Jane and I had dinner with the delightful and very savvy Abbi Glines last night. During the course of a delicious meal of tapas-like small plates at ABC Cocina (which, in case you’re wondering, we liked better than ABC Kitchen, its sister restaurant), we talked about a number of interesting topics, from trends in fiction categories—ever elusive and often fleeting—to the lasting power of series. Abbi pointed out that series can get tired after a while and that readers get tired of the characters right along with them, so an author needs to know when to move on to new pastures.
This reminded me of my love of Patricia Cornwell’s early Scarpetta books and how tedious I found the later ones, Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries which I lost interest in at about the letter G, and that by the time my son and I were at the 24th Magic Tree House book, I was ready to chuck them all out the window. It’s possible that I just have a short attention span, but, Richelle Mead’s wonderful Vampire Academy series, for instance, kept me hooked up to the very last page of the final installment.
So, is it that authors don’t know when to put a cash cow out to graze and so keep adding books to a successful series even when the characters would much rather have retired to their home in Florida? Or is it the readership that is so enamored of the characters and their universe that they keep clamoring for more even after the passion has faded?
Do you read every book in a series or do you find your attention wandering to that fresh, bright newcomer on the next shelf? And do your favorite series authors maintain their effectiveness over numerous titles?