Reaching the End of an Epic Thriller Series

Where have the last six years gone?

Yes, this just about sums up the enormous chunk in my life I dedicated to writing a decade spanning romantic British thriller series, titled ‘Same Face Different Place’ BUT I have to say, it’s been worth it! Since writing my last ‘book related’ post “Retribution to the End” in May 2017 I am pleased to announce, I’ve finally reached the end of this entire series – a thriller mystery which rolls over four iconic decades from 1972 – 2012. The 4th book ended up far larger than I planned but with so many characters and sub-plots, it turned out to be little like ‘Game of Thrones’ where every one of those characters had a storyline.

Retribution – Phase 1

The first part of Book 4 (Retribution – Phase 1) ran from 1991 to 1994 with a massive cast of characters. You can get an update of who is who from 2 of my previous posts, Who are the Good Characters and Who are the Bad Characters, published before the novel went live on Amazon. Reception to the book has been 100% positive with some glowing reviews such as this one:

“Wow again Helen! The ongoing story of Eleanor and her family gradually coming to a brilliant climax…..The writing and the different characters are superb. Just cannot wait for the last book in the series. Highly Recommended.”

Retribution – End Game

The final part of Book 4 (Retribution – End Game) was a work in progress but underwent a bit of evolution when I decided to change the cover. Going back to the previous post “Retribution to the End” I designed a cover and published an un-edited version on Amazon (for pre-order), just before my weekend in London on May Bank Holiday. Looking back, I was beginning to doubt whether it was the best image…

Looking at the thumbnail view on Amazon, I liked it less and less. The woman looked grey and insipid. There was something very negative about it which I was afraid would put people off so I sought the opinion of others. After finding an alternative ‘female’ image on Thinkstock, I posted this on several Facebook groups (alongside the original) and asked people if they thought it worked better. People were strikingly honest, which prompted me to change it for this more colourful, striking image and one which depicts a gutsy, ‘kick-ass’ female. You can judge for yourself from the resulting NEW cover below.

Front Cover design for Same Face Different Place RETRIBUTION End Game.

Before and After Cover Design Images

Creating the Paperback

I am pleased to say, the final edited version of Retribution End Game was published on Amazon on July 31st and the title can be downloaded via this link. I have also been working on the paperback. I always use CreateSpace as I find their interior and cover templates very easy to use. Once downloaded, I tend to copy and paste my book content from an original master file (the same one I use for Kindle), select a nice typeface such as Garamond, add the contents page and VOILA!

Once saved, it is simply a matter saving the book as a PDF and uploading it to CreateSpace then create a print-ready version of the cover. This needs to be high resolution (at least 300 dpi) and as soon as you know the page count of the book, there are templates to download to create a cover. Once submitted and approved, I recommend ordering a proof copy. You never know what your final published book looks and feels like until you hold it in your hands and leaf through it manually, just to check that everything’s perfect.

Arundel Festival

Following on from this stage, I am hoping to have copies of my brand new paperback in time for Arundel Festival. Hooking up with local authors is a great way to market self-published books which is the reason I joined CHINDI (Celebrating and Helping Indie Authors). Together, we are running a book stall in association with the Cancer Research UK Charity Shop in Arundel to raise funds for this worthy cause.

CHINDI authors Facebook header

About the Series

So why should you read my series? Well, if you like crime and psychological thrillers with a bit of romantic suspense thrown in, then this series is for you! Set in the dark criminal underworld of London, the series kicks off in 1972, with ‘Beginnings.’ It is a murder mystery which slowly unravels over time. The next story ‘Visions’ has a more rural setting and based in the 80s. After that, Book 3 ‘Pleasures’ creeps into the 90s, a decade characterised by designer drugs and rave culture. Organised crime continues to be a common theme throughout the series and by the time I started writing ‘Retribution’ the bad characters (including London gangsters) definitely took centre stage.

New Facebook header for Same Face Different Place

Filled with the nostalgia of the 70s, 80s and 90s, I have created a Pinterest Board which provides a visual and cultural background for each book. For more information you might like to visit my boards, all of which can be viewed from my Pinterest Page.

Before I go…

Finishing my series has been a great achievement but an emotional journey too. I created a varied cast of characters, many of whom became very real to me. I decided to close the series with an Epilogue based in 2012 for two reasons. 2012 was an iconic year in Britain because we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and it was also the year of the London Olympics. Who could forget that? One of the children of the series is even a torch bearer in the Olympic relay. I have loved all my characters and it’s been very sad to say goodbye to them; but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

So what do others think about writing a series?

Given that this is likely to swallow up several years of your life, is it a good idea to embark on a series? Once started, you will be committed to finishing it so I’d be interested to hear what others think. Thanks for reading!

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About Helen J. Christmas

I am a budding author and have written the first 3 books of my British series of novels, 'Same Face Different Place. Beginnings is a suspense thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. The second Book 'Visions' is a psychological thriller, set in Kent - a mystery which ensnares the owners of an historic, English Country House. Book 3 Pleasures contains suspense, thrills and YA romance and the 4th book is being written.
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