It’s always gratifying to know how excited readers are when a new In Death book comes out. I’m so grateful for the loyalty of the readership, and hope–every time–those readers will enjoy the book.
I understand some will enjoy any given book more than another. Some will be delighted with it, others a little disappointed. Or completely dissatisfied.
That’s the individuality of reading.
However. Every time a new book in this series comes out, I get numerous–NUMEROUS–comments of this variety:
I loved the book. Just gobbled it up. It was so good. But, there wasn’t enough (name that recurring character). I really felt something was missing. I really wish you’d have made more time for (name that recurring character or those recurring characters).
Okay, while in real time there’s about a six-month wait between books–I have to write them–in book time days have passed, maybe a week or two. Do you see all your pals on a daily basis? I suspect most of us aren’t like the cast of How I Met Your Mother, having drinks and adventures together pretty much every day.
If I made room in the story, every story, for everyone’s favorite recurring character, the story would revolve around them, not around the life and times of a murder cop (hello, murder cop) investigating, and interacting with Roarke, her partner, and whoever among those recurring characters has something to do/say/add to that specific storyline.
It’s one thing to be dissatisfied with the story itself, the writing, but to complain–again and again–because there wasn’t enough Feeney, or there was no Mavis, or why can’t this new character come back and join the NYPSD–when Deputy Banner has a life and career of his own in Arkansas (which I thought was illustrated pretty well in the storyline).
Another refrain, oft-sung: Nadine should find the love of her life.
No, says the creator, she shouldn’t. If and when she does, it’s because she’s ready, I’m ready, and the story calls for it.
Morris should find a new love.
No, he shouldn’t. He’s still grieving, and he’s not looking for a new love. When and if he does, (and for me that’s clearly if, not when) it will NOT be DeWinter. Which again, I think has been illustrated pretty clearly.
There should be more babies, more weddings, more people should hook up–either casually or for true love.
This is not what I’m writing or want to write in this series. Murder cop, investigating. Murder cop and her former criminal husband learning how to deal with marriage. Murder cop learning how to evolve and deal with friendships. But murder cop is the key. Outside romances are not.
I felt maybe I needed to address the simple fact that for the reader who is looking, primarily, for storylines that include everyone who walks through the books–occasionally or more regularly–and/or having those characters fall in love, get married, have babies, and so on, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
Is it possible another recurring character will enter a relationship? Of course. But we already have several who have. And for now, that’s more than enough for this series, its direction and its core.
It’s certainly flattering to create a character like Will Banner and have readers relate so strongly to him. But that doesn’t mean this character will suddenly relocate to NY, and Eve will snap her fingers and place him in her squad. I have to think of the big picture, and the big picture reads, to me–that would be out of character for Banner, and unrealistic for Eve.
I appreciate the readers’ investment in the series. It’s a lot of books, over a lot of time. I assure you, I give each book–and where it might take the next–a lot of thought. I give the plot, the story arc, the characters a lot of thought. If some of those characters don’t weave through a particular book, it’s because they were busy doing something else off page. Because they weren’t needed.
While I really want you to enjoy each book, and the series as a whole, I can only write them as makes sense to me, and in a way I feel stays true to the characters.
A respectful PS from Laura: Though Nora Roberts does not write as long running a series as JD Robb, a lot of the above should be applied. Trilogies end because the story/quest is finished as Nora envisioned it and another set of characters await. As for characters who stand out — Forrest in The Liar, Aubrey in the Quinn books, Mrs. G in the Bride Quartet come to mind — they are supporting players in the cast and there are no plans for separate books. I like to say we’ve trusted Nora/JD this far so let’s see where she takes us next.