by Kirsten Weiss ~ Writing a crossover novel has some unique challenges and some interesting payoffs.
If you grew up in the eighties, you may remember those crossover TV specials. (Simon and Simon crossed with Magnum PI was my favorite, and Murder She Wrote also did a crossover with Magnum.)
I’d already been toying with crossovers in a very small way. My Wits’ End and Doyle Witch series take place in the same small, mountain town, and characters cross between series.
But when several readers suggested bringing my Riga Hayworth character to the Doyle Witch series, I thought: why not? Riga’s a more mature witch, and I suspected she and the younger, happy-go-lucky Jayce Bonheim from Doyle would bounce off each other well.
The process of writing a crossover novel was more complicated and more rewarding than I imagined.
First, I’d left the main characters in my Riga Hayworth series at major change points in their last book, The Hermetic Detective. I had to “answer” those changes for Riga fans and quickly bring Doyle fans up to speed without boring them with backstory.
Another challenge was the sequential nature of the Doyle witch mysteries. Magnum and Murder She Wrote were episodic. The characters could connect at any point, and it wouldn’t mess with other story threads. The Doyle and Riga books don’t have to be read in order, but there are subplots that thread throughout the mysteries.
This crossover novel, Unbound, would wrap those up, so I had to bring Riga fans up to speed on the Doyle situation without slowing the pacing. I did this by starting Unbound, with a letter from a Doyle character inviting Riga to Doyle and including the story of the town.
Additionally, there are a lot of important characters in both books.
And too many characters can be confusing for readers.
The Doyle witches are triplets, and Riga comes with something of an entourage as well. I had to introduce everyone in a way that readers would remember them and not get overwhelmed. One trick I used was bringing Riga’s husband, Donovan, into the book a bit later. I also pared out minor characters from the Riga Hayworth novels. This was easier, since Unbound takes place in Doyle, rather than Riga’s usual stomping grounds of Lake Tahoe.
Finally, point of view when writing a crossover novel…
Who gets to tell the story? Metaphysical detective Riga, or Doyle witch Jayce Bonheim? Early on I decided to shift the point of view between the two characters.
To keep clear in readers’ minds who was telling the story in each chapter, I wrote Jayce’s part in first person and Riga’s in third. Since the Doyle Witch stories have always been told in first and Riga in third, this had a certain logic. And to make things extra clear, I also titled each chapter with the name of the person telling it.
And if this all sounds very elegant, it wasn’t when I was writing it. This book took a lot of editing. More than I usually go through. I ended up dropping subplots that got too complicated, deleting and adding scenes, etc.
But after the final edit, I realized that yes, it had all come together. Three witches and a metaphysical detective had finally landed on the same page, and it worked.
Unbound, A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery #10
Three Witches and a Metaphysical Detective…
Riga just wants to mentor three young witches and go home. Doyle witch Jayce wouldn’t take help if it landed on her. But when a man is murdered in front of their eyes, these two must learn to work together. Because a dead man is the least of their worries…
Jayce Bonheim loves magic and Doyle, California. But she and her small town have been paying a deadly price for the fairy gate she and her sisters can’t close. Now, a society of dark magicians has returned to town, a deadly winged monster has come through the gate, and an old friend has been murdered. And the new mentor who’s supposed to help Jayce and her sisters seems to have an agenda of her own…
It was supposed to be a simple training gig for Riga Hayworth, not a murder investigation. Still reeling from a tragic mistake in her past, she’s determined to stay retired. But the murder and the town’s magic seem tied together. Can Riga resist the lure of an investigation?
A thrilling and funny paranormal mystery, packed with magic, mystery, and murder. Perfect for fans of Mercy Thompson, Supernatural, and Charlaine Harris.
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Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten worked overseas for nearly twenty years in the fringes of the former USSR, Africa, and South-east Asia. Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives. Now based in Colorado, she writes genre-blending mysteries, steampunk suspense, and urban fantasy, mixing her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.
Misterio press produces an array of quality crime fiction. We post here twice a month, usually on Tuesdays, to alert you to new releases, to entertain, and to inform.
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