The Because You Are Mine series
In writing the story arc that began in Because You Are Mine, grew in When I’m With You, coming to a big climax in Because We Belong, and continuing with another couple in Since I Saw You, it was necessary for me to shift my primary characters in and out of the spotlight. Ian and Francesca were the main hero and heroine in the first book, Elise and Lucien take center stage in the second, and things move back to Ian and Francesca’s unfolding story in Because We Belong, the third book which releases this November. A character is introduced in Because We Belong, Kam Reardon, whom I just knew I had to tell a story about, and so Since I Saw You unfolded. This was a unique and fun writing experience for me. I have written stories where the main characters move into secondary roles in subsequent books while another blooming romance is the focus. This is the first time, however, that I’ve had the original couple take center stage again as a result of what happened in book two.
One of the complications that comes from writing the same couple as the main hero and heroine in book after book is sustaining a sense of romantic and sexual tension. The last thing a writer wants to do is write the same scenes or scenarios over and over, or make the reader bored with limp sexual tension. Recently, I was watching the writers from the hugely successful television show Friends talk about why they had to break up the romance of Ross and Rachel early on in the series. With the two becoming involved early on, the show had gone ‘flat’ in their opinion. They decided to break up the couple, maintain the spark throughout the series, making the final episodes when Ross and Rachel finally get together have an even richer payoff.
It’s a tricky thing, doing what writers such as Diana Gabaldon did so successfully in the Outlander series, keeping us interested in Claire and Jamie’s romance for several books in a row. It’s a challenge most writers don’t attempt, but instead write series with a common world and characters that move from secondary to primary roles, such as in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. With the recent success of series such as Sylvia Day’s Crossfire novels, however, readers are becoming accustomed to reading the same hero and heroine across the story arc of several books, and love the consistency. I thought it would be a unique and interesting challenge to combine the two styles, allowing the camera to focus on one couple, then another, and then going back to the first, and then swinging to yet another couple.
The exciting thing about the series this way was that the second couple’s romance—Lucien and Elise’s—while unique and particular to them, was the spark that created the conflict that led to the camera lens swinging back to the original couple, Ian and Francesca. But it’s more than just conflict in the negative sense. Lucien’s backstory and search is what leads to an opportunity for enrichment and deepening of all the characters in the Because You Are Mine series. Yes, strife and anxiety have entered Ian and Francesca’s world again in When I’m With You, but it’s giving this special couple the unique chance to address and resolve old insecurities and heal wounds, to discover an enduring happily ever after. This is especially true for Ian, who carries deep scars and uncertainties from a tragic, shadowy past, and whom I firmly believed deserved an opportunity to present himself to Francesca, whole and free of self-doubt.
The satisfying thing for me at the culmination of When I’m With You is that because of the characters moving in and out of the spotlight, I was able to end the book not only with a conflict that begged to be resolved in Ian and Francesca’s case, but a sweet, passionate conclusion for Lucien and Elise.
Balancing the two energies of tension and security is always a romance writer’s challenge, and one that I had fun maintaining while the couples moved in and out—and back into—the spotlight. What’s even more fun is to re-read the books and see the action and rising conflict going on with one couple that we weren’t aware of when in the other couple’s point of view.
Do you like series? Would you like them to feature a common world and with different main characters, or would you prefer to see the same hero and heroine in each book? Or are you a fan of the single title?