Lauren Jameson talks serials!


Amidst the wonderful rush of writing AHW2, trying to unpack from a month-long jaunt into the desert, and psyching myself up to edit a certain BDSM anthology story, I asked my buddy Lauren Jameson/Hawkeye to write me a guest blog post. The story of how I met Miss Lauren is funny and sheerly happenstance, but she’s become one of my best buds (despite her being thousands of miles away in Canada!) and we chat via email or iMessage daily. She also has a new serial out and this is her journey into that particularly awesome format:

Sometimes fate is delightful. Here’s the story behind that opinion.

Early last year, I was contacted by my Avon/ Harper Collins editor and asked if I would be interested in taking part in another anthology, this one with a spring break theme. She said that they had one other author lined up, and her name was Sara Fawkes. I had been under deadline, and was still working my day job. My response was “Sara who? Well, doesn’t matter; I’m sure she’s great. Sure, I’m in.”

Fast forward to July, the RWA conference in Anaheim, California. My two roomies came back from their dinner and said “Guess what just happened? We were eating at the Cheesecake Factory, talking about writing, when this sweet lady came up and shyly asked if we were with the conference. Then she told us about her mind blowing journey of self publishing her serial.”

Serial, I thought? What’s that? I thought that *might* make me sound dumb, though, so I kept that question to myself and instead asked “What’s her name?”

“Sara Fawkes.”

Ding ding, went my little brain. Hey, isn’t that that other author in the Avon antho? I should get hold of her so we can meet up.

We met for breakfast the next morning, and I was psyched to discover that my new bud was, in a word, awesomesauce. Truly, Ms. Sara Fawkes is one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. For a woman who comes across as the girl next door, this motorcycle riding chica has a wicked (dirty!) sense of humor, a generous heart, and is incredibly shrewd about this industry.

I’ve been a part of this industry for several years, but somehow I’d missed the new serial craze that Sara helped to start. Listening to her talk about the format was enlightening. My brain started working away. I already wrote billionaires and BDSM. But I’d never contemplated a serial. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. As an author on contract, quite often you’re working on projects that you came up with months earlier. You write the book, and then forget about it for another several months—often it can be a year or more until that story hits the shelves.

The thought of self publishing a serialized novel, of that immediate excitement, was intoxicating. In the airport on the way home from Anaheim I started plotted, then writing. When I got home I downloaded Sara’s stories to see how she’d paced them—and wound up paying no attention to the pacing whatsoever, because I was so wrapped up in the story. My agent liked the idea. It was a go—we were going to self publish it, and I was ecstatic.

Then I sold a book to Penguin. While my agent was hashing out my options clause with my editor, she mentioned my serial. My editor perked up and asked if she could take a look at it—Penguin, after all, had had great success with Beth Kery’s Because You Are Mine. And so the work began.

Writing a serialized novel was a lot of fun for me. Often I would find myself drafting one part, working on content edits for another, and brainstorming copy as well. It allowed me to write a segment, then go off and work on another contract for a while. It also taught me a lot about pacing, since each installment had to be its own little story as well as falling neatly into the whole.

The end result? I loved it.

Surrender to Temptation hasn’t seen nearly the commercial success of its predecessors, but I’m okay with it, because I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and I’m proud. I also hope I’ll have another chance to work on a serial, because I’m now in love with the format that Sara introduced me to. I don’t have an answer for why serials became so popular when they did, but as the working mom of a toddler, I see the appeal—I love having a chunk that I can devour in one sitting. I like the anticipation of waiting for the next installment, which is not all that different from waiting to see if I’ll get to write another one, LOL!

Surrender to Temptation Part IV: Tempted to Possess is out on Tuesday, February 5. I’d love to know what you think of it! And it’s also contest time: Tweet “Serials rock!” to @LaurenHJameson AND @SaraFawkes in the next week, and you’ll be entered in a draw to win all six installments for your e-reader!

Sara Sez: Aww, thanks Lauren! I keep meaning to do a post about the sudden resurgence of serials, but my brain always skitters off into some creative venture and I get sidetracked. Bad Sara! It’s so interesting to see how a simple experiment of mine, trying out a serialized format like so many fanfiction writers do, has taken off just within the last year. Who could have guessed a style that traditional publishers and most of the reading public thought long dead would make a resurgence in modern times? Certainly not I, but I’m gratified to see it! Check out the first book in Lauren’s new serial Tempted To Submit available as an ebook from all online stores! (and doesn’t she have the more gorgeous covers?!)

I’m neck deep in the beginning of AHW2, so keep an eye on the bar widget to the right of my blog! I’ll try to keep it updated with my progress so far and let you know any details as they happen on release schedules etc. I’ve made you all wait for far too long, now it’s time to power through this baby! 😀