel, The Ruby Eye, an underwater thriller taking place in the Philippines, a place where I lived for several years in my wild and fearless youth. The writing is going slower than normal as we attempt to mesh our individual styles, but we’re hoping 2017 will see a spate (that’s the technical term for more than two) of published stories.
If you have questions about designing books as eBooks or print on demand, please give my alter-ego, Pam Headrick, a jingle... www.athirstymind.com/, the website of A Thirsty Mind Book Design.
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Diana Jennings is running away—from her past, from her memories, from evil men who want her to suffer more. Stone Bay looks like just the place to hide, but will it be far enough? Has she found a safe place to heal? Or is she just endangering all of those around her?
Sam Gardiner is back home after an incident in Afghanistan, a place he wasn’t prepared for and should never have been. But his first day home he runs into trouble, Diana Jennings. A beautiful woman with secrets behind her vulnerable eyes. And Sam loves secrets. However, Diana’s secrets making their way to idyllic Stone Bay, may be the death of them both.
Annie Alexander has spent the last years trying to get past her husband’s death in combat. Her organic farm is beginning to thrive. Her daughter, Caroline, is obsessed with all the farm animals. Their goat, Anita, is literally a pain in the butt. But just as Annie thinks she’s recovering her life, a visitor comes.
Major Andrew Meacham arrives on Annie’s porch one snowy night and turns her world upside down. Then he’s gone as quickly as he came, like a phantom.
Months later Drew Meacham returns to Annie’s bucolic farm—this time he brings trouble. Yes, he’s a danger, but he’s also Annie’s salvation, teaching her to love again. Will the danger that follows Drew destroy them all, or will he be the man that Annie needs
Sandra Hastings has just lost the case of her career. Mob boss Silvestre Buonoventura is exonerated and now out to get her. And if that’s not enough, the New York DA’s office has politely asked her to take some time off... maybe a lot of time... maybe forever.
Nick McCullough is a little bored with tiny Stone Bay, Maine, and his new job as Chief of Police. He’s hopeful though that a weekend camping with the lovely Sandra Hastings might just be the answer to his prayers, get him back on track, lift his spirits. Now he has to make sure that the mob boss who’s put a hit out on her doesn’t get the chance to complete his plans. Maybe his little weekend away won’t be as restful as Nick had planned.
On sale now in pre-order at Amazon
A gift of thanks to a young girl from the Tsar more than 100 years ago... and now the Russians want it
Village baker, Collee McCullough has a perfect life until early one morning men in suits come calling. She has something someone dangerous wants. Something that her Russian great-grandmother Natasha took when she fled Russian in 1913. Too bad Buka never told the family or anyone else what she had or where she left it.
Jake Elsmore, visiting Stone Bay to sell his mother’s house, walks into The Bakery for a cup of Earl Grey tea, but gets more. There she is. Stepping out from behind the Chief of Police, a lovely, fiery-haired fairy toting a shotgun while two men lay insensate on the floor of her shop. Looks like that tea will have to wait.
Thanks for joining me today. I hope you got some insight into the how and why of writing a series. And thanks again, Mary for having me in Mary’s Garden. At the moment, my novels are only found only at Amazon but after Christmas I’ll be releasing them everywhere.
Thank you, Min, for joining us. I love the sound of your series. You'll have to visit again.