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The Accidental Series

I’ve talked about it before that FRESH START was written as a stand-alone, and technically, THE BEST LINES would have been as well, but I wanted Eva to be friends with Hannah and Alyssa, so I brought FRESH START into the fold. Then, we met Charlie & Hailey, and I decided to get them a book so that they could have their happy ending. By doing that, we met Summer, Lena, and Emma, and I liked all of them, too. The pattern just kept going on and on.

So, what happened? Well, my wife pointed out recently that the reason I kept wanting to go on and write not only the CHICAGO SERIES but then SAN FRANCISCO, TAHOE, and so on was that not only did I like my side characters, which is something I suspect a lot of authors also do, but I had built them into real people.

I could see them with full lives because of the work I’d put into them in the book that wasn’t even about them, and because of that, they were people I genuinely cared about and wanted to see fall in love. I’d put the work in on those characters in a previous book, which made writing their actual book even easier.

When I was writing JUST TELL HER, I fell a little in love with Emma and Hailey’s young love story, and I almost didn’t want to get Charlie and Hailey together there for a while because I felt so bad for Emma losing her first love not once, but twice. At the end of LOVE WALK INTO THE LANTERN, after Emma lost out to Lena for Summer’s affection, I randomly decided to have Emma move to San Francisco because I wanted her to have something positive, and the idea of starting over for her felt right.


I had no idea I’d be writing a San Francisco Series when I remembered Keira Worthy from LOVE WALKED INTO THE LANTERN. She was also such a small character. I knew she was an event planner, but that was it. I wrote the Chicago Series accidentally and then, somehow, the San Francisco Series accidentally, too, because I wrote Keira having friends, of course. We met Kellan, Keira’s ex, Macon, and Hillary, and I had no idea what to do with any of them when I was writing CHECKING THE RIGHT BOX, but because I’d fleshed them all out so much, I knew they felt real to me and that they would to others as well.

I sent Kellan to Tahoe with no plan on keeping her there. In fact, originally, I thought the character she fell in love with would move back to San Francisco with her, but when I wrote KEEP TAHOE BLUE, that didn’t feel right, so she moved there, and by then, I had more friends in Tahoe to write about, so if you’ve ever wondered why we go to Tahoe and then back to San Francisco in chronological order, that’s why. I had two friend groups to write about.

I knew Macon was special and that there was more to her than met the eye. By introducing Joanna in CHECKING THE RIGHT BOX, I’d given them a little bit of a flirtatious vibe, so I liked the idea of them falling in love later. I’d put a little mention of Amara in the cafe in CHECKING THE RIGHT BOX, too, so when I wrote MACON’S HEART, I mentioned her again, and when I got to THIS ABOVE ALL, Hillary finally talked to Amara and they lived happily ever after. Most of this was all done intentionally, but it turned into an accidental series.


Tahoe continued the theme, and I ended up with all of these characters connected in some way. There were a few incidents in writing the books that this became very helpful. When Emma and Keira decide to get married in Tahoe, Joanna is a photographer, Hillary is, of course, an ordained minister, and Macon can play the music. When characters needed help with their businesses, Lena and Summer could help, or Charlie or Hailey could.


It all just kind of worked out, and when I started writing BOSTON intentionally as a series, I knew I wanted to have at least some connection to the other characters, so I brought Macon and Joanna over and made Amanda a violinist in school who Macon could mentor.

It’s kind of funny how I wrote a story one time all those years ago about a woman who was wrongfully arrested for a crime, had her and the love of her life move from California to Chicago, decided on a whim to have them be friends with a new character I was writing, and that turned into 11 stories (12 if you count Macon and Joanna heading to Boston for LET GO), and if you add in the other 3 books (What Happened After post-epilogues) in that series, it’s 15). It all really happened because I like my side characters to be dynamic and show growth just as much as my main characters. And now, here we are.

P.S. Chicago Series paperbacks with new covers are already available! Stay tuned for an exclusive signed paperbacks giveaway in Nicole Pyland's Reader Group on Facebook.



We’ve launched a podcast! ✨

It’s called Wife on Wife, and in it, my wife (aka my publisher, editor, and just about everything else) asks me questions about my books.

The first two episodes are already live!

Check it out, subscribe, tell your friends, and let me know what you think.

If you have questions about my books, characters, or my writing process that you’d like to have included in an upcoming episode, check out the Podcast page, where you can see the next book we’ll be talking about and submit your questions before we record.


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