Moving From One Book to a Series by Anne Coates – Writing Tips

Moving From One Book to a Series by Anne Coates – Writing Tips

For 2022 we have a new segment on the blog which will be coming to you weekly called Writing Tips.

These posts will be shared with you every Wednesday and will feature writing tips from authors on a variety of subject that are there to help other authors and new writers.

Our third post is from author Anne Coates on the subject ‘Moving From One Book to a Series‘. This post contains affiliate links.

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Moving From One Book to a Series

I had never set out to write a series. In fact the original version of Dancers in the Wind, my first Hannah Weybridge crime thriller, was written many years ago. It was the second novel I’d written and, although it generated more interest than the first, it didn’t find a home except in my desk drawer. Not until 2015 did I bother to reread it, thought it had some potential and rewrote it – several times.

I was thrilled when Urbane Publications wanted to publish it and, even more exciting, saw it as part of a trilogy. I had previously written a few chapters of what could have been Hannah Weybridge’s next investigation, so I was off. Almost immediately I hit a problem. The first victim in Death’s Silent Judgement is Hannah’s friend who was mentioned in Dancers as working abroad for a major medical charity. I don’t plan out my work but go with the flow and it soon became apparent that the charity Liz Rayman had been working for – or at least some of its staff – was implicated in her death. Fortunately I was reading the final proofs for the first book and managed to change the charity name to a fictional one.

The first book began in 1993 and originally the second book began about a year later. Then I realised there would be too many gaps to fill and so book two begins in early 1994. It meant going through the manuscript and making descriptions and clothes appropriate to the season. The action in the third of the trilogy, now renamed Songs of Innocents, takes place in May 1994 and includes many of the characters that have become part of my writing life. To keep track of characters I have my blue “bible” – a notebook that contains the name and relevant information on each character.

Having created a world for Hannah Weybridge, I was loath to leave it behind, and although Urbane had not commissioned it, I began book four Perdition’s Child. This brings to the fore a minor character from DSJ, Lucy who lived in cardboard city. After I had written the first draft, I realised that she had mentioned a sister when we first met her and here I was writing about her brother. I couldn’t go back and change the throwaway line in book two but I did manage to change the sibling context in book four.

As I mentioned I don’t plan out a book, let alone a series and I love how some characters have led me by the nose and interact with each other. It is especially rewarding when readers become attached to secondary characters – they all have their backstories. Perdition’s Child was published just before the pandemic really took hold in 2020 and I had thought that might be the end of the series.

During the first lockdown I was writing a contemporary standalone psychological thriller but was finding it hard to concentrate. Eventually I put it aside and slipped back in time where there was no pandemic, to write the fifth in the series. As with all the other Hannah Weybridge books, it began for me with an image I had and is set in one of my favourite theatres, The Old Vic in Waterloo, London. In fact, a lot of the action takes place in Waterloo, an area I know well as my mother was born there and I used to work for IPC magazines in Stamford Street.

As I was writing Stage Call, I realised it was unlikely to be published by Urbane Publications – and I was right as they ceased trading at the end of April 2021. Fortunately, Red Dog Press was happy to produce new editions (including hardbacks!) of the first four books leading up to the publication of Stage Call on 18 January, 2022.

Needless to say, I am currently writing number six. Here I am again among what have become old friends. At one point I did think of ending the series with a leap into the twenty-first century but I’m not sure that I or Hannah Weybridge is ready for that yet.

About the Author

Anne Coates Moving From One Book to a Series

Reading and writing has been Anne Coates’ passion for as long as she can remember. Inspired by her mother who taught her to read before she went to school and by the Deputy Head at her secondary school in Harlow, Essex who encouraged her hunger for reading by granting her free access to the books not yet in the school library – she still feels grateful for this, in her eyes, amazing privilege.

After her degree in English and French, Anne moved to London where she has lived ever since. During her career, she worked for publishers, as a journalist, writer, editor, and translator.

The birth of her daughter, Olivia inspired her to write non-fiction books, such as ‘Your Only Child’ (Bloomsbury, 1996), books about applying to and surviving university (NeedtoKnow, 2013), but also short stories, tales with a twist, and stories exploring relationships, published in in various women’s magazines including Bella and Candis.

After working on Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home, Anne went freelance and found herself interviewing all types of people from those working on gas rigs to prostitutes and some of their situations made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born…

The Hannah Weybridge series was first published by Urbane Publications who ceased trading in April 2021. New editions of Dancers in the Wind, Death’s Silent Judgement, Songs of Innocence plus Perdition’s Child have been released by Red Dog Press in preparation for the digital publication of the latest, Stage Call on 18 January, 2022. Hardcover and paperback will be published a month later.

Anne Coates lives in South East London with three demanding cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining and spending time with her family and friends.

Author Links


Stage Call Anne Coates Moving From One Book to a Series

Stage Call
Hannah Weybridge Series Book Five

Author – Anne Coates
Publisher – Red Dog Press
Pages – 254
Release Date – 16th January 2022
Format – ebook

Synopsis writing tips 2022 Moving From One Book to a Series

At the Old Vic, one of London’s most iconic theatres, the stage was set ready for one of the nation’s national treasures to tread the boards. Joan Ballantyne, now in her sixties, had attracted a new fan base with her role in an award-winning soap, Chicory Road, and the play was a sell-out. As the curtain rose, an actor nimbly turned an armchair that was facing the wrong way – to reveal the strangely still body of their leading lady. The show would not go on that evening…

Still recovering from the attempt on her life, Hannah Weybridge was stunned. She had been collaborating with the actress on her memoir. Now she had to contribute to her obituary. Suicide was suspected but Hannah, from the little she knew of the woman, was sceptical. As was her son, the famous TV actor, Leo Hawkins, who implored Hannah to investigate the circumstances of his mother’s mysterious death.

Hannah is drawn into the lives of those who knew Joan. But who could she trust in a world where everyone seemed to be playing a part?

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1 Response

  1. DJ Sakata says:

    I am intrigued – my next stop is going to be Goodreads