Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most beloved authors—his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, which inspired an HBO series, have sold more than 20 million copies, and most of his 60-plus novels have become bestsellers. Though they're set in disparate locales, Smith's works are linked by their gentle humor and generous spirit. His latest book, Corduroy Mansions, depends on the chaos that can arise when many people simply go about the job of living their lives in a small pocket within a larger city—London. It was first published as a serial—in print, and via podcast—by the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper and has just been released in the U.S. McCall Smith took a moment to speak to BookPage about the appeal of writing series and where he gets his sense of humor.

Writing series (at last count you have five on the go now) is your bread and butter. What is the allure to writing continuing series rather than stand-alone fiction? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of your creations?