So about a week or so ago, I posted on my social media accounts looking for some reader thoughts on the idea of interconnected book series. I’d always wanted to know what readers thought about them, mainly because I know that I’m not necessarily a typical reader myself. Even though I love that sort of thing as a reader, I wasn’t sure exactly how many other people did, so I figured the smart thing to do would be to ask you guys about it. And it seems like the vast majority of you (at least, of the ones who responded) are a lot like me. If it’s done correctly, you actually enjoy reading interconnected book series.
Now, this is probably where I need to stop and explain what I mean by “interconnected book series,” just to make sure we’re all on the same page. In its most basic form, what I’m talking about is the idea of multiple book series that are connected by a shared universe, but not necessarily connected from one series to the next, so you don’t have to read multiple book series to understand what’s going on, because each series is separate but also part of the whole.
In movie terms, think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a really good example, particularly the Infinity Saga. Yes, there are a batch of movies that you have to watch in a particular order, sort of like the core movies of the series, in order to really get what’s going on. But at the same time, you have these other stories being told that are off to the side a bit. They’re still connected to the overall framework of the main tale, but they can be watched more independently of the others, such as the first Black Panther movie or the first Doctor Strange movie, where they’re part of the universe but not necessarily intensely connected to the rest.
In the book world, I think a really good example is Jonathan’s Maberry’s Night Universe I think they call it. This is multiple—I’d like to add very excellently written—book series that all take place in the same overall universe: the Pine Deep Trilogy, the Rot & Ruin Series, the Joe Ledger Series, and the Dead of Night Series. These all take place in the same universe and generally on the same timeline but don’t necessarily have to be read in any particular order or even have to all be read. But there’s a small smidgeon of overlap that’s pretty fun to come across when you’re reading and you have that knowledge from the other series in the universe, but if you haven’t read those other series, then it doesn’t really affect your enjoyment or anything of the books you’re reading.
Why am I rambling about this whole concept, anyway?
Now with all that being said, this is why I’m kind of getting into pursuing this whole concept of interconnected book series. I’ve been writing the sixth book in The Becoming Series, which is, as we all know by now, titled Bloodlines. I’ve been having fun writing it so far, even with the stumbling block where the subplot wasn’t meshing well with the rest of the book and I had to cut that, which set me back a bit, but I’m on track to finish the book by the end of the month. In the process of writing the book, I’ve introduced an entirely new character that I adore writing. But I feel like she’s not getting enough “screen time” in the book because there’s just not a whole lot of room for it without over-complicating the storyline, which definitely does not need to happen at this point. I really wanted to explore more about this character, though. I wanted to know more about her and about who she is, so I had this idea initially to write a novella that focused on her story, but it’s turning into this whole Thing. Because I’m enjoying writing about this character and her world, I’ve been thinking about writing I guess you’d call it a spinoff focused around this character, which is why I was polling everyone online about if they were interested in this sort of thing (and the overall answer seems to be yes, fortunately, because my brain will not let go of this idea).
I mean, it’s not just about this one character. There are some other characters that I wouldn’t mind exploring. And these off-shoots wouldn’t necessarily be connected to what I’m calling the main core series, which is The Becoming books one through—eventually—six (and maybe seven and eight). I’ve got a pretty decent assortment of ideas, and there’s a lot of room to work with and play with in this universe, because if you really think about it, the beginning of book six takes place just before the start of the third year of their outbreak. Literally, it starts on December 23rd. Because we’re so deep into the outbreak in regards to the timeline, there’s a lot of room to work with. For example, this particular character I’m thinking about starting with, she’s only just met the main characters of the series—well, three of them, anyway, since book six is mainly focused around Ethan, Kimberly, and Sadie and their adventures. There’s an entire almost three-year span with this new character that has never met Ethan, never met Kimberly, never met Cade, never met Brandt, never met Sadie, never met any of the main characters of this series. Which means she’s had her own problems, her own adventures. She doesn’t know where the virus came from. She doesn’t have the knowledge the mains have that they discovered about the government and the wall in book five. She doesn’t know any of this stuff. Her experience in regards to the outbreak has been totally different from the experiences of Ethan and his crew.
And it kind of got me thinking, well, what’s the outbreak been like for other people? What have they been going through during this ordeal? So I think what’s going to end up happening is I’m going to write a whole series of, well, I don’t want to say books, because at this point, I don’t know how long these stories are going to be or how many of them there are going to be. I just know there’s going to be a series of releases where I’m going to be exploring this particular corner of this universe. And this particular corner would be the trials and tribulations of the Demopolis community that gets introduced in book six.
I actually live in Demopolis IRL, and for some crazy reason, I decided I was going to have book six take place primarily in my hometown. I mean, at this point in the series, I’ve been in quite a few different places; I’ve had characters in New Orleans, Memphis, Biloxi, Tupelo, and I’ve even mentioned tiny towns like Gordo, AL. And I just kind of realized I have completely skipped over my own town and this whole area, and I thought it’d be fun for Bloodlines to take place in what I call the Demopolis community.
But then I got to thinking, well, for this community, it’s been just weeks shy of three years into this outbreak. What have they been through as a whole? Because clearly they’re at least semi-successful at keeping themselves alive and establishing some level of safety for themselves. My question was, how did they do it? What did they go through to make it happen? How did the community get formed? How did they secure themselves? How do they supply themselves? And it just seems like it’d be a really fun story to write, especially if I’m taking it all the way back to the beginning of the outbreak and walking it through to the “present day” in the storyline, which will catch it up to book six. But with the way it’ll be written, you won’t have to have read the core series to read these.
I really want to run with this idea I’ve had, though, because I think it’s something you guys will enjoy and I think it’s something I’ll have a lot of fun writing, so that’s what I’ve been spitballing here lately.
A few other notes regarding YouTube and TikTok…
I also just want to tag on to the end of this entry and give you guys a heads-up. I’ve been playing around a little bit with more video content. I’ve never really liked doing a lot of video and audio because I’m very, very Southern, and I soundvery Southern, and I also don’t like the way I look on camera. This is probably a self-confidence issue, but it’s something that I’m sure a lot of people go through. I’ve been sort of exploring the idea of pushing myself a bit out of my comfort zone and finding ways to offer video-based content that maybe doesn’t have a heavy focus on my face so much. (Hey, everybody has their hang-ups.)
So while I explore this, I have started a TikTok channel. My TikTok username is @jessicameigs. I have a grand total of three videos posted: one is a random book-related thing, and the other two feature my cat (because of course).
I’ve also started a YouTube channel. The only thing on there so far right now is a duplicate of the book video from TikTok. But there will eventually be more content on there as I come up with ideas—it’ll probably be a little more sporadic than most of my other stuff; for example, I post on Twitter and Facebook and such a lot more frequently than I do on YouTube and TikTok. But I know a lot of people like videos, so I thought I’d just throw a little mention in there that I do have a YouTube and a TikTok now and encourage you to go ahead and follow me, just so when I do post the odd little pearl, you’ll at least get a chance to actually see it, assuming the algorithm decides it’s fit enough to show you.