As I embark on my first attempt to write a series for children, I was fortunate to be connected with author, agent and publisher, Barbara Casey. As the author of the four-book YA series, The F.I.G. Mysteries, I asked her what it was that made this concept a series and not just a standalone novel.
THE CHARACTERS IN THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES
Guest post by Barbara Casey
Once in a while when you are writing a story, you will create a character that, from that moment on, just won’t leave you alone. I can honestly say that the three F.I.G.s—Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer—in my series, The F.I.G. Mysteries, are like that. Getting to know them has been a journey in itself. Each girl is so unusual, being a genius, an orphan, and with special talents. That in itself is interesting, but it goes much deeper. Each of these girls, in spite of her abilities, feels flawed. Together, they give each other the support and permission they need to be different. That frequently gets them into trouble as they constantly look for ways in which to express themselves creatively and to over-compensate for being different. When a new, bright, young teacher gets assigned to “look after” them and “keep them on a short leash,” they immediately sense that she is one of them and there is nothing that is impossible for them to achieve.
Like her three charges, teacher/mentor Carolina Lovel is also an orphan, although she didn’t find out until her 18th birthday. Also like Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer, she holds a secret deep within her soul. This secret allows her to be able to cope with not knowing who her biological parents are and why they gave her away. When she decides to share her secret with the F.I.G.s, it builds the trust and love they already have for one another to a level that can never be destroyed. It takes them on a journey of gypsies, the most mysterious manuscript in the world—the Voynich Manuscript, to a secret sub-culture beneath Grand Central Terminal in New York City, an ancient pig dragon in China, and into a war from the past.
I have now completed the series, and the result is The Cadence of Gypsies, The Wish Rider, The Clock Flower, and The Nightjar’s Promise. However, I’m not sure the characters are finished with me. I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking, wondering, what would the F.I.G.s do if…
Thanks, Barbara, for your helpful insights!