On to the next one…or not….

by mollykl

I’m obsessive about checking with author’s blogs and Amazon for “the next one.” There are several series I’m currently reading, and as soon as I’ve finished with one, I’m waiting on pins and needles for the next installment (and, yes, I put the release dates in my planner, and have been known to plan vacation days around book releases).

So it was with great sadness that I discovered, via Facebook of all things, that there are currently no plans for more books in Suzanne Arruda’s Jade del Cameron series. After 6 books, the publisher has decided to decline a seventh. Now the sixth book did tie quite a few things up nicely, so it’s not like I’m left with a cliffhanger, but I will miss the characters.

I’m one of those people who gets emotionally involved with book characters – and I know I’m not the only one. I remember standing in the hall near the time clock at work  with the coffee-bar manager, both of us with tears streaming down our cheeks, as we discussed “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” When “A wrinkle in time” was made into a movie my friend C e-mailed me with the question, “Who’s playing us?”  meaning the character of Meg Murray. I think until she posed that question it had never occurred to me why I identified so much with Meg, but that just spelled it out. She is me. She is everything awkward that I was for most of my life (or still am).

I also  love characters with traits I admire, or with traits I wish I had. Characters who inspire me to be better, smarter, kinder, more courageous. Zoe Archer needs to write more “Blades of the Rose” adventures, because I want to meet more of them, or at least continue on with London, Bennett and the rest. I downloaded the four books in the series when I was out of work with a hurt leg, and they were a revelation. I’d never really thought myself the “adventure” type, but I just loved the books, and the characters, and have been re-reading…and re-reading… them over and over. How can you not love London, Thalia, Astrid and Gemma? Not to mention Bennet and Catalus and…well, you get the idea.

That’s not to say I don’t also like, or become involved with, characters who let me down. I threw my copy of “Blameless” against the wall at my outrage of Conall’s distrust of his pregnant wife. And that was how the book ended – I had to wait months to see the situation resolved! I am frequently frustrated by the behavior of Nicholas Brisbane and Julia Grey in Deanna Raybourn’s novels, but I’m frustrated because I am actually caught up in their relationship. Even though it’s fictional, their relationship and their marriage is very real and true, in all of its disappointments. People let each other down and disappoint, but you keep reading so that they can redeem themselves. And you in the process.

When Madeline L’Engle died C wrote me a short e-mail simply saying, ‘Can’t talk about it” and I understood. It’s selfish to say, but as sad as I was for her death, I realized that most of my sadness was for myself. I’d never know what happens to Poly. What college does she go to, what field does she enter, how does everything that happened to her in her young life affect the rest of her life? Does she get a happily every after? Does anybody?

And perhaps that’s the key. Is it the happily every after we’re after? Husband J would probably argue no, but I think it is, and I think that’s why we keep reading. We need to know that Harry’s really ok. That despite class differences Julia and Nicholas defy odds. That Maisie will come out stronger from her post-traumatic stress. That Blay and Qhuinn will really have their HEA. That Sebastian and Hero will find happiness.

I want to know “what happens next.”