Monday, October 29, 2007

Do you have to read the Department 57 series in order?

Recently someone asked me if they needed to read the Department 57 series in order. The brief answer is "No."

I designed it as a hub series. That means the background is the same, but each book is about a different couple, and I try to keep it as separate as I can so the books can be read in any order. Except for "Rubies of Fire" and "Diamonds of Ice," that is, because a situation set up in "Rubies" isn't resolved until "Diamonds."

Basically, Dept 57 is a covert organisation, set up as part of the CIA (and the DHS) in the USA, MI5 and MI6 in the UK, and Interpol. It's named after its headquarters in New York, on 57th Street, as in my research I discovered that the more covert and secret the department is, the more likely it is to have a bland name!

The members are Talents, that is, paranormal beings, shape-shifters, vampires, Sorcerers etc, and they work both for their country and to preserve their secrecy and their existence. I've used the Darwin approach - we're all human, but some are a little bit different!

The operatives work against the Perfect Human Race (PHR), a terrorist organisation devoted to killing them all, and the Corporation, an organisation that wants to take their powers and use them for themselves. That's how come the DHS got involved, because the PHR is a fanatical organisation of terrorist cells which works worldwide.

So you can read them out of order if you want to, and that's been made almost inevitable now. There was a clause in my Triskelion contract that gave them the "next look" option, but there was a 60 day time limit, and as soon as that had passed after the submission of my last
manuscript for them, I withdrew it and offered it to Loose_ID. I was very lucky that happened before the court froze the contracts, otherwise the series would be in limbo.

I write two kinds of books for the D57 series - full length novels with a 'traditional' m/f romance, and hotter m/m/f menage books, but they're all romances. "Cats' Eyes" is a menage. And it's out now!

I've sent the next full length novel in, and I'm waiting to see if they like it. You can never tell, it's different with every book!

I do feature secondary characters who get their own romances, and when I get the rights to all the books back, I'll do light rewrites to try to keep them in some kind of order, but I do try to keep them as standalone as I can. And not to include spoilers, if I can avoid it!

There's a page on my website about the Talents, what they can do, what they can't, that kind of thing, but I'm very anti-rules, so I try to make it as self explanatory as I can.