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The Retro-Coolness of the Serial Novel by Anne Calhoun+Giveaway!
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Mad Men, Pan Am, and vintage chic…retro is in! Let’s take a trip to the not-so-distant past, gentle reader, before big box stores, when books were a luxury item for the average household and, in the pre-Internet, pre-automobile era, cumbersome and expensive for publishers to distribute widely. Back then authors faced a challenge similar to today: how do I reach new markets and entice readers to buy my books?

Writers including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Henry James, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert, and Harriet Beecher Stowe found an answer: their work appeared in magazines such as The Strand, Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, and the Saturday Evening Post in serialized format. The practice was so common that authors often structured their work into magazine-length chunks, and so coveted as a way to build readership that only the best authors had their works serialized first.

Readers benefited, too. Families would gather to read the latest installment aloud, rationing out the monthly pages, savoring the plot and character development, eagerly anticipating the resolution of an existing plot problem and the inevitable cliffhanger building suspense for the next month, until the work came to an end. Novel-length stories were few and far between so the ones available in any format were coveted, savored, chewed over, shared between households. They became part of communal living.

When I first heard Because You Are Mine was coming out in serial format from Berkley’s Intermix line, my first thought was how cool. I love anticipation. I love to savor a slow reveal, waiting for the next delicious thing to maybe-just-sort-of-happen-oh-yes-it-just-did. My favorite story from Suzanne Brockmann is Gone Too Far, the resolution of Sam and Alyssa’s passionate, turbulent romance, but I really loved the torture she put them through in the previous five books. The scene where Sam tells Alyssa he’s knocked up the SEAL-groupie still lives in my memory, him in a t-shirt and jeans because when he got the news he got on a plane still dirty from working on his car, her all dressed up for a night out with him…a night that won’t happen. Talk about a cliffhanger!

I just finished a major backlist glom of Karin Slaughter’s intertwined series (Grant County/Will Trent), and one of the things I loved about the books was how I grew to care about the characters and wanted to know what happened next. These are thrillers, so unlike a romance novel where the main characters’ love story is settled at the end of the book, we literally have to read the next book to find out what happens to them. I kept buying books because I had to know how the characters’ lives turned out, even knowing characters I care about will die. I’m committed. I’m involved.

We’ve gotten a little bit jaded about getting stuff Right Now. I freely admit I was grateful for the interwebs, free wifi, and my Kindle when I had to have a Karin Slaughter book for the day-long trip home from Canada. But I kind of miss the days (or years) when I’d finish one author’s book and realize I had a long, long wait for the next one. I’d recommend the book just to have someone to talk to about it, and I feel like the characters lived on longer in my memory because they were harder to come by. Now I tend to finish one book and immediately start the next.

But not the Because You Are Mine series. For the next few weeks I have to wait, and even a mere week between each release makes me a little nostalgic. Not even knowing there will be a HEA stops me from immersing myself in great characters, a compelling plot, and that nagging little question of how they’ll get from sparks to HEA. I know I’m hooked but good when I want to grab someone and say, “Did you read this? No? I’ll gift you a copy so you can read it!”

Anticipation is retro-cool, and unlike earlier readers, you only have to wait a week for the next installment. So grab a copy and settle in. Read slowly, savor the way the heat and relationship build, the way they explore each other and themselves to earn their HEA.

Good things come to those who wait. 😉

After doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, Anne landed in a flyover state, where she traded business casual for yoga pants and decided to write down all the lively story ideas that got her through years of monotonous corporate meetings. Her first book, LIBERATING LACEY won the EPIC Award for Best Contemporary Erotic Romance. Her story WHAT SHE NEEDS was chosen for Smart Bitch Sarah’s Sizzling Book Club. Anne holds a BA in History and English, and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University. When she’s not writing her hobbies include reading, knitting, and yoga. She lives in the Midwest with her family and singlehandedly supports her local Starbucks.

Find out more about Anne’s books here!

Thanks to Anne for stopping by my blog! Please leave her a comment relevant to her post to qualify for a giveaway! In honor of Anne’s visit, I’ll gift an ebook copy of BOTH winner’s choice of an installment of an already released BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE part AND winner’s choice of a one of Anne’s backlist, which you can find here!

6 comments to “The Retro-Coolness of the Serial Novel by Anne Calhoun+Giveaway!”

  1. Shannon Owens
      · August 15th, 2012 at 10:55 am · Link

    Anne, I knoe what you mean there is something fun and exciting anouy thr anticipation of the next book in a series, I have learned to savor that book and not read it in one day as much as I want to, lol!! I am a lover.og series books and many of the authors I read are a year between books do it is hard. It’s also sad when a series ends as a reader, we get soo invested in these characters. We feel like a loss of “family” well I have. Thank you for the great blog, I have not read your books but will be adding you now. Best wishes!!! Shannon shannonowens92@yahoo.com

  2. Aymee
      · August 15th, 2012 at 11:41 am · Link

    Great post and you’re so right – we’re so used to that instant gratification that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to savor what’s just happened and let it tumble around in our heads while waiting for the next installment.

    My poor husband suffers greatly because of this, however. He’s a great lover of fantasy and all his favorite authors seem to take at least three years between novels… Hah. 🙂

  3. Amelia
      · August 15th, 2012 at 2:26 pm · Link

    I’m eagerly awaiting next week’s installment of Because You Are Mine.

  4. ClaudiaGC
      · August 15th, 2012 at 2:45 pm · Link

    I have to admit I’m not made for cliffhangers. 🙂 I wait till all the parts of Because You’re Mine are published so I can read them in one go.

  5. Rachelle
      · August 15th, 2012 at 4:52 pm · Link

    Great article! Gave me great insight as to why I should change my mind and take the plunge into this series. I don’t want to be one of those instant gratification “people”. LOL. Thanks for the article and I’ll definitely add you to my list of reads!

  6. Adisty
      · August 19th, 2012 at 6:33 am · Link

    Hi, great post! Honestly, I didn’t like left in cliffhangers. I prefer to wait until it was done and after that I will take the plunge.

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