Guest Post: The Series vs the Single Title – by Karen Stivali

I’ve been a published author for four years and in that time I’ve written seventeen novels and novellas  that have ranged from 18k words (approximately 45 pages) to 100k words (400 standard paperback-size pages). Some of these were solo titles and when that one story was done, I didn’t write more about the characters. Others, although they were complete stories with a beginning, a middle and an end, had characters who had more story that needed to be told. For those, I wrote sequels (or have them on my to-be-written list).

The MOMENTS IN TIME series is a series of novellas and the first three books, MOMENT OF IMPACT, MOMENT OF TRUTH and MOMENT OF CLARITY are all about the same couple—Collin and Tanner, college roommates who discover they’re interested in each other as more than friends in book one and embark on their first serious relationship, together.

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MOMENT OF IMPACT, the first book in the series, is a coming of age/coming out story. It explores the struggles the point of view character, Collin, has as he confronts his identity and his desires for the first time.

When I finished writing MOMENT OF IMPACT and sent it off to publishers I was happy with where I’d left Collin and Tanner. They were in a good place together, with a hopeful future. I write romance because I’m a sucker for a happy ending. In real life I can’t guarantee that the people I care about will live happily ever after, but in my books, with my characters, I can absolutely guarantee it. They may encounter lots of hardship along the way, but every story I write ends happily.

No matter how happy my characters are when I finish a story, they keep right on living in my mind. In the case of Collin and Tanner, Collin kept right on chattering too. That’s how MOMENT OF TRUTH and MOMENT OF CLARITY were born.

At the end of book one, Collin has come to terms with his sexuality, but he’s still mostly closeted. He and Tanner attend a very conservative college and Collin’s family is very religious. In MOMENT OF TRUTH they escape that environment for the summer by moving to Fire Island (where Tanner has worked the past few summers). The environment on the island is much more relaxed and accepting and, for the first time since they became a couple, they can be publicly known as boyfriends. This is a huge step for Collin and for their relationship, but with freedom comes challenges, and trust and jealousy are things they both need to learn to deal with if they’re going to stay together.

When the summer ends, Collin and Tanner are in a good place as a couple (happy endings, like I said, gotta have them), but they’re headed back to their ultra-conservative college for their senior year. MOMENT OF CLARITY begins on move-in day, and right off the bat they’ve got problems—namely that the dorm they were supposed to live in has had a bit of a fire and they’re temporarily displaced while the building is being fixed. They wind up staying with Collin’s brother, Sean, and his kids, which brings along its own set of challenges and some unfortunate drama.

What I loved about writing these three books was that it gave me the opportunity to explore Collin and Tanner’s feelings during three very different stages of their relationships. I’m often asked why this wasn’t just one long novel instead of three novellas. The answer is it’s not one story. It’s three distinct stories, each with a beginning, middle and end. It’s meant to be read in order, but it’s not one long book that was chopped into three parts. It’s three stories about the same loving couple as they experience their lives together. I’m delighted that Dreamspinner Press gave me the opportunity to tell all three stories. And I’m even more thrilled that they bundled them together into a hefty paperback so people can buy the whole trilogy in one collected volume. The down side of writing novellas is they don’t go to print so you don’t get to hold them in your hand as a physical book. I love that all three of these novellas are now a paper book sitting on my shelf.

While this trilogy takes the reader along for Collin and Tanner’s journey, there are several secondary characters introduced along the way. I’m super excited that I can finally announce that I’ve contracted two more books in the MOMENTS IN TIME series. MOMENT OF SILENCE will star Quinn (Collin’s oldest brother) and Jason (one of Collin’s co-workers from Fire Island) and MOMENT OF FATE is Bryan’s story (he’s a musician and photography student who was one of the housemates in MOMENT OF TRUTH). I can’t wait to share these characters’ stories…and I’m really glad they give me a chance to check in with Collin and Tanner and see how they’re doing.

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Moments In Time: Books 1-3

Moment of Impact
Beyond Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room, the students of his conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family, who’d disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Tanner wants to show the world how much he loves Collin, but Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

Moment of Truth
Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, and for the first time, he and Tanner can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, and doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness. Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

Moment of Clarity
Spending the summer on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, new challenges confront them.

When Collin’s relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother’s custody battle and Tanner struggles with feelings for his heartbroken friend Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone would be better off without him. In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear his love for Collin is all that matters.

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press

2015NewAbout the author

Karen’s lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.

When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenstivali
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenStivaliAuthor
Website: http://karenstivali.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karenstivali
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KarenStivali
E-mail: karenstivali@gmail.com

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