Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WHEN A CHARACTER DEMANDS THEIR OWN SERIES


Wall mural by Alex Perryman.

Have you ever written a story, perhaps a stand-alone story or a secondary character, only to find that the character has lots of adventures to tell? And wants to tell them? 
My guest, L.J. Sellers, tells how a routine research trip for her homicide series ended up with a demanding character, Jamie Dallas, and a new series. I'll let her tell you the tale.


When I sat down with an FBI agent to talk about a story in progress, I was expecting a broad overview of how an eco-terrorist case would be handled. Instead, I learned that my agent-friend had been the lead on the investigation into the Eugene cell of the Earth Liberation Front, an eco-terrorist group that sabotaged and burned businesses across the northwest.

What was most fascinating was that a key component of the investigation was to send an undercover agent to infiltrate the group. As soon as I heard that, I knew I had to incorporate the character and tactic into my story.

So I created Agent Jamie Dallas, a young woman who specializes in undercover work—and has to lie, cheat, steal files, seduce targets, and put on performances to accomplish her goals. Unlike my homicide detective character, Agent Dallas is free to travel. She’s based in Phoenix, but the bureau sends her out on special assignments to infiltrate groups.

She’s also young, unencumbered, and willing to take risks. Once I got inside her head and wrote her part, I had so much fun, she simply demanded her own series. Writing the character has invigorated me, reminding me that I used to be young, adventurous, and seductive. It’s such a blast to put myself back in that mode—then amp it up with a little spying and gunplay.

So now I rotate between the two series, with protagonists who couldn't be more different. Yet I’m equally comfortable writing from both perspectives—as well as many others. Writers tend to have multiple personalities, but I seem to have dozens!

I've now published two Agent Dallas books, each set in a different location. Another great reason to write this series—I get to travel every once in a while for research. In The Trigger, Dallas infiltrates a group of survivalists near Redding, CA to find a missing woman, and in The Target, she gets inside a San Diego medical technology company to solve an agent’s murder and stop a corporate saboteur.
 
I have a third book planned for the fall, as well as a trip to Washington DC. Based on readers’ enthusiastic response, I suspect there will be many more.

One of the greatest joys of writing is to explore facets my own personality and to live vicariously through the adventures of my characters. It’s a great life, and I feel blessed to be a full-time writer with such loyal readers.

                                                                                                                                                            

BUY: AMAZON
Agent Jamie Dallas loves undercover assignments that get her out of the Phoenix Bureau. But her new case is daunting—an FBI agent is mysteriously dead, and a medical device company is targeting competitors with dangerous acts of sabotage. 

Dallas infiltrates TecLife, spies on her new bosses, and tries to steal a sample of their mutant bacteria. But soon her life is in danger when she’s caught in a battle between companies, each hoping to kill the competition while launching a billion-dollar blockbuster. 

Meanwhile, a famous actor is found beaten and murdered in an abandoned cannery, and a young detective lands the case of a lifetime. Determined to bring justice to his favorite star, Detective Cortez follows a trail of evidence that leads to the medical-product war—but he has no idea how deadly it is. 

Can Dallas survive long enough to stop a researcher who’s gone over the edge and save millions of consumers from getting caught in the crossfire? Excerpt

                                                                                                                                             


L.J. Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mysteries—a two-time Readers Favorite Award winner—as well as the Agent Dallas series and provocative standalone thrillers. Her novels have been highly praised by reviewers, and she is one of the highest-rated crime fiction authors on Amazon. L.J. resides in Eugene, Oregon where most of her novels are set and is an award-winning journalist who earned the Grand Neal. When not plotting murders, she enjoys standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes. You can find Linda: Facebook, Twitter, Website




9 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Nice to meet Ms. Sellers. I have noticed when reading some books, or watching certain shows, that some of the ancillary characters are the most compelling! Makes me think of spin-off options :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your books. And what an interesting way to come up with a character.

Unknown said...

What an awesome way to meet a new character. Makes me think more seriously about using some of the "characters" I've met in law. Happy to have discovered your blog & your work.

Drusilla (http://lovedasif.com/)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, LJ!
I wrote one stand alone book, but readers wanted more of that character.

Crystal Collier said...

YES! I love that--when there's more story than a single series can contain. I'm doing the same thing, but branching off with a serial story instead of an entire series. If the fans love specific characters, you should totally go with it, right?

Chrys Fey said...

I love living through my characters. And I love it when my characters demand to be in more stories. I never hold them back. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's how I ended up with five books in my series. There were secondary characters who demanded their story be told.

cleemckenzie said...

Yay! I love female "undercover agents." This sounds wonderful and I enjoyed reading how she came to create Jamie Dallas.

Stephanie Faris said...

I think it means we're creating great characters and stories when we see the potential for new spinoffs from the original story or series. Agent Jamie Dallas sounds like an interesting character.