Ciao, amici! October is the month of all things weird and wonderful, and today I’ve got something that totally fits the bill. I’ve got a vampire with mangled teeth and a speech impediment who doesn’t want to kill people. A talking hat with supernatural powers that loves to surf the web. And the fabulous mind that comes up with all this stuff!
That’s right. my friend, fellow author, and long-time visitor to the blog, C.S. Boyack, is back to talk about his latest release—The Ballad of Mrs. Molony—the newest installment in his wildly inventive and always entertaining Hat series of stories. I know you’ll give him a warm welcome. No point in me teasing you with more when I can let the expert give you the good stuff. Take it away, Craig!
Thanks for inviting me back, Staci. I hope your fans are ready for some Halloween reading, because I’m touring around The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third book in The Hat series, and this time Lizzie and the hat are chasing vampires.
I want to pause to let everyone know that I worked to make sure people could read these books out of order. I like to read things in order, but I’m not everyone. If your first introduction to this series is Mrs. Molony, I don’t think you’ll feel lost at all.
Since Staci is one of my partners at Story Empire, I thought I might take that approach to this post: Some ramblings about writing a series. Once upon a time, some friends of mine talked me into series work. (You know who you are.) This has been both maddening and a work of pure joy.
In my mind, there are two kinds of series. One has a definite ending, the other one goes on for as long as people are interested. My Lanternfish trilogy is the former. The Hat series is the latter.
You’ve all read, or at least know of, the ongoing series. Think James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Bones, or Perry Mason. Even The Dresden Files fits this mold. These were good books and grabbed a lot of attention in their day. I have to be me, so why not a paranormal superhero?
One of the things I’ve learned is that “happily ever after,” doesn’t work here. The shtick has to go on, and that kind of ending will kill the series. These are more about solving the problem at hand, surviving, and maybe gaining some small reward beyond the job well done.
The other strange thing involves character arc. Too much character arc can also spoil the series concept. This might shock a lot of readers, but think about it. In a novel, or closed-loop series, conquering those inner demons is part of the story. In an open series, defeating those demons could limit what you do next.
There is still character evolution, but it has to be slower. If you think about it, Bond fell in love, got married, then took revenge against those who killed her. He evolved to a degree, then it almost had to be stripped away so the series could continue. In another example, keeping Booth and Bones apart was the lifeblood of the series. After they got together, something was lost.
In these stories, my characters had to change to accommodate each other. The hat is magically bound to Lizzie’s bloodline for as long as it lasts. He’d never worked with a woman before, so he had (and still has) a bit of a learning curve. Lizzie had never been part of the party culture, but she’s adapting.
Those smaller places are where character develops and helps anchor readers to the series. I used generation gaps, creed differences, and more to make sure Lizzie and the hat have struggles. A lot of the comedy happens because of these differences.
I’m kind of known for stand-alone books. I love them, honestly. Writing a series wasn’t exactly on my radar, but I like to play with all the tools. I also want to offer something for a broad reader base.
Part of what appealed to me was learning new things. The pressure to sail the final Lanternfish book up the “Amazon” (my attempt to be cool) is incredible. The first two volumes were well received and I need to bring it home with guns blazing.
Lizzie and the hat are different. It requires me to think ahead and look behind. Everything I write builds a small fence in this series and I have to stay aware of it. The longer it goes on, the more I have to keep track of. As an author it offers a more leisurely pace. It’s the solving of a problem, with some humorous interactions, and then all I have to do is find a way to convolute the process enough to make it a short novel. I kind of like it.
If you’re looking for some Halloween themed reading, I hope you’ll give Lizzie and the hat a chance. Thanks again for hosting me, Staci.
Blurb: Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.
The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exists? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?
Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.
Purchase your copy here: The Ballad of Mrs. Molony
You can contact Craig at the following locations:
So, how about that? We learned a little about series work. Learned a bit more about the story world the hat is set in. And it’s always fun to visit with Craig. I’m sure by now most of you know and adore him like I do. So let’s give him some support by hitting the purchase, like, and share buttons, then leave him a little note below. Grazie!