On the Dear Author Blog readers are angry at a particular author of a suspense series. (IMPORTANT SPOILER WARNING: If you follow the link to Dear Author you’ll find out which author and book it is, then if you read my blog, you may figure out the plot twist. Your choice.) The author wrote in a huge twist at the end of her latest book affecting a main character and the fans, evidently, are very unhappy. I’ve only read one book in the series the readers are talking about, so I don’t feel very strongly about the plot twist.
My initial reaction to this hoopla is that it’s the author’s world (she created it) and she has a reason for shifting the plot. And I’m slightly dismayed that people are criticizing the author, making it personal, instead of about the book. Many are saying they will never buy another one of the author’s books.
But then I started thinking about my fan mail. I wrote five books in my Samantha Shaw series then switched to writing single titles. (For the record, that was my publisher’s decision, not mine. I would happily do both.) My last Samantha Shaw book came out in January 2006 and I get emails all the time asking me when the next one is, or begging me to write more. I also get emails asking me to let Sam and Vance have sex, (one reader asked me for an entire chapter of sex between Sam and Vance—God I love readers!) but that’s another blog ïŠ
What really surprised me is that readers told me they were so invested in the characters in the Sam books that they were reluctant to read the stand alones and get to know new characters. Wow! That’s amazing. The light began dawning on me that the connection readers form with series characters is incredibly strong. And through the characters, the readers feel a connection the author.
So going back to the Dear Author blog, these fans feel betrayed by the author. They feel like they had a personal relationship with the author through the characters, and now they’ve been seriously let down. One fan likened the twist to JD Robb killing off Roarke. And that really brought it home for me. I’d take it personally if Nora (writing as JD Robb) did that!
So my question for you—do you think series authors have an obligation to the readers to give them what they want? Or is it okay to change things so drastically in the series world? Would you feel betrayed? Or would you keep reading?
P.S. Because readers are so awesome, many have emailed me that they tried my stand alone books and love them. I love my readers!