My urban fantasy series is contracted with Kensington Books. The second one comes out in November, the third is in the hands of my editor. I’m only contracted for three books, because my plan was to write three books, wrap the universe up with a nice tidy bow, and move on to something else. Of course, the publisher has the first right of refusal, so they get to look at any further works in this universe should I write them. That’s all well and good, and certainly fair, but it was totally my intention to be like “that’s all, guys!”
So why am I currently writing a fourth book?
Because when I got to the end of the third book, I found I couldn’t wrap it up as neatly as I’d hoped. Also, my characters are still bouncing around in my head like hyperactive toddlers yelling MORE! MOOOORE!
When you write more than one book–and certainly when you write multiple books–about the same people, they start to come alive inside your head. You find out more and more about them as you follow them around, and you want to tell people about the things they do. My protagonist, June Coffin, is written so that she has a huge character arc where she grows and becomes more mature through her experiences and becomes less of a caustic brat. The thing is, now that I’ve turned her into a nice sensible lady (hahaha don’t tell her I said that) I’m more interested in her than ever before and I want to keep writing about her.
I may frame the fourth (and subsequent, dear God) book(s) as a different leg of the series. The main components of the conflict in the first three books are wrapped up by the end of the third book, so beyond that is sort of a new story. There’s also side characters I’d love to write more about and maybe one I’d love to give his own book. Sigh. Now I know why Anne Rice can’t stop writing about her vampires.
Don’t start a series folks, you’ll never stop.