Hi everyone –
Please welcome my guest today, author Kelley Armstrong.
The 9th book in my Otherworld series came out last week. For it, I deviated from my usual 1st person narration and wrote it in 3rd with multiple viewpoints because that’s how this particular story needed to be told.
I know I will have some readers who read it and say “What the hell was she thinking?” I know I’ll have some readers who are disappointed. And the thing is, I knew that before I started the book, and I wrote it anyway.
That decision didn’t come easy for me. Whenever I change things in my series—the narrator, the tone, the narrative format—there’s a part of me that throws up screaming red stop signs. That part tells me to play it safe, don’t make waves, just give the readers what I know they want and save myself from angry Amazon reviewers. This time, that part was telling me to write a Cassandra or Savannah book—you know readers are waiting for that, Kelley. Or an Elena book—can’t go wrong with Elena, Kelley. So what if I don’t have a good plot idea for those narrators. Make something up. Who cares if it sucks and I’m embarrassed by it. Readers will buy it!
The problem is that, when I decided to turn Bitten into a series, I made myself promise one thing—that I would never let it devolve into “churning out crappy books because I know loyal readers will buy them.” I decided I would never play it safe, and started down that road with book 3, by changing the narrator.
What readers want is important to me. Who am I writing for if not my readers? But keeping readers happy also means keeping the series alive and fresh, and sometimes, to do that, I need to take a risk.
In their review of this latest book, Booklist said “Rarely is the ninth book in a series as fresh and entertaining as the first, but this Women of the Otherworld volume defies the odds.” And that is exactly what I want to hear.
I know, however, that not every reader will echo Booklist’s sentiments. And that’s why, when I went to a convention in Alaska last year and thought of a great idea for an Elena book, I jumped on it for book #10. Because I do want to please readers. Sometimes, though, doing that in the long-term, by keeping a series healthy, means doing something riskier in the short term. But the alternative is to play it safe, and that’s something I don’t ever want to do.