Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On writing more than one series Pt II

By Carola Dunn

In Part I, I wrote that I doubted my second mystery series, the Cornish Mysteries, would ever be as popular as the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries.

I still think that's probably true, but in the last couple of days I've had a lot of positive response after posting the cover art and copy on Facebook:

The Valley of the Shadow 

After many years of living and working in the far corners of the world, Eleanor Trewynn recently retired and moved to the small town of Port Mabyn in Cornwall. There, close to friends and family – particularly her niece Megan Pencarrow, a Detective Sergeant with the local police - Eleanor planned a quiet life for herself and dog Teazle, Though, through no fault of her own, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

On one beautiful September day, while out for a walk along the seaside cliffs nearby, Eleanor, Megan, and Eleanor’s artist neighbor Nick spot a half-drowned Indian man floating in the water. Unconscious and barely alive, without any papers or identification on him, the young man is whisked away to a hospital. Meanwhile, Eleanor and Megan try to find out who he is and how he ended up in the water in such a remote area. While they have very little information to go on, circumstances suggest that the man may not have been alone and that many lives may depend on their finding the people he left behind.

Lots of readers say they love the series. What's more, though it won't be out in the US till December (UK April), several people have already preordered! It's very encouraging.

In the meantime, the first in the series, Manna from Hades, is coming out in  trade paperback in October, with a new cover to match Valley of the Shadow.

 It's not really fair to compare the two series when one has been out in paperback for ages and the other hasn't. On the other hand, the two Cornish books have been on Kindle and Nook since they came out, whereas the first four Daisy books have only been e-booked for a few weeks...

To tell the truth, with 55 books published, I long ago gave up trying to keep track of numbers.

So what is the biggest problem with writing two series? As far as mine are concerned, it's that they're set in different periods, Daisy in the 1920s and the Cornish books around 1970. Different clothes, different slang, different expectations for women--Megan couldn't conceivably have been a police detective in the '20s, and contrariwise, in 1970 no one would have expected Daisy to give up working just because she was married (On the other hand, Daisy has a nanny to look after her children and a housekeeper to look after the dog while she's busy catching murderers). I spend a lot of time researching the forensic capabilities of the police in the 1920s and then have to readjust to what was possible in 1970. 

It's fun and interesting and one reason I started the new series. I'd enjoyed the process before when I switched periods from Regencies (early 1800s) to Daisy and the 1920s.

As well as the time change, I moved from a main character in her twenties (age) to one in her sixties. I thought it was about time I caught up with myself!


Jaden Terrell said...

Carola, it sounds like a challenge to keep the two eras straight. Though it might be even harder if they were closer together, like, say, the 80s and the 2000s.

Those are beautiful covers. I especially love those eye-catching covers.

Carola Dunn said...

They are eyecatching, if not particularly Cornish!
I hadn't thought about closer together in time being more difficult. You're probably right. What I didn't say was that I'm being slightly vague about the exact dates in the Cornish series. After 30 years of nitpicking research, I decided to give myself a little leeway, so I say in a foreword that they're set in the 1960s/70s, somewhere between my childhood memories of Cornwall and the present reality.