This month the theme is “out with the old”. What do your characters do to spice things up? When they need a fresh start? How do they usher in the new?
Sherry: In both the Garage Sale mysteries and the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries my characters start new lives in new places with new jobs — talk about a fresh start. Chloe is always up for trying something new — especially when it comes to water sports. Sarah would more likely tackle a project and organize something for someone else to shake things up.
Edith/Maddie: Mac Almeida in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries starts reading a new cozy with the book group every week, so that’s a kind of starting fresh. And Robbie and her crew in the Country Store series have to think up new breakfast and lunch specials all the time. And of course a new murder comes up in each book in both series, too!
Barb: Readers of the Maine Clambake Mysteries will know that my main character, Julia Snowden, made a very fresh start at the end of my most recent novel, Shucked Apart. I’m still getting emails about it!
Julie: Barb, I love that your readers are so invested! Sherry and Edith, I love the way your characters keep it fresh. The Garden Squad is a group effort towards keeping it fresh. Tamara, Warwick and Ernie move. Lilly’s journey to shake things up is part of the series–she’s falling back in love with life. But rethinking Alden Park is keeping it fresh across the board.
Liz: Violet Mooney’s fresh start is finding out she’s a witch and learning how to move in that world. For Maddie James, moving home to the island and starting her cafe cafe was definitely her fresh start – what was old becomes new again!
Writer friends, how do you keep it fresh? Readers, do you like fresh starts in series?
Everyone loves a fresh start. Sometimes that is the essential for reading a new book, getting away from the day or the week to find a de-stresser. Starting over is a classic cathartic reaction to needing that break. It’s the practical way to “run away” from something or changing out what is not working. A new year is when most of us reset but it isn’t the only time we need it. Hurray for characters in books. They keep readers sane!
After learning a life lesson, my heroine pays it forward by helping other characters within the series. I base character traits and behaviors on the Enneagram of Personality, but the real fun begins when writers dare to create unique character descriptions and distinct voices—an ongoing opportunity to keep things fresh and exciting!
Distinct voices are so important.
At the end of next month’s THE LESSONS WE LEARN, Betty is definitely making a fresh start. In the next Laurel Highlands Mystery, LIE DOWN WITH DOGS, both Sally and Jim are starting new things – Sally’s is quite unexpected (for her and me).
Don’t you love it when characters surprise you?
Fresh starts are fun – new direction, new characters, new murder. 🙂
2clowns at arkansas dot net
New crimes are always a fun reboot!
Moving around the US, our family has made lots of fresh starts, so I identify with characters who also move to a new place or decide to tackle a new job or a new relationship or have a new interest. Opening a cozy mystery book starts me on a fresh who-done-it puzzle and keeps me on my toes trying to figure it all out! For all you and your characters do, thank you!
Moving can be challenging, but it is a great opportunity for reinvention. And we love throwing opportunities at our characters!
At the end of last year’s MURDER MY PAST, private eye Rook moved in with his long-time girlfriend (and boss) Brina. However, at the start of the newest book, MURDER TAKE TWO (out 2.22.2022) the detectives split up. Will the break affect their professional collaboration too?
Oh Delia, you are brave. Your readers are going to have an opinion on that for sure. It will be interesting to see how it affects their professional relationship. And it gives you more conflict to work with.
Fresh starts are so important. My characters tend to change jobs either by accident or design. And the murders, of course.
Crime does reboot things, doesn’t it?
I enjoy minor tweaks in a series, but I don’t like hard resets once a premise has been established. I enjoy seeing characters and situations I know and love. (Barbara, yours is more than a minor tweak, but it still worked for me. Of course, part of that is because I know we’ll explore more about it in the next book. I’m anxious to find out where you go next.)
Interesting point, Mark. I tend to agree for series, though sometimes a shake up helps refresh.
I don’t mind fresh starts as long as you keep the essence of the characters.
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