When my son was young, the end credits to “Lamb Chop’s Play Along” featured The Song That Doesn’t End. Not surprisingly, he loved it.
More surprisingly, I happen to love it too.
For those not acquainted with this little gem:
(My apologies to anyone who actually clicked it. You’ll now be singing it for weeks.)
I love the song for its childlike denial of endings. If the song never ends, the fun will continue forever.
Good books are like that too. When a story captures my imagination, I want it to keep on going and the ending is bittersweet. I’m glad the characters reached a closure but saddened to leave them behind. Even with series novels, I have to wait for the next installment to see what my favorite “imaginary friends” are up to.
Not surprisingly, my novel CLAWS OF THE CAT is the first of a series. Somewhat more surprising is that the Shinobi Mystery series already extends at least fifteen books in rough outline, and could go even longer that that. Each of my primary characters has an extensive backstory and also a future arc – but very, very little of that shows up in the novels themselves. My goal for each book is to give you a slice of Hiro and Father Mateo’s ongoing lives in a fascinating and dangerous time and place. Curiously, it was easier to write the first novel (and in it, to foreshadow things that will happen in later books) because I know where my characters came from and where they are going.
CLAWS OF THE CAT is a stand-alone work but also a slice of Hiro’s life , which meant “The End” was not goodbye. I started writing book 2 (BLADE OF THE SAMURAI) less than a month after finishing the final draft of CLAWS – and speaking as a series addict, it felt great not to have to wait for the next installment!
Each book in the series features new murders, new suspects, and new surroundings (much of BLADE takes place in the Shogun’s palace) but in another sense writing a series is a bit like Lamb Chop’s song – the fun never has to end.
What’s your favorite fiction series? Do you miss your favorite characters between installments?