Sunday, October 21, 2012

Writing a Book Series with Award-winning Author Kai Strand

One question I'm asked a lot by beginning writers or readers of children's or YA is do I write series. Over the years it seems more and more authors are writing series be it a children's picture book or young adult novel. 

I believe there are a few reasons why this is happening. The first and most common reason is because the main storyline/plot is too big to wrap up in one book with enough details being shared with the reader. The second reason is some characters in picture books to young adult novels are so beloved the author keeps finding new situations and plots for their main character.

This is why I asked friend and award-winning author Kai Strand to share her thoughts on writing a book series.

People love a good series, but especially kids. If they’ve discovered they like a book, its setting, its characters, they trust they’ll like any other book which offer the more of the same. I’ve written two distinctly different kinds of series.

My first published book, The Weaver, is set in a fictional village called The Tales. The villagers speak in story and call themselves word weavers. The main character, Mary Wordsmith, meets a strange little creature named, Unwanted. A rather pathetic creature--half gnome, half elf--speaks strangely, is difficult to look at and has little patience for humans. However, he grants Mary a wish. Unfortunately for her, it goes a little haywire.

After the release of The Weaver, the question I heard most frequently from readers was, “Will Unwanted be returning to cause more magical mischief in future books?” Frankly, I hadn’t even considered making The Weaver into a series. Mary’s story was thoroughly finished. There was no reason for her and Unwanted to meet again. However, I did love the lyrical village filled with word weavers. That’s when I realized the main character isn’t always the one to return in a series.

With Molly Minstrel as my new main character, who has some serious family issues to overcome, The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale was born. When Molly meets Unwanted, she wishes her family troubles away. Unfortunately, the magic seems to have no affect on her situation and she is forced to decide whether to endure the ill-mannered treatment or to try to change her situation.

So in the Weaver Tales, the setting and the misunderstood gnome-elf, Unwanted, make a repeat appearance. This means that each book is a stand alone story and they don’t need to be read in any special order.

Next year, my young adult super villain novel, King of Bad, comes out. It’s about sixteen-year-old pyromaniac, Jeff Mean, who likes to charm the ladies and skip school. When he’s recruited by Super Villain Academy--where you learn to be good at being bad--he’s worried that he isn’t bad enough to keep up with other villains.  He’s bullied, kidnapped, he makes friends, crushes on a girl and he’s responsible for changing the balance of good verses bad. Though Jeff’s King of Bad story is complete, the end of the book doesn’t finish his overall story. The second book in the series features Jeff, his friends and foes dealing with a whole new set of issues.

So you see, there are different ways to structure a series. If you’re considering reading one, find out what ties the series together so that you know what to expect at the end of each book. There is nothing more frustrating to a reader then expecting a story to be all wrapped up in the end only to learn there is a big cliff hanger!

About Author Kai Strand: 
Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page

You can find out more about Kai Strand and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit

1 comment:

Janet Ann Collins said...

Kai is certainly right about the frustration of books that end with cliff hangers. When I read one that does that I never consider reading anything else by that author. But she's a good writer and I'm sure her series won't play any dirty tricks on her readers.