Let’s Talk with Diane A.S. Stuckart

THE BEAT GOES ON…SOMEWHERE
By Diane A.S. Stuckart

Many authors refer to their books as their babies, acting appalled when an interviewer asks which story is their favorite. (You wouldn’t ask me which of my children I like best, would you?) And there is some rationale to that comparison. Books are, in a sense, born from the author’s psyche. The stories and characters are thrust into the world figuratively coated in the writer’s own blood, tears and sweat, as a certain British Prime Minister might have so graphically put it.

So when an author’s series comes to an end, she feels an actual sense of loss. After all, she’s been living with these characters for years, giving them space in her head, and in her heart. It’s rather like when a friend moves far away. You swear you’ll keep in touch, but your relationship will never be quite the same. You’ll still have your old memories (the books that have already been published) but chances are you won’t be making new ones with these particular characters ever again.

I’ve been there and done that for three series now, and it’s not gotten easier, particularly since the decision to call it quits has never been mine. Worse, after the justifiable anger and disbelief that comes with encountering yet another unfortunate snag in one’s writing career, I invariably find myself swept by another emotion…guilt.

Yep, I feel guilty knowing that my characters had more tales to tell, more story arcs to traverse, more witty dialogue to exchange, and yet they will never be able to share these things with my readers. Had these series continued, certain of my characters would have found new romance, would have made new friends, maybe left unsatisfying relationships behind. And, of course, since they are murder mystery series characters, I saw them stumbling over still more bodies and solving even more crimes. They didn’t get to live out their full character lives, for which I blame myself.

I’m tempted, at times, to write a little coda to each cancelled series and post it on my website so that my readers can know what I’d planned for my fictional offspring had their publishing lives not been cut short. But so far, I’ve not done that. Because maybe it’s better to let the readers create their own future for the characters that they, too, have come to think of as friends. Besides, as long as even one new reader somewhere is enjoying their stories for the first time, my characters continue to live on.

Have you ever let your imagination go wild and made up new adventures for your favorite literary characters?

While you’re here, check out our May Book Vault. Lots of cool books for our winning entrant to select from during the May 1-18, 2019 contest. Click here to visit our contest page.

 

Comments

  1. Susan Atkins says

    I just finished the Fools Moon that I won. I loved it. I love the interaction of the animals with each other as well as the characters that are really great. I give it a 4.5

  2. I try to imagine different situations they can get up to but I’m not very creative. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  3. karaleigh2 says

    If there’s not a satisfactory ending, I make up my own happy one! Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  4. I don’t make up adventures for my favorite literary characters. Instead, I enter their worlds in my daydreams. For example, I might end up on the bridge of the Enterprise (okay, that’s a tv series) or in a setting suitable to a historical romance heroine. I like to play with what would happen in these circumstances. As to cancelled series, it hurts when readers think the writer is to blame for not continuing the stories. For this reason, I am honest with fans about what has happened. And today, you don’t ever have to say goodbye if you really want to keep on. You have the option to indie publish the sequels or add short stories or novellas to complete the character arcs.

    • LOL, I used to do that with my favorite TV series, until I started writing. And then all my creativity had to go there. Unfortunately, depending on contract restrictions, unfortunately you can’t always take those characters with you. 🙁

  5. Maggie Toussaint says

    I feel your pain. I’ve been orphaned by a publishing house before, but it wasn’t just me, it was their entire mystery line. It took a bit to recover from that professional and emotional setback. I have written more in a series later. Sometimes the early characters speak louder than the other voices and we have to honor that. Recently at a writing retreat I was challenged to write an alternate ending for a literary work. I came up with a groundhog day/ quantum leap moment between realities of time travel for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz because she needed more adventures.

  6. Jo Ann Hunter says

    Yes I have. I have some great ideas for stories of my own, but don’t know where to start. I’ve read some books that I thought if I had a character like that this is what I’d do. Well you know what they say if you haven’t read the perfect book write it so I’m coming up with characters of My Own.

  7. authorlois says

    There have been many changes in publishing over the last decade, some good, some detrimental to authors and the lives they’ve created between the covers of their books. But we now have the opportunity, if we desire, to keep our characters alive, even if our publishers have decided to kill them off by not extending new contracts or by folding entire lines. You should consider continuing to publish your characters’ stories on your own, Cheryl. I’m sure it will make many of your fans extremely happy.

    • authorlois says

      Oops! That comment should have been directed to Diane, not Cheryl. Definitely time for that second cup of coffee! 😉

    • Unfortunately, sometimes depending on contract restrictions, the author isn’t able to do so. But I’m considering spinning off some characters from one of my cancelled series into a new (and darker) series, since I think technically I’d be skirting the issue. Hope you found that second cup!!

  8. cherylhollon says

    I make up new adventures for characters that I love. They often get married, buy a house, have lovely children, take fabulous vacations and in general live happily ever after. It’s fun for me!