When I sat down to write my first novel, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would be a standalone. Every detail of my hero and heroine’s journey would be tied up in a nice neat bow by the last page.
Who wanted the hassle of a cliffhanger?
I continued with this philosophy well into my contemporary series, always wrapping up each book nicely as I sent the hero and heroine into their happily every after.
Right around the publication of my fifth book, I had an idea.
A horrible, brilliant idea. It nagged at me for days until finally I typed up a brief synopsis and sent it to my agent.
I knew readers would hate me, because this time, there would be no bow—I was entering the dreaded territory of cliffhangers.
When you’re dealing with a series, and a cliffhanger is involved, you can’t just rely on your characters—there has to be more to carry the story from one book into the other, otherwise you end up with plot holes the size of Texas.
The way I approached the Lost & Found series was looking at both books as one. The story arc needed to really crest over both books, so if a reader were delving into them back to back, it would feel fluid and natural. I also took this approach with character development. With any great novel or movie, a hero or heroine grows in one way or another—either by coming out of their shell, or realizing their own potential, etc.
Both of my main characters had exponential room for growth in their lives. August, having just regained consciousness from a two-year coma, constantly tries to find his place in the world…and with Everly. Everly, in turn, has internal conflict and is often second guessing herself. All of these character traits I instilled in them take time to work out, and are very much present at the end of book two. It frustrates readers because unlike a standalone, that growth they often identify with hasn’t been realized yet.
But it’s intentional. If August and Everly were perfect already, the second book would be irrelevant.
I often hear from readers who have yet to purchase this series, fearful of the ending. I empathies with this sentiment. Cliffys aren’t for everyone, but thankfully the wait is always short-lived and becomes a thing of the past once the series is complete.
No matter how a reader chooses to enjoy a book, with or without a cliffhanger, the point is just to enjoy. Period.
About Forgetting August
She can forgive, but can she forget?
Some days, Everly still thinks she sees him. In the food court at the mall, or in a car speeding past as the light changes. It only lasts a second, but when it happens, she slips back to a time when she was ruled-and nearly ruined-by August Kincaid. And it doesn’t matter that she’s moved on, that she’s about to marry another man. In those moments the only thing she can do to regain control is take a deep breath and remind herself that August can’t hurt her-because he’s in a coma. Except that he’s not anymore.
August is awake. With no memories, he sets out to solve the mystery of his lost life. He unearths a photograph of a beautiful redhead named Everly and knows instinctively that she’s the key. But when he finds her, the August she describes is more monster than man.
Tortured by the thought of having hurt her, August wants only to become the man Everly deserves. As the new August emerges, Everly glimpses the person she first fell in love with. But can she trust that this August is real? When the final secret of their shared past is revealed, one of them will make a choice that changes their future forever…
About Remembering Everly
He’s forgotten his past, but it hasn’t forgotten him. After losing two years of his life trapped in a coma, August Kincaid will do anything to win back the love of his life. But his past threatens to destroy his second chance at happiness, it’s Everly who is in danger of paying for his crimes.
Author J.L. Berg is a California native living in the South. She is the author of the self-pubbed Ready series. When she’s not writing, you can find her with her nose stuck in a romance book, in a yoga studio, or devouring anything chocolate.