A few months ago I was chatting with someone on the verge of launching a new series and I said I imagined that must be quite stressful, not knowing how fans would respond. Today I was looking at a member page where the author mentions she's starting a new series as well.

I certainly know what it is to fall in love with a series and look forward to more. I also know what it is to be a writer, pushing yourself. Personally, I never want to feel like I'm producing the same work over and over again, I always want to put new challenges in front of myself.

My question goes on two levels: Authors/Writers, what are some of the hardest risks you've taken in your writing and how do you feel that affected your growth as a writer? Were you glad you did it?

Readers, can you think of authors who've successfully transitioned from one series to another and been able to carry you over? It is about the author, or it about the characters? Anyone you think is long overdue to try something new, they've gotten formulaic and stale?

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One of the things I really like about the crime/mystery genre is how loosely it's defined and how readers often don't care if the formulas are broken. So, I think more risks can be taken. What song is that, "I've got a story ain't got no moral, the bad guy wins every once in a while," (there may be a prize if you can identify it).

I don't really care if the books are parts of series or stand-alones or vaguely kind of both. I like the kind of "Swierczy-verse" that's taking shape with The Wheelman and The Blonde. It's very much what Elmore Leonard has been doing over 45 books. Elmore's even managed to fill in the gaps and join up his westerns with his current books.

So, the risks I really like are the ones where the books get away from the detective solving the crime.
Note to self: Get John one of those 'cat solves the crime' books for Christmas next year...



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