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The Roosevelt Series, and an Author’s Meditation About Series in General
Carry the Ocean was never meant to be a series. I wasn’t even sure it would survive as a novel for a few months of initial drafting. When I sold it, my editor asked, “Is this a series?” Confidently I said, “Nope. It’s standalone.”
A few months later I was in act three and had to write her to say, “Um, so about what I said about this book. It actually is first in a series.”
I put this entirely down to David, who showed up with all the sparkle of Randy Jansen. I thought I was safe because David was straight. Hugely accepting, but unflinching in his orientation. But in researching his character—David is a C4 quadriplegic—I came to realize he had a huge story, that his falling in love was very important to him and a tale worthy of telling. I also acknowledged I was reluctant to leave the Roosevelt world and wanted to see what happened to everyone after a bit of time passed. I also got some insight into the character who will be one of the main POV characters in book four. So a series it was.
I love series. I love to read them, love to write them. It’s rare for me to not envision follow-up books, and it’s hard for me to end series. Rarely will I commit to “no more” in a set of books. I always want more to tell and can often find it. It’s also lovely to be able to walk back into a world rather that build it up first. I know a number of readers love series too.
The problem with me and series, though, and why I have two books on deck I keep saying, “No, really, this is standalone” and why I’ve now firmly said Nowhere Ranch will not have a sequel—is it takes time to write them. Lots of time. And when you have as many series as I have going, you can’t ever get new work in, you can’t update a series more than once a year, and some series have to have pauses. Big ones.
Right now I’m averaging four books out a year, three if you don’t count re-releases. Most of my books are 100,000 or more, and my “short” ones are 60-80k. The short ones take a bare minimum of three months to write, and the long ones average nine months. This means I’m often writing several at once, selling always on partial, then sweating like crazy to make sure I don’t screw up the system by being late. It’s part of the reason I self-pubbed Nowhere Ranch for its re-release and why it descended out of nowhere just now, fast and furious and nearly crippling me behind the scenes as I finished a Christmas book, ramped up the tour for Carry the Ocean, and learned self-publishing on the fly. And had a sick horse, sick cat, and my own health nonsense to manage.
There’s no real answer to the series conundrum. I’ll always write as many as I can, and in my head there are always extra chapters. I try to write fast, because I have in my head more stories planned than I could jot down in a life, but there’s a point where one goes too fast, and the work suffers. So for now I’ll carry on as I’ve been doing. Trying to make each book standalone, getting seduced by the Randys and Davids and Walters who come my way.
To be honest, it’s always representatives of that archetype who lure me into “one more book.” Because they’re charming, persuasive—and always, always my favorites.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Roosevelt, Book 1
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
The grand prize this time is a signed copy of Carry the Ocean in paperback, a Blu-ray of The Blues Brothers, an Iowa State magnet, and Carry the Ocean scrapbook art. It’s made by Susan Romito, and it’s absolutely stunning. Click HERE for a little video so you can get a better idea of how it opens up.
LINK TO ENTER:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.