Helen Osterman: When to End A Series

Guest Blog by Helen Osterman

2014HelenEdit_(3_of_6)_ppThanks for inviting me to your blog. I am the author of the  Emma Winberry cozy mystery series of six books. I’ve learned that it is imperative to keep your characters fresh. I do that by giving my protagonist, Emma, an unusual life. To keep my readers interested, Emma gets into trouble and has adventures in exciting locations.

To give my stories authenticity, I also add information learned from my many years in the medical industry. Sometimes that nursing background sneaks into my stories unintentionally. During my research, I was surprised to learn that the ability to sing comes from a different area of the brain than that for speech. I thought that fact was interesting, so I used it in Locked Within, the most recently published novel in the Emma Winberry mystery.

Locked Within became more of a mystery/adventure than a cozy, because Emma had to grow and expand her experiences to keep my fans reading …. and me interested in writing about her. Even so,  I see the end of the Emma Winberry Mystery series.

Unless I am barraged by fans with emails or come up with a unique plot, I will end the series with the next book, Rogue Wave. I will continue to write short stories about Emma, because she has a following. Then I’ll probably write stand-alones, or, perhaps, begin a new series.

Go Out on Top

After five or six books, many series, whether cozy, romantic, or action suspense,  tend to deteriorate. Characters and plots have run through their original story arc and become weak and  stretched thin. I’ve seen too many best-selling authors  under contract who must continue to write their series beyond the story’s natural life. Plots seem to be forced and formulatic.

Professional singers and dancers usually stop performing when they realize their skills are not as sharp as they used to be. Authors should do the same thing when their characters get stale or their plots lack spark.DSCF3701

Author Bio

I live in Homer Glen, a suburb of Chicago. I have five children, nine grandchildren, and one great grandson. Unfortunately, we don’t all get together too often. One daughter and her family live in London and my oldest son and his wife live on a forty-nine-foot sailboat. I was on the boat twice doing research for Emma Winnberry’s adventures. Sailing was fine for a few days, but not my chosen lifestyle.

I knew I wanted to be a nurse from early childhood. All my dolls were sick, and even the dog had a bandage around her paw—patient animal. I earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in nursing and worked in many community hospitals, ending my twenty-five-year career at Hines VA hospital.

I’ve always made up stories in my head and then decided to take a course in creative writing.

get-attachment.aspx I wrote when I retired and joined an active writers’ group. My writing career went on from there. My ninth book, Danger by Design, will be published in September, 2014, by Oak Tree Press.


Novels by Helen Osterman

The Accidental Sleuth, 2007,

The Stranger in the Opera House,2009,

The Elusive Relation,2011

Emma Winberry and the Evil Eye, 2012.

Locked Within, an Emma Winberry Mystery, July, 2013

Rogue Wave, 2014

Notes in a Mirror, a paranormal/historical, 2009.

Song of the Rails, a love story, 2011.

Maker’s Mark, a cozy mystery. 2012

She is a member of American Association of University Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime and The Authors’ Guild.

Website: http://www.helenosterman.com


To be a guest blogger on this blog, contact me by email:  jeanne2meeks@aol.com


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