by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
Sandra Parshall, who happens to be a terrific blogger, posted yesterday about standalone suspense fiction and how she likes it better than crime fiction series, but that few authors are writing it. I’m not sure that’s technically true. Many of us are writing it, but often, one of two things happen. Either the standalone doesn’t sell as well as our series books, or it’s so popular that readers want more, and it ends up launching a new series. Which is what happened with The Sex Club, the first book featuring Detective Jackson.
There are exceptions of course. Gillian Flynn writes popular standalone thrillers and grows her readership with each one. And some series writers have expanded their readerships by writing standalone thrillers (Laura Lippman, Harlan Coben). That’s what I hope to do with my new thriller.
Yet, I love the character, and I know I’ll bring her back for more stories. Her setup as an FBI agent who specializes in undercover work is perfect for a series that has a lot of flexibility.
I introduced Agent Dallas in Jackson #8, Crimes of Memory (which will release Oct. 15!). I had so much fun writing her part that I knew she needed her own story. And I had an idea that I really wanted to write about and she was perfect for it. My beta readers loved the story, and I’m still waiting to see if my publisher does too.
More important though will be if readers like it. Especially new readers. I know some of my Jackson fans will pass, just because it’s not a Jackson story. But I hope enough new readers will be interested in the novel to justify the five months I put into researching and writing it.
Here’s a quick description: Agent Dallas goes undercover to find a missing woman who is likely being held captive in an isolated prepper community. What she finds is a lot more terrifying.
Readers: Do you read the standalones of your favorite series authors?
Writers: Do you write series, standalones or both? And what is your experience?