Guest Marilyn Levinson

News Flash: Kay Garrett is Marilyn’s lucky winner! Kay, please check your email.

Edith/Maddie writing from north of Boston, where it’s looking and feeling like fall!

I’m happy to welcome my fellow Guppy Marilyn Levinson to the blog today. She’s going to tell us about ending a series, and she’s offering a hardcover copy or ebook of Dewey Decimated as a giveaway (US only)!

But first, the blurb: Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut when a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancé’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. Carrie and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed? 

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?

End of a Series

I often wondered how and when a mystery writer decides to end a series. Does she kill off her sleuth? Have her go off into the sunset with her lover like in a romance? Or does she simply stop when she realizes she wants to write about other characters?

My decision to end the Haunted Library series that I write as Allison Brook came to me while I was writing the seventh book. My sleuth, Carrie Singleton, has come a long way from leading a semi-vagabond existence dressed like Goth Girl. Once Carrie accepts the position as head of programs and events at the Clover Ridge Library her life slowly begins to change. She takes her new responsibilities seriously and with a sense of pride. She develops friendships as she solves homicides with the assistance of library ghost, Evelyn Havers. Carrie’s relationships with each of her parents improves. She falls in love with Dylan Avery, and after conquering her anxieties is ready to take the next step—marriage.

As I contemplated the themes and events of  book number eight, I realized that this would complete Carrie’s story arc. For despite the many victims and suspects she’s been dealing with over the course of the series, my main concern has been Carrie’s development and growth. Though she grew up in a dysfunctional family, Carrie has managed to thrive and become a contributing member of her community. So much so, that the mayor practically begs her to join the town council to replace a member that is leaving. And so, as I plot the travails and murders that threaten to keep Carrie from her perfect wedding, I know that all will end happily and that this eighth novel will be the last in the Haunted Library series.

Of course I may decide to write a series revolving around Carrie and Dylan, who is a licensed investigator, a la Mr. and Mrs. North. Or Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, two of Agatha Christie’s sleuths. But that’s a far off possibility. Meanwhile, I do have a new series in mind that I’ll begin when this one has ended. The setting and the characters are quite different, but hopefully the same cozy feeling will prevail.

Readers, if you’ve loved an author’s series, are you open to read a new series that she’s writing? Authors, have you ever wanted to end a series but hesitated to do so?

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. DEWEY DECIMATED, the sixth in the series, was just published. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series, the Twin Lakes series, and GIVING UP THE GHOST. Her juvenile novel, RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. It will soon be reissued, followed by three more books in the series. AND DON’T BRING JEREMY was a nominee for six state awards.

Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.

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65 Thoughts

  1. Definitely. While I’m always sorry to see a series end, I look forward to more great stories from the author.

  2. Marilyn, I do hate it when a series I love comes to an end. But that doesn’t mean I won’t follow an author to a new series. If I like what someone has written in the past, I’ll take a chance on what they’ve got coming up next.

  3. Oh, sure! If I enjoy a series by an author, odds are I’d like a new series by that author. I haven’t read any of this series, but libraries and ghosts seem like they’d go together very well!

  4. If I enjoy a series, I will try a new series by the same author. I have several favorite authors who have more than one series that I enjoy.

  5. I will and do absolutely read other series by favorite authors. I can think of only one or two instances where another series didn’t hook me quite as much as the first one I’d read, although still enjoyable. Since many authors do write multiple series (and some under different pseudonyms) there’s plenty for me to seek out. It’s fun trying to read every work of my favorites and compare/contrast different series, early and later works.

    1. Alicia, How interesting. I’m sure we grow as writers with each series we write. I know that my plots in the Haunted Library are more complicated than the ones in earlier mysteries.

  6. Big time congratulations on the release of Dewey Decimated, Marilyn! Ending a series on your own terms, while bittersweet, gives your characters the sendoff they deserve. I think that’s because an author knows when it’s time to let their characters call it a day.
    I, for one, enjoy trying out an author’s new series after I’ve finished reading one. Yours will be great. Cheers!

  7. I have enjoyed this series and will look forward to this book. When I come across an book or series that I like I often search out other books or series by that same author.

  8. Congratulations on the new book! I read author’s new series all the time. All the series my authors write make my TBR list get longer and longer.

  9. I think the best thing an author can do is end a series before it becomes stale. We see that all the time, a series (in TV too) where it just goes past its best before date (remember Fonzie and the shark in Happy Days?). So you re both wise and brave to do this.
    I did the same thing with my Glass Dolphin series. From book 1, I knew I wanted to end it at 3. Could I have carried on? Yes. But like you, I left my characters in a good place, and my main character, Arabella, now has a small role in my Marketville series (which has a completely different vibe to it as far as style and content). Good luck to all you do and LOVE the title and cover. Too cute.

  10. Yes, if I enjoy a book or a series by an author, I look up a list of all of their work. It sounds like you’re doing what is best for yourself and for your characters! Congratulations on a great run.

  11. Most definitely! In fact, part of what attracts me to a new series is an author whose books I know I’m going to love without even picking up the book. That’s the way I feel about your books – LOVE THEM!

    Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of “Dewey Decimated” and to see how Carrie’s story plays out and enjoy her last adventures in this series. The title made me smile as I’m old enough to remember the joy of a trip to the library where we were taught what the Dewey Decimal System was and how to use it. An experience that unfortunately the newer generations missed out on. The play on words is awesome and my hats off to who came up with the title. Excited at the prospects of reading and reviewing this one.

    Thank you for the fabulous opportunity to win a hardcover copy – which would be a great addition to my collection of keepers..
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  12. Hola Marilyn ~ What an interesting blog! I have been saddened by the abruptness of some of my beloved mystery series, and wished there was a way to soften the impact of a FINAL novel…I think you nailed it with your explanation, and would love for other series to write the series into the sunset gently, and with closure, so we readers would not be mourning the loss of our fictional friends. I realize that many times the publisher is at fault for not renewing a contract, ignoring the readers who clamor for more. I am sure there are many other factors that can stop a series also. Thank you for sharing how you are ending the Haunted Library series. Now we are prepared, and will most likely express a huge “Aaaaaw” at the end. Looking forward to reading new mystery series…I am always eager to read everything a beloved author writes. Felicidades! Luis at ole dot travel

    1. Hola, Luis! Now there are publishers that take on series that other publishers have dropped. A good thing for readers who want to see more of the favortie authors’ books in a particular series.

  13. Ending a series must be hard! Some authors have series that run on forever and unless I’ve read them from the beginning I don’t bother “catching up” or even starting.
    Its like when a favorite TV series ends when the ratings are still good and people are still in love with the characters

    1. Jane, So true. I hate it when a TV series that I love ends because the ratings aren’t high enough. We all have different tastes, but for TV and publishers, they have to consider the bottom line.

  14. Great insights into this subject. I’m considering ending my current series at twelve books. It’s good to hear how many readers will follow an author across series. My pen name and I thank you!

    1. Brenda, I think sometimes an author hesitates to end a series because she doesn’t know if a new series will do as well or even if publisher will want it. I’m willing to take that chance. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  15. Once I have invested in a series (its characters), I am usually saddened when it ends. It is as though I have lost people for whom I cared. It usually is easier when an author gets to write a wrap up book, as opposed to a publisher issuiing an edict. have read subsequent series of many authors. Some I have invested in just as much and a few just didn’t measure up. I am glad we have 2 more books in this series, and I definitely will give your new series a try.

    1. I know how you feel, Debbie and I know that many readers are sad that I’m ending the series, but I feel that the last book I write is the best place to leave it.

  16. If I like an author, I will continue to read them no matter what the series is. How nice that you got to end this on your terms when you felt it was a natural time to do so. That always feels so satisfying to me. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)

  17. I do prefer to read many books in the same series and preferably in order. The character development is very important to me. I am sad when a series ends, and I am delighted when I see the same character or characters reappearing in a new series written by the same author. I grow attached to the author’s work and want more and more of it! I am delighted that Marilyn Levinson has made an appearance in the Wickeds column because she is an author that I have read and loved under the name of Allison Brook. I would be delighted to win a copy of her book, but, even if I don’t, I will continue to read the Haunted Library mysteries and any other books written by her.

  18. I”m devastated that I have never heard of you or your books. A haunted library is a perfect setting for the kind of books I love. Now I have to go to my indie bookstore and order all the books in this series. I prefer to start with book one and go from there. I love watching the author and the characters grow and develop over time. And I will certainly follow you to a new series. I have seldom been disappointed when I have done that with other authors.

  19. Yes, once I try one book from one of the series and like it, then I will also try more books from other series.

  20. Yes I have done that with authors who end a series and start another. If I REALLY like one series they write I figure I’ll like another one. Most of the time I do like their next one. Sometimes just as much and sometimes not as much but I give it a chance.

  21. Absolutely! I enjoy reading more in the series. I will definitely read more books by the author in another book series.

  22. While I will miss Carrie and her friends, I will read your next series! The author is the heart of the series, and I’m looking forward to a new series. And, if it is an offshoot of Carrie and Dylan, or even if they are an aside to the main story, even better!

  23. I’ll miss Carrie, Dylan, and Smokey Joe. I’ve grown quite attached to them. As for your question, yes, I will definitely follow an author I like into new series territory!

  24. Absolutely! I love the way the author writes so I will be excited to read a new series. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  25. I really loved this series but am really looking forward to whatever new stories you come up with for us!! And look forward to more fantastic covers!

  26. I am always open to reading a new series but sure hate to see them end when it is their time.

  27. There are SO MANY authors with SO MANY series, can’t we just allow a character to slip away into the sunset until a new dawn may or may not arise for them?

  28. I hate it when an author decides to end a series that I love. I understand that you authors get burned out, the author dies, or publishers say they don’t sell well, but it is always a sad time. What I do not like is that there is no end to some of the series. I love Ellen Byron’s last novel in her Cajun Country Mysteries because she tied up all of the loose ends and told us about what happened to the characters. That is so much better than letting us hang in total sadness.

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