I'm about to start thinking about a new Molly Murphy mystery and also to come up proposals for the next three Lady Georgie books and I realize this is becoming harder than it was before. Not because I'm running out of ideas--far from it. I keep coming up with fun little twists and interesting plotlines for both series. The problem is that I am now so engaged in social media that I am in constant contact with several thousand fans. And they tell me what they like. I heard a lot of griping because Darcy did not figure prominently in Naughty in Nice. Of course there was the dashing and sexy Jean Paul de Ronchard instead but for keen fans of the series it just wasn't the same.
When I started writing mysteries I literally wrote for myself. I didn't think what might sell, what might make the NYT bestseller list or what might win an award. I knew what story I wanted to read and I couldn't find it on the shelf, so I wrote it. Now I feel all kinds of pressures--good reviews, bestseller lists, and above all pleasing my readers. It's got to be fun and sexy and dramatic and a good story but most readers want the story to be a personal one for Molly and Georgie. They want romance and heartbreak. They want their emotions involved.
So, dear readers, what do you think? Should a writer write to please her readers? Should a series be consistent in tone and darkness so that the reader knows what to expect? Do you get bored and lose interest if the stories are too similar or annoyed if they are too different? I guess I'm trying to please everyone and in the end the only person I can please is myself.