Hi, I'm writing a tango series.  The first book is set in Atlanta, but the second book will take place in a different city, in this case, Bellevue, WA.  There's no problem moving the heroine because tango dancers frequently attend conferences and events in different cities, but I'd also like - if possible - to have the detective from the first book appear in the second.  I had originally thought he could transfer to the Bellevue police, but in speaking with them, it turns out you'd have to start your career all over again.  One option would be for the detective to consult, on cold cases for example, which would give him access to police resources but not the power to arrest anyone.  Or, he could apply for the job when a new city incorporates.  Or, he could simply have retired.  For all I know he could become an expert in something really unique and travel to police departments around the country, teaching whatever arcane skill he has (I can set up any of these options in the first book.)  But I'm also wondering how true to life this needs to be.  CSI experts don't interview suspects in real life, but they do on TV and nobody complains.  How much latitude do you think there is?  How best would you set this up?  Welcome your thoughts!

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That sounds like a great idea. Thanks!
There are numerous possibilities, but the problem you're ultimately going to run into is why this tango dancer and this detective end up in the same city again. Way across the country, no less. Wild coincidences sometimes happen in real life, but they generally don't fly in fiction.

I would suggest creating a new detective. if not, you're going to have to come up with a credible motive for him to choose Bellevue, WA over all the other gin joints in the world.
Thanks for your thoughts. I agree the motives for both the dancer and the detective would end up in Seattle. Maybe for the third book, not the second.
Cops do have lateral transfers, and there's a shortage of cops these days. I'm surprised you heard what you heard. (I used to work in and around law enforcement.) But this sounds a tad coincidental unless he's romantically linked to the dancer.

Other possibilities: Cop and dancer have decided to carry on a long distance love affair (if that didn't go down in the first book it can be presented fait accompli and some backstory would be in order to catch the reader up on how the romance got started). So he's in town for a visit.

Or the Cop is in Bellevue (I was there on business once, ironically to interview the local police among others) along with a bunch of other cops to attend a conference.

But I do like the expertise idea. If the cop retires but lectures on some esoteric topic then he could travel quite a bit ...
I'll have to think about a good topic. And agree with you and Jude that their motivations need to be very clear! Thanks for your help.
Three scenarios:

1.Detective suspects tango dancer of committing a crime and follows her to Washington?
2.Detective becomes obsessed with tango dancer, ditto?
3.Detective and tango dancer fall in love, marry and move to Washington to escape his demons? You'd probably have to write the novel in which all of this shark-jumping takes place, though.

I guess my big question is--why? Atlanta's as good a place to set a series as Bellevue, WA, seems to me. Is there some big tango convention there, or something?
I like your scenarios, because they work off the relationship they already have. In the first book there's a latent attraction which each ignores for different reasons. She'd always have the option to call the guy if she didn't like the way the Bellevue police were handling things. But then he'd have to have a good reason for coming!

Seattle is a much bigger tango city, and I think part of the fun of the series will be to follow the tango dancers to all sorts of place - Berlin, Buenos Aires, NY, Portland ... thought it might help build an audience beyond the tango community, too.

Lisa--the other possibility, of course, is to re-write #1 with the WA setting, if it's a livelier tango scene: might be easier, ultimately, than going through a lot of contortions to get both of your principals headed cross-country. If you had just one main character to move, no big deal as you say. Two is a much tougher proposition, unless they're involved/married.

That said, here's another scenario: Tango dancer goes to WA, gets tangled up in a murder plot. Detective who has a not-very-well-concealed thing for her has a PI friend in Seattle who owes him a favor. PI agrees to keep an eye on tango dancer. PI reports back, says she may be in danger. Detective jumps on first plane out, etc. PI may or may not be involved in dirty dealings. I like that one a lot, because it doesn't require a whole lot of complicated back-story.
I did think about rewriting with the Seattle switch, but that would be quite painful, and I do want to make the multi-city idea work over time. Like your scenarios. I can also have the Detective be called in by one of her students ... same reasoning. There are some unresolved details from the first story that would lend themselves well to this. Either way, I can see it's easier to get them both to town if there's a reason within their relationship to get them there... and not to manufacture two separate reasons! Very helpful to hear your thoughts.
Hi Lisa,

Write your book the way you like it. LOL! Detectives and cops move to other cities and start right off working for the other city's department right off. This is usually how it's done from what I've known. It's just as easy (if not easier) to transfer to another job in law enforcement than most other jobs. So you can just say the man got an offer from that other city to work for them. That happens to cops all the time.

Good luck with the story and best wishes!

Don't rewrite the switch if it's what you really wanna do. You gotta write what you want or you won't be happy with it. You should also be realistic but remember this is still fiction. You don't have to play by the rulebooks of real life so closely that it infringes on your imagination. If you're writing a darn good story and can pull it off, your readers aren't gonna care about the procedures cops gotta make to move from one place to the next. And another thing, you think your readers will always know something? LOL! No. I know there are a lot of books I've read where I thought what the author presented was really how something usually worked until I decided to look it up. But I didn't let details like that bog me down and not read the book. I still loved the work!

Food for thought.

Best Wishes!
Thanks for your thoughts. My father used to say, "never let the facts get in the way of a good story"!


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