The Best Way to End a Series

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By Jeffe Kennedy, author of ROGUE’S PARADISE

This feels like the end of an era to me, seeing the release of Rogue’s Paradise, the third book in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy.

It’s funny because, for so many people out there, this book represents the moment they’ve been waiting for. If you’ve been reading the series all along, you’ll know what I mean. The relationship between Rogue and Gwynn, my very difficult Fae lord hero and my very stubborn scientist heroine, has been a complicated and fraught one to resolve. I knew that, when I started the first book, Rogue’s Pawn.

What I did not know was that people would think I’d left them with a cliffhanger.

That book has had a long, slow rise in popularity since it came out in July of 2012 and at first I didn’t get all that much feedback on it. But I recall vividly the day I went to the salon and my waxer sat at the reception desk, tapping her nails and giving me a mean look. I literally paused in my tracks.

“I have a bone to pick with you,” she grumbled.

What was it? Had I bounced a check?  Committed some cardinal sin of waxing hygiene? Let me tell you, if there’s one person you don’t want to piss off, it’s the woman about to wax your nethers.

She slapped her hand on the desk. “How could you leave me hanging like that??”

And it hit me that she’d finished reading Rogue’s Pawn. “Um…sorry?” I said.

She forgave me—and flat refused to read book 2, Rogue’s Possession, until she could read the third book immediately afterwards. Knowing now how she is, I agreed that might be the best strategy. I know she’s not the only one. Of the people who have kept up, they’ve made it clear to me that they expect me to deliver the goods they’ve been waiting for.

I think I have.

But that brings me back around to the strange place where this celebratory culmination for readers feels like a sad good-bye to me. It’s not just me, either. When my wonderful, insightful editor Deb Nemeth returned the final copy edits to me, she wrote:

Damn, this is really a rough one for me to turn in. I feel so emotional–I have such love for these stories, and this hero and heroine. They dug their hooks into me so deeply, and I feel so sad to be done with this series.

I suppose that’s a sign of love. Far better for us to say a nostalgic farewell than to be bitterly relieved to see it done. That’s why it’s best for series to end while they’re strong, instead of dragging them out into a pitiful shell of what they once were.  I think we all can think of examples of each…

What are some series you think ended in the best way? Or, eep, went on too long? Which ones do you wish, wish, wish the author would write just a little more of?

Jeffe Kennedy is a scientist and an award-winning author of fantasy, fantasy romance and erotic romance. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She lives in Santa Fe, NM, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Foreword Literary.

3 thoughts on “The Best Way to End a Series”

  1. Amy R says:

    Well, I do think you ended this series perfectly. I can’t think of anything else I could have asked for. You gave it all to me. I have not read a ton of series that need a definite ending – most are contemporary romance or romantic suspense where they continue on with different characters. The only other series I can think of that ended well was the Twilight series. As for one that has gone on too long? Well, I don’t want to name names, but there is a series I really liked but the love triangle has taken place over about 20 books and I gave up around book 15. It was the same stuff with different situations – became predictable and boring in my opinion. Congrats on the release!

  2. Jeffe Kennedy (@jeffekennedy) says:

    Thanks Amy – and I think I know which series you mean! A lot of readers have grown frustrated with that triangle going unresolved… STILL!

  3. Dawn Cavenee says:

    The series you’ve mentioned is good for a quick read; a funny little adventure. Kinda reminds me of Scooby Doo cartoons and I will not buy these books. I enjoy books that assault my emotions and create character addictions. I accept cliff hangers as long as the next book is released in a timely fashion. The Rogue series is fantastic! I was fortunate to start it this year so I didn’t have to wait long between books (always a plus!). I miss several series, but they ended appropriately at just the right time. :)

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