More than a dozen books later, my friend Laurien Bereson still vividly remembers one fateful phone call. Her editor had just read A Pedigree to Die For. “I love it,” he told her. “I’ll take the first three.”
“Three what?” Laurie asked.
An experienced writer who had written a dozen standalone novels, Laurie had inadvertently began the Melanie Travis series. She says, “It never crossed my mind that I might have to live with those characters for a decade. I remember thinking, ‘Hey, let's throw in a kid, I haven't done that in a while. ‘ This turned out to be a big mistake . It’s hard for a your heroine to solve mysteries – and to put herself in believable danger – when she’s a mother. And an adult can be "thirty something" forever, but kids are constantly changing. It makes a big difference whether they're four or six. She adds, “If I hadn’t already had the first book written, I would have done lots of things differently.”
Best-selling thriller writer Lee Child once told me, "The time I spent thinking about these things has paid off handsomely, and the things I didn't think about have come back to bite me.”
By making careful choices about characters, point of view, and setting even before beginning the first chapter, you can create a strong series that will last five, seven or even more than a dozen books.