privateeyejulyFans of crime fiction and romance author Iris Johansen know heroine Eve Duncan well. Her many adventures as one of the world’s foremost forensic sculptors have engaged readers for years. In 2013, Eve's story continues in a trilogy within the series: Taking Eve (April), Hunting Eve (July) and Silencing Eve (October) In a guest blog post, Johansen shares how trilogies within larger, beloved series help keep stories fresh.

Guest post by Iris Johansen


The Eve Duncan series has gone on for many, many books and spun off a multitude of secondary characters. Some of those characters have intrigued me enough to give them leading roles in their own books, and some are waiting in the wings until I get to know them better. However, the fascination I have with those secondary characters can cause headaches as well as richness when I write trilogies. A trilogy has to contain a plot that will be interesting and keep the reader coming back for all three books.

The first Eve Duncan trilogy I wrote was simpler and answered questions that I wanted answered for my own satisfaction. The mystery of Bonnie had been hovering over me all the years of writing the series. I wanted to know everything about her, Eve, Joe and Gallo, the man who had fathered Bonnie. I wanted to delve deep and get to know all those characters that had become such a gigantic part of my life. I believe I did do that and it gave me tremendous satisfaction. It was also a terrific challenge and balancing act.

But when it was over I felt a sort of flatness. I missed the challenge and I hadn’t really explored in-depth Jane MacGuire, who was such an important person in Eve Duncan’s life.  I also had an idea that might open all kinds of interesting questions for Eve and me. So I began to write and it was just as exciting as I thought it would be.

Challenge?  Oh, yes, definitely a challenge, because this trilogy was about a frantic and intricate search for Eve Duncan that could trigger her death at any moment. It had to span three books and still be fresh and fast-paced every moment. It also had to include all the characters that would logically be searching for Eve.

Ah, there’s the difficulty. Anyone who has read the series knows that Eve is special to a great many people who move in and out of the books. They would all hop on the trail in a heartbeat to find her if she was in danger. So there had to be a juggling act that involved Eve, the hunt and the personal stories of the hunters. Throw in the back history of those characters and the emotional fireworks from all quarters, and you get an idea of the problem. I’m lucky that I’m usually able to let the characters take over and straighten everything out. That’s what happened this time, thank heavens.

Would I write another trilogy?  You bet I would. It keeps the brain sharp and the creativity flourishing. I never know what’s going to happen next. But it won’t happen right away. I need to catch my breath and just concentrate on pure storytelling. I’m very excited about Catherine Ling’s new adventure and I want to dive into it.

Eve has had a terribly hard time during this trilogy. Why don’t we let her rest for a little while?

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Thanks, Iris! Readers, the second in the trilogy, Hunting Eve, is out today! And keep an eye out for the conclusion, Silencing Eve, in October!

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