How to End a Book Series

I wasn’t really sure how to title this particular blog posting. It’s true I am going to talk about the end of a book series, but it’s more than that. I have a larger story to tell.

I’m in the process of completing/publishing book four of The Heretic Series, my Christian suspense novels that deal with a team of street-wise rescuers that help people in times of trouble.

The story actually started years ago when I asked myself the question: why did the people of the Old Testament worship the gods they had back then? What did they get out of it? I wondered if what they were worshipping were evil angels or demons. And if that was actually the case, then those same demons still were around, what was to stop them from returning? That was the premise for a series called The Champion centered around a disillusioned young pastor named Harris Borden. Borden is called by God to point out that the Universal Credit Corporation is actually being run by a demon. In the process of doing so, he gets (1) thrown from a rooftop, (2) imprisoned, (3) his throat cut, (4) put in isolation, (5) broken out of prison, (6) and well, you get the idea…The story goes on and on as Harris recruits others called The Heretics to help him fight three lieutenants of Satan.

Later I wrote another series called the Foundation series and really liked some of the characters in it, especially a minor character called Connie Simescu. I decided to give her her own series, and wondered if I could resurrect characters from the first series to join her as well. Thus the Heretics series was born.

Taking characters from an existing series with their own history and moving them to a new series has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that you already know all about them and they already have a developed chemistry with each other. It’s easy to jump in and continue on as if nothing has changed since the last book was written. It makes it easy–somewhat–for the author.

The disadvantage is that having that many characters with that much history is hard for a new reader to digest. I tried starting with just Connie Simescu and Ezra Huddleston, her older sister’s boyfriend, as my characters in the first book. Then I slowly introduced the Heretics into the story. But there was a LOT of backstory to digest. It’s a rich story to get into, which is good, but if you jump in midstream, it’s easy to get lost, and I ended up including a Dramatis Personae–a list of characters–to help the reader know who is who. Those who followed the series from the beginning seemed to love it, but those who joined late had problems.

So now it’s time to wrap it up. How do you stop a series that is actually three series involving nine books? You give everyone somewhere to go, and you tie up as many loose ends as you can. I did–I will confess–leave one loose end regarding Harris Borden that I just couldn’t bear to pass up. You’ll have to read it to know what it is. It’s a mostly happy, somewhat bittersweet ending, and I think my readers will be happy.

It’s time to move on.