Thursday, June 21, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Building a Series, One Idea at a Time by Paty Jager

The Write Way Cafe welcomes Paty Jager, who shares her strategy for writing series.

There is a process that goes on in my head when an idea strikes. My Tumbling Creek Ranch series was just such a spark of inspiration.

I was asked to write a novella for a box set. I did and enjoyed being part of a box set with contemporary western themed stories. When they asked if I wanted to be in another box set, a light bulb went off. These box sets were only up for 6 months. Then the story reverted back to me. Why not write a series and get more bang for my time spent on the stories?

And that is when I came up with the idea of a family cattle ranch turned Dude Ranch. I’m not sure why I set the Tumbling Creek Ranch series in Montana other than I’d been reading my Cowboys and Indians magazine and saw several Dude Ranches in Montana advertised in the magazine.

Then I had to populate the series with a family and decide how many books I would put out in the series. The first book, 8 Seconds to Love was a story that had been spinning in my mind for a while. A good friend’s daughter rode bulls in high school rodeo. I found it fascinating that a woman would want to do that. My character Lacey Wallis came to life. I interviewed the daughter on why she’d ridden bulls, using that and some videos of other female bull riders being interviewed, and I had my character. I gave her caring parents who had once owned the Tumbling Creek Ranch with her aunt and uncle. They sold out to her oldest cousin, who had made the ranch into the Dude Ranch. He also happens to be the best friend of hero, Jared McIntyre, in 8 Seconds to Love. He is a male nurse who had been a medic in the Army.

I gave Lacey a younger brother and her cousin, Brett Wallis, two brothers. In the first book, I introduced Jared’s single brother who will also find romance in a novella. That will make 6 novellas in the Tumbling Creek Ranch series. A good round number, and I can make 2 box sets of 3 from the 6 novellas.

After I came up with the siblings and wrote up some background on each one, I made up a small town and put it in an area of Montana that looked like a good place, on Google Maps, to give the ranch all the qualities I wanted. Good grazing, trails up a mountain, and small falls and creeks.

Using the photos I saw in the magazine, I set out to describe and draw the layout of the main house/lodge and cabins along with the barns, bunkhouse, and other outbuildings.

I put all of this in a notebook and started a timeline to keep track of what people are doing in each book and how their lives move forward.

This is a process I do for all of my series, whether they are western or mystery. When I work on a series, I pull the notebook off the shelf and begin sketching in the new characters and what will happen to the character who is already established in the series. If it’s a romance, I fill out a conflict chart. If it’s a mystery, I fill out a suspect chart.

It has taken me years to figure out the system that works best for me, and this seems to be it. I can’t use all the fancy software that is available to make things easier. I like having all the information in a notebook beside my computer as I write.

Here is book one in the series:

8 Seconds to Love
Book one of the Tumbling Creek Ranch series
Lacey Wallis has put blood, sweat, and tears into her dream of making it to the National Finals Rodeo and isn’t about to let an injury stop her. However, she didn’t expect the ER nurse to be the man she had a crush on years ago, or to discover that crush hadn’t been one-sided.

Jared McIntyre lived through loving and the death of one thrill-seeking woman and wasn’t about to let that happen again. Especially, not to Lacey. But that would mean he’d have to allow himself to love again.

Which will it be, a life-long dream, or the love of a lifetime?

Universal link:
Available in July

Love Me Anyway
Book two of the Tumbling Creek Ranch Series 
Melanie Trask ran away from an abusive husband and is hiding at a remote dude ranch. When she and the ranch owner can no longer deny their feelings, he offers to help her divorce her husband. But she has one more secret she hasn’t revealed…

Brett Wallis has fallen hard for the quiet, competent woman who landed at his ranch when he needed help. But will he be able to choose between Melanie or the ranch when he discovers the truth behind her secrecy?

Preorder universal link:

Now available in a box set!

The Wrong Cowboy to Love
Book three in the Tumbling Creek Ranch Series
Computer geek Ruby Cutter feels like a fish out of water with a makeover her cousin put her through for the bachelorette party and wedding. The only reason she went along with it…her high school crush will be at the wedding. She’d fantasized for years over him and plans to make him see her.

Dillon Wallis is minding his own business getting ready for a gig at a bar when a tipsy, blonde who is with a bachelorette party and doesn’t realize she’s gorgeous, tumbles into his arms and captures his heart.

The only problem…she’s in love with his cousin.

Box Set
Do You Take This Cowboy?

For Better… For Worse… 
In Sickness and health…

Falling for a cowboy is easy, but when weddings happen on the ranch, anything can happen and often does! Roping, Fireworks and Magic…Enjoy seven wonderful tales of love and marriage by some best-selling and award-winning Western Contemporary Romance authors.

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 34 novels, a dozen novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.

This is what Romance Junkies has to say about the Tumbling Creek Ranch series: “There are twists and turns to the story with a nice flow and a depth to the characters. The vivid scenic descriptions made me feel like I was there… I hope to return to Tumbling Creek Ranch over and over again.”

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HiDee said...

Thank you for sharing your process, Paty. It's always interesting to know how writers work. I'm off to check out the series!

Paty Jager said...

Thank you for having me on The Write Way Cafe! If anyone has questions about my process feel free to ask away.

Lynn said...

It's great having you on our blog! Thank you for sharing your process. Your books sound like wonderful reads!

Angela Adams said...

Wow! Great Summer read, Paty. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your Summer!!!

Paty Jager said...

Thank you, Lynn! I enjoy visiting here.

Hi Angela, Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Have a great summer.

Diana McCollum said...

Thanks for sharing your writing process for series! I find it fascinating how different authors approach writing.

Paty Jager said...

HI Diana, Thanks for stopping by! yes, we all have our own techniques that work for each of us.