Friday, May 20, 2011

The Bookish Snob Promotions Guest Post: John G Hartness author of A Hard Day's Knight

Writing a Series

By John G. Hartness

I started writing a series because that’s what I read. I trace it all back to two things - The Lord of the Rings and comic books. I’ve been a huge comic nerd all my life, and I really fell in love with books like The X-Men early on. I love how you can become emotionally invested in what’s going on with the characters over a series, how things that happen in one books (or issue) lead into then next, how there are little hints in early books of things that happen later on that you don’t get until they hit you in the face two books later and then POW! you’re all surprised and shocked and awed and stuff.

So after I wrote my first book, The Chosen, I decided that I wanted to stretch out the lives of a set of characters. So I started with my leads. Jimmy and Greg are totally guys that I could hang out with, so I figured I wouldn’t mind living with them in my head for a few years. Then I added some other characters for balance, like Mike and Sabrina, and started to roll. A cameo here and there, but the core group was set at four players. That’s really as big a group as I can handle dialogue for anyway, so it works.

The things I love about writing the series are the characters. I really love seeing what these people get up to, and I love torturing them! I love putting them in awful situations, and seeing how they’ll get out of them. And being the writer, I can manipulate the laws of physics as I see fit, which helps a lot.

One of the other things I love is planting seeds early on about things that are going to happen later in the series. I already know who the “big bad” will be for Book 5 or 6, and they’re introduced by the midpoint of Book 3 (coming this summer!). And hopefully, when I pull that curtain aside and reveal the creature behind it, folks will say “that makes sense” instead of saying “what a copout!” There are other, little things that I plant in early books that will come to fruition later on, and a few cameos that will recur from book to book just to keep playing with my smaller characters that I like.

But the hard part is the continuity. I’m a scatterbrain in real life, so in my writing I have to keep copious notes. Fortunately I found a program called Scrivener, which helps me keep all my outlines and notes together in one place, and I can move them between documents whenever I start a new book. Without that my home office would be nothing but a pile of Post-Its! And I’ve found (or more precisely, had readers find) continuity errors that I’ve had to go back in and fix. That’s the benefit of being an indie author - my print runs are small enough that I can do that. It’s also the curse of being an indie author - fewer eyes to go across a manuscript before I upload it to Kindle or do a print run.

So writing a series lets me continue to spend time with characters that I enjoy, and to develop them more slowly, the way you can develop a character over multiple seasons of a TV show as opposed to in a two-hour movie. I hope my readers have as much fun hanging out with my characters as I do!

Author Info: John G. Hartness is a recovering theatre geek who likes loud music, fried pickles and cold beer. He’s been published or accepted online in several journals including The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, cc&d, Deuce Coupe and Truckin’.

His first novel, The Chosen, is an urban fantasy about saving the world, snotty archangels, gambling, tattooed street preachers, immortals with family issues, bar brawls and the consequences of our decisions.

He followed up The Chosen with Hard Day’s Knight, a new twist on the vampire detective novel and the first in a planned series of at least five books. The second book of The Black Knight Chronicles, Back in Black, landed in March 2011 and has enjoyed immediate success.

John has been called “the Kevin Smith of Charlotte,” and fans of Joss Whedon and Jim Butcher should enjoy his snarky slant on the fantasy genre. His next novel, Knight Moves (Black Knight Chronicles Vol. 3) is due out in the summer of 2011.

He can be found online at and spends too much time on Twitter, especially after a few drinks.

Next stop on the tour: May 21- Paranormal Opinion
Buy The Book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble


Belinda said...

I can imagine that letting go of beloved characters is rough for writer's as well, just the same for readers. I love reading series and being able to delve deeper so I say keep writing! LOL

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many characters I can have living in my head, hmmm... ok so maybe I shouldn't wonder :)


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