Ending a Novel Series: Wrapping It All Up

Please join me in welcoming authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger as my guest bloggers today to tell us the ins and outs of wrapping up a series. Take it away, Janet & Will!

P.S. Isn’t their latest book cover fabulous?

My husband, Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Mysteries, a hard-boiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the West. Our new book, GAME TOWN, is set in Hollywood and exposes a scandal that rocks the toy industry in Los Angeles. GAME TOWN is the fifth and final book of the series.

People asked, “How hard is it to finish a novel series?” I would say bringing everything full circle is tough!

Since each of the five books stands alone, we needed to close the arc and tie up all loose ends with perhaps hints of underlying mystery for each character’s future. In other words, the reader needed to know the characters will be okay if we never write a sequel or spin-off. However, with multiple plots, characters, and sub-plots, it can be a monumental task. Having a co-writer helps enormously.

Throughout the series, we used a Genealogy Chart to map out our characters’ relationships, and the part they each played in the individual books, including their secrets and flaws. This happened by accident when we were finishing our second book, STRANGE MARKINGS, and discovered we used a name for a character we had already used in a previous series! Concerned we would “plagiarize” ourselves, we used this system. We also were able to track who was related to who through this system. (For cozy mystery writers this works well).

We also found if there is something that needs to be revealed, do it early in the last book. If you’re lost, well, you know what they say: Grab the bull by the tail and face the situation. After all, you are the creator of the world you write.

It was difficult ending the series. Both of us got attached to the characters. They lived with us for five years; it was sad.

GAME TOWN is the fifth in the series and yes…we are still married!

Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn – www.janetlynnauthor.com
Website: Will Zeilinger – www.willzeilingerauthor.com

BIO: Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn wrote individually until they got together and created the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1956-57. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three, plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

The fifth Skylar Drake Mystery, GAME TOWN, the final book in the series, was released April 15, 2019 and yes…they are still married!

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