Writing a series has been eye-opening in many ways, but the biggest surprise is how fast the second and third books go. Well, went. This is just our second series, so stay tuned.
The thing I’m realizing now, as we start Very Nice Funerals, is how this has shifted the romance plot for me. Writing stand-alone, the lovers meet, work out a relationship, and commit. That worked for me until I did the Liz/Vince series and realized that the interesting stuff happens after the okay-let’s-do-this ending. Now they’re together. The hard stuff starts. I had a great time with that in the Liz/Vince books, showing how they tentatively got in deeper with each other, trying to navigate their issues and their needs. It was so much more interesting that my standard romance plot (although I really do not know how I’d arc that further in a second Liz/Vince series, so I’m still cogitating on that.)
But the Rose/Max relationship is even more off the wall than Liz and Vince.
The first book only lasts a week, and during that week Rose has her life turned inside out, not just by Max who restarts her libido, but by events that change her life so radically she can’t (and doesn’t want to) go back to the way things were. Max has taken some hits to his certainties about life, too, and he’s coping with that. They each have so much to deal with that their romance isn’t a priority for either of them. I like that. And it makes the negotiations they’re going to have to make with each other in Very Nice Funerals a lot more interesting. Neither of them is expecting a relationship HEA, they’re just trying to figure out how to get a personal (solitary) future that’s satisfying and secure. They like each other just fine, but they have bigger fish to fry than a love affair. So the arc in VNF has to be getting some of those fish fried and moving them closer to considering the romance more than a fling.
Of course, the reader has to be ahead of them there, seeing how well they work together, how much fun they are together, how they’re denying the thing they’re both wary of, the whole this-is-real decision. Considering they’re dealing with a serial killer in VNF, I think it’s plausible they don’t have time to deal with that, even if it’s clear on the page.
And then, of course, they have to figure it out in the next book, The Honey Pot Plot, which is about women and vengeance and a lot of other crunchy stuff, but mostly for me about Rose taking control of her life and going after what she wants. I don’t know what it’s about for Bob, but I’ll find out when we get there. It’s that push and pull between the two character arcs that make writing with him so interesting. And fun.
But first, the romance arc in VNF. The thing I’m finding really interesting about it right now is that she’s okay with Max leaving and so is he. They really like each other, but they have these separate lives with a lot of important stuff going on, so it’s pretty much “Thanks for the good time, give me a call if you’re ever back this way again.” And then the killings start.
But at least Rocky Start is finished. There’ll be more rewrites on that as we work our way through the next two books, but it’s solid right now. I think. Aaaaaaargh. Writing is hard.