Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Writing characters from one series into another...?

by Carola

I'm writing about lifeboats at present--a rescue from a cave. Both these types of boat are involved.
D-class inflatable inshore boat

I've had a lot of discussion on Facebook and on my website as to whether it's kosher to name the three lifeboats in my Cornish series mystery after characters in my Daisy Dalrymple series: the Daisy D., the Belinda, and the Lucy. These people, from the 1920s setting, would be in their 50s/70s by the time of the Cornish series.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute is a volunteer organisation. RNLI boats are usually named after the donor(s) or fundraisers of the donations that paid for them. Daisy, her friend Lucy, and her stepdaughter, Belinda, could well have done this.

This is the actual Padstow lifeboat at the time of my story, now retired to Land's End.

The Oakley class--this is a 37'; Padstow actually had a 44', as pictured above.
Lots of readers liked the idea of a nod to the Daisy series. A few didn't like it, but those few had very strong opinions on the subject.

What do you think? Is it a mistake to intrude one series on another, in such a minor way? Maybe next I'll have an older Daisy turn up in Cornwall and meet Eleanor...

All photos courtesy of RNLI


Jean Henry Mead said...

Carola, I see nothing wrong with intertwining two series. It's your work and, unless something's illegal, there's no reason not to.
What's happened to poetic license?

Carola Dunn said...

It's not so much that there's anything wrong with it. JA Jance actually wrote a mystery in which the protags of her two series cooperated on a case. But the readers who disliked the idea REALLY disliked it. My agent thinks it would be ok, though she suggests my dog and my last dog's names for the inflatables! I think I'll see what my editor has to say.

Mark W. Danielson said...

If the US can name ships and airports after living presidents, I see no harm in naming fictional craft after characters.

Jaden Terrell said...

I'm trying to think of why it might be a problem, and the only thing I can come up with is 1) it might take the reader out of the story and remind him/her that it's not real, or 2)It reminds them of the mortality of characters they love.

That said, it seems like a pretty unobtrusive way to acknowledge your other series. If I had a second modern-day, Nashville-based series, I might refer to events and characters from my first, if it made sense for them to cross paths. If there's a logical reason for the boats to have those names, I see no harm in it--and even if there were no connection, there might be other reasons for your characters to name their boats that way. Lucy and Daisy are fairly common names.

Carola Dunn said...

My agent and my editor both like the idea, so I'll probably go with it.