Jessie: Thinking about booking a vacation anywhere warm!
I love those publicity calendars with made up holidays and every now and again one of the dates mentioned especially tickles my fancy. Today just happens to be Multiple Personality Day which of course made me think of the Wickeds.
All the Wickeds now write more than one series and four of us write under multiple names. What I would like to talk about is how you juggle your different writer’s personas and/or the personalities of your varied protagonists and POV characters?
Edith/Maddie/Tace: Let’s do one thing at a time! Juggling author names is a challenge, but not insurmountable. Tace Baker is the pen name I used for the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries, but since Lauren is on a semi-permanent sabbatical, Tace is, too. Edith Maxwell (the name I grew up with) writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the five-book Local Foods Mysteries, and short stories, and she also manages the web site for all my writing. Maddie Day creates the Country Story series and the new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Maddie and I get along splendidly. Nobody ever said my multiple personalities couldn’t link our names, and we do so enthusiastically!
As for my various protagonists, I’ll echo something I heard Wicked Accomplice Sheila Connolly say a long time ago: These characters are so real to me, and are so different from each other, I don’t mix them up.
Sherry: I’m just dipping my toe in the second series pond as I’ve recently finished the first draft of From Beer to Eternity, the first Chloe Jackson Redneck Riviera mystery. At first I thought maybe I’d write one series in the morning and one in the afternoon, but it didn’t take long to figure out that wasn’t going to work for me. So, I set aside the first draft and I’m now working on the ninth Sarah book. Since Sarah and Chloe are at very different points in their lives and live in very different places, it hasn’t been hard to separate the two series.
Barb: I thought my series would be easy to keep separate. Julia Snowden of the Maine Clambake Mysteries is in her early thirties and the books are narrated in the first person. Jane Darrowfield is in her early sixties and the books are narrated in close third person. But recently, when I was revising the eighth Maine Clambake book, I found two paragraphs written in third person! It was so strange. I often stray into present tense when writing first drafts, even though the books are written in simple past tense. But I’ve never found third person narration in a Maine Clambake book before. What was going on there?
Liz: I had a similar incident, Barb! My Pawsitively Organic series is written in third and Cate Conte’s Cat Cafe Mysteries are written in first. I did start mixing them up during my last draft and had to change a whole Stan chapter back to third person. But aside from that, Stan and Maddie James are pretty different. Maddie is younger, and a little spunkier than Stan. She’s always worked for herself and ran her own life, whereas Stan takes a little longer to unravel herself from the corporate mindset and get comfortable in her own skin. They are both really fun to write. Although every now and then something comes out of one of their mouths that clearly belongs to the other character and has to be revised…
Julie aka JHAuthors: I faced the multi-name challenge when I signed the contracts for the Theater Cop Mystery series and the Garden Squad Mysteries series around the same time, and each publisher wanted a separate name. I’d chosen Julianne Holmes for the Clock Shop series, and wanted my name on one of the new ones. (I chose the Theater Cop series, since that was coming out first, and I wanted my folks to see my/our name on the spine). So I decided to go with JH names, so they books would all be near each other in a book store or in the library. And the first names are all Julie-like names, so I can respond. That’s why I brand as JHAuthors, so folks can find my other series.
Readers, which parts of your life require the most juggling? Do you wear a lot of different hats in your work and personal life? Writers, any tips for writing multiple series?