Kevin Emerson, Suzanne Young, J. Elizabeth Mills, and Trudi Trueit are talking about their work writing and editing book series.
Suzanne Young: her quirky character led to the creation of a series from a single book (THE NAUGHTY LIST). Write relatable characters you want to be around. If she'd known it was being a series, she might have set it up more, and it wouldn't have felt as satisfying to read.
Kevin Emerson: He used to get psyched out about creating unique characters. It helps to be thinking in a genre. He had some rules he could use or change. He had some models to work from when he did OLIVER NOCTURNE. It was helpful for him to work with incremental elements (offering a big "prize" development at the end of the books). He also goes back to his character's age and thinks about what makes for good trauma/conflict (road trips and dances! oy!)
Trudi Trueit (SECRETS OF A LAB RAT): Find characters who are really honest. She writes out a character sheet--all the things her characters like. What's in Scab's pocket? What does his room look like? One of her characters has a lab/bedroom with piles of laundry and stacks of fossils. This makes characters come to life. "Sometimes you just start with one character and it develops as a series." Once you get that series going, you're locked in. So make sure the supporting cast is a good one.
Liz Mills: For the STABLEMATES series, Liz travels back to the age she's writing about and remembering the feelings of envy and jealousy, and how to work it into a story. The quest for perfect hair, for example, makes for good episodic content.