Gloria Ferris on Writing a Series

Gloria Ferris on Writing a Series

Posted on July 14 by Gloria Ferris in Mystery
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I’m invested in my characters. When I invent them, they become living, breathing people. I know it’s necessary to introduce new characters in each book to create unique situations and crimes. So, to avoid cluttering the pages with dozens of old and new characters, a few of the regulars must disappear from each book. I try not to kill them off in case I need them for the next story. Usually I send them out of town. But, once in a while, someone must take the big dirt nap. This pains me greatly, but “needs must” as the devil is reported to have rightly said.

My characters have needs, desires — whether good or bad — as well as troubled pasts and current dilemmas. A series allows me to explore these aspects while unravelling the motives for a shooting, poisoning, stabbing …Yes, I kind of like writing the crime part of a series, too. The trick is to allow my characters to lead me through the plot without running amok.

On July 18, the second Cornwall and Redfern mystery, SHROUD OF ROSES, will be released. In CORPSE FLOWER, I tried to include Police Chief Neil Redfern as a secondary character, an ex-drug cop from the city. I felt he was the perfect foil for the wise-ass Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall who has an iron will and no respect for authority. However, Redfern turned out to be a man of layers, with a past and doubts about his role as head cop in a small town. Because he’s somewhat arrogant, he refused to take a subordinate role to Bliss and, to my surprise, became a co-protagonist.

SHROUD OF ROSES is written from his third person perspective, as well as Bliss’s first person POV. The story begins as Redfern finds a skeleton in an abandoned high school. So far, so good. Police business. No reason for Bliss to become involved. But, wait. When she realizes the skeleton was a classmate who attended the same grad dance the night before the school was boarded up, Bliss is convinced Redfern will never discover the truth without her help. She knows Lockport’s history and secrets. Instant conflict is guaranteed between law enforcement and – well, Bliss.

But, uncovering an old homicide causes deadly effects. The killer, intent on keeping the past buried, strikes again. And again. In Bliss’s opinion, none of the suspects could be guilty. She’s known them all her life. According to Redfern, each of them is capable of homicide.

As Redfern and Bliss take separate paths to discover the long-hidden truth, their relationship is alternately strained and strengthened. Especially when Bliss becomes the killer’s next target. Since their names are on the book covers, I guess it’s no surprise they both survive SHROUD OF ROSES. I already have an idea what’s up with them in the next book. Here’s hoping they co-operate.

Gloria Ferris

Posted by Kendra on October 22, 2014
Gloria Ferris photo

Gloria Ferris

Gloria Ferris is a former technical writer who now writes mysteries, both paranormal and humorous. Her first novel in the Cornwall and Redfern series, Corpse Flower, won the Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award in 2010, and her first novel, Cheat the Hangman, won the 2012 Bony Blithe Award. Gloria lives in Guelph, Ontario.