Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jigsaw puzzle -- A READER'S GUIDE TO MY NOVEL SERIES

     It's only been two days since the last two books in my literary fiction series were published and I'm delighted to hear readers ask, "In what order should I read them?"
     When I finished the first three books, I thought, "Well, this is a trilogy.  It should be read from SURFACING to SEVEN GENERATIONS to A TAPESTRY OF TRUTH."  And then when I found an agent who was interested in the third book, I changed my tune.  Wouldn't it be interesting for the reader to go back to the previous books with knowledge that the narrator does not have?  That's always fun.  Then along came the inspiration for COMMON THREADS, and I realized this series may be an ever-expanding one, depending on which character wants their story told.
     In seeing the bigger picture, I realize they come together like a jigsaw puzzle, each story informing the others.  Each one with its own unique shape and color.  Each one a necessary part of the whole.  

     So I encourage you to think of it this way:  the four novels are the corner pieces (when working on a puzzle, I always look for those first).  You've already seen all of the covers, so there you go.  The plot summaries are like the edge pieces (I search for those second to get the framework in place). And finally the story you choose will fill in the missing pieces...kind of like sorting out the colors and choosing the one that looks the most appealing in the moment.  
     You may be challenged a bit along the way, as I often am when working on a real puzzle.  Once when I was really frustrated, I decided to turn the jigsaw upside down and see if I could look at it from a different perspective.  Sure enough I was able to see the shapes come together without my expectation of how quickly I should finish.  Similarly, some of the storylines in the novels might be trigger points for you (I've got another blog in the works that may remedy that).  Some might remind you of your own life or someone you know.  But I encourage you to stay with it if the story appeals to you in some way.  If not...move on to another one.
     
     Here's a brief suggestion list for each book.  Choose the one that best suits what you want and/or need in the moment.  Let it sink in...and enjoy the journey!

You might want to start with SURFACING if:
*You have a brother
*You're a single woman trying to figure out who and where you're supposed to be as an adult
*You have a love/hate relationship with your past

You might want to start with SEVEN GENERATIONS if:
*You have unfinished business with one or both parents
*You have a younger sibling who both delights and challenges you
*You like coming-of-age stories
*You can see common characteristics in your grandmother, your mother, and yourself

You might want to start with A TAPESTRY OF TRUTH if:
*You like dark, twisty plot lines
*You're a fan of Mad Men and love/hate Betty Draper
*You love a story that covers a wide span of time with an American cultural background
*You're a fan of the anti-hero

You might want to start with COMMON THREADS if:
*You like your female narrators smart, smart-mouthed, and determined
*You wish you could start your life all over again
*You've read A TAPESTRY OF TRUTH and think, "I'd like to know more about that minor character, Brynn."
*You like a book that's mostly dialogue and is told through the evolution of relationships

     As always, thank you for your emails, comments, reviews, and your help in spreading the news about my work.  I've often said it takes a village to grow a writer.  Now it's time to enjoy the harvest!