Letting Go of Beloved Characters

by Kassandra Lamb ~ I’m ending a mystery series this month, for the second time in my writing career. And letting go of beloved characters isn’t any easier this time around.

The logo on each book (© Majivecka; permission to use purchased through Dreamstime.com)

There are lots of good reasons for ending a series, one of them being that the main character(s) have reached the culmination of their character arc. They start out with flaws, issues, neuroses to overcome, and over the course of the series they mature and grow.

When it gets to the point where those issues are mostly resolved, their arc is complete and it’s time to let go.

I’m happy for my main characters, Marcia and her husband. Their lives are going well and they have an adorable baby girl now. I’m happy they will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. (And I’m excited about the new series I’m starting.)

But on the other hand, it feels like good friends—or maybe grown children would be a better analogy—are moving to the other side of the world. And it’s not just that they are going away, but I won’t be keeping in touch with them. I won’t know what’s happening in their lives. No phone calls, no emails, no texts!

And it’s not just letting go of beloved main characters.

These stories are partially set in a small fictitious Florida town called Mayfair, a town I have grown to love as much as Marcia does.

I’m going to miss all the quirky neighbors—the octogenarian town matriarch who wears brightly colored muumuus and flip-flops, and the regal black woman, a retired schoolteacher, who lives next door and who always has a pitcher of iced tea in her fridge and some sound advice to offer.

letting go of beloved characters -- and in this case, a beloved fictitious town as well.
I’m letting go of a beloved fictitious town as well this time.

And even more secondary characters—the matriarch’s great nephew Dexter, and her niece, sweet Susanna Mayfair, who shares Marcia’s love of horses. And Marcia’s friends, the Mayfair diner’s owner Jess, and fellow service dog trainer Carla, and her best friend Becky. Oh, and Marcia’s mom and her new stepfather.

Most of these characters have also grown and changed over the course of the 13-book series. And I feel like they are my friends and neighbors too.

But I’m leaving them and Mayfair behind. I won’t be able to stroll down its streets again—the fictitious Black Lab, Buddy on his leash—waving at folks or stopping to gossip.

Yes, it’s time to let Marcia and her crew have some peace and quiet. No more murderers or other culprits will be coming their way, making life scary and difficult in their little town. I’m happy for them.

But it’s hard letting go of beloved characters. I’m sure gonna miss all those good folks!

Do you miss the fictitious characters of a series when it ends?

And here’s the novella that finishes up the series:

Auld Lang Mayfair, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, #13

Should auld acquaintance be forgot…

The last year has been eventful for Marcia and husband Will. They’ve successfully launched their private investigation agency and completed their family with an adorable but creatively energetic baby girl. Now, they’re about to ring in the New Year with friends and neighbors, but there’s something more than champagne bubbling in Mayfair, Florida.

The octogenarian matriarch of the town is always looking for ways to boost the community’s economy. Her latest scheme is the addition of a row of shops along Main Street. But a few of her new tenants have something more nefarious in mind than simply selling their wares.

When old hostilities set off New Year’s fireworks, a shopkeeper ends up dead, and two friends of Marcia’s are prime suspects. Determined to clear them, Marcia and Will—with Buddy’s help, of course—set out to uncover the real Grim Reaper.

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Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida, and the C.o.P. on the Scene police procedurals, set in northern Florida. She also writes romantic suspense under the pen name of Jessica Dale.

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