Connected Characters or Fresh Faces?

11 Jan

All romance readers know about trilogies and series. I think many readers love them, in fact. Reading three or four intertwines books makes a reader feel extra-connected to the plot, the characters, the world. It’s a way to sort of let the characters you love live on for a little longer in your imagination. Awesome, right?

But does this ever get old? Or do you grasp on to every tidbit, every small connection in future books to help you linger with characters you enjoy.

Some books are one-and-done. You get the hero and heroine, they do their thing, they fall in love, they’re going to live happy ever after, and then you close the book. You know the next book you pick up from this author will not have anything of those characters or their world built into it. Nora Roberts’ hardback books are good examples of this. You know without a doubt that when you open that hardback book, you are opening a bubble in which those main characters live. When you close that book, the characters stay there. They aren’t mentioned again in later books.

Other books, you’ve seen some characters hundreds of times already. Mentioned in passing, or the sister of the hero from another book, or it’s the town you already know and love. Linda Lael Miller is a great example of this. The Creeds and McKettricks and O’Ballivans appear in almost every single book of hers in some form. In the erotic romance community names like Lorelei James’ Rough Riders and Mari Carr’s Wild Irish come to mind. Each individual book has their own set hero and heroine. But the odds are, they’re connected to previous books (even if they weren’t in the same trilogy) and you’ve heard their names before.

So, which hits home for you? Do you like when an author can extend the life of a group of characters by having connected book after book after book? Or do you want to open a story and know you’re walking into a  fresh faced, brand new cash that you get to learn all about from the beginning?



KJ Reed is a contemporary erotic romance author who also is a habitual series reader. Make a book a trilogy and you’ve hooked her. You can find more about KJ at her website,

One Response to “Connected Characters or Fresh Faces?”

  1. shannonemmel January 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    I have to admit… I enjoy both!

    It’s nice to finish a book and know it’s complete with no loose ends, but at the same time, there always seems to be that ONE character who peaked your interest and you finish the final page and think, “I wonder what happened to…”

    I like related titles because after you’ve fallen in love with the charaters in one book and it’s over, you don’t really want to say goodbye. Related titles let them stop in and say, “Hi”, just to let you know that they are alive and well and still as delicious as ever.

    They become “family” and you want to keep in touch, stay connected to them. One of my favorites is the “Skye O’Malley” saga, by Bertrice Small. She showed us Skye through several relationships and marriages and then followed her fiesty prodginy through to GREAT GRAND CHILDREN!

    So…if I’m truthful, I think I’d have to say that I prefer related titles because they are satifying as stand alones AND they give me something to look forward to at the same time!

    Great post, KJ!

    –Shannon Emmel

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