In my second installment of first chapters I love, today I’m highlighting our very own Alexia Gordon for a very specific reason. One of the hardest feats to pull off is how to start a book that’s part of a series. A population of readers are already familiar with the principal characters, while each book in a series needs to stand on its own to attract new fans.
In my completely unscientific study, researching the careers of authors I hope to emulate, I’ve noticed authors’ third books in a series tend to hit bestseller lists first. The all-important first chapter needs to hook existing fans and newcomers alike.
I’m a big fan of Alexia’s Gethsemane Brown series. What’s not to love about music, an American fish-out-of-water in Ireland, and a ghostly sidekick solving crimes in a tight-knit community? In Killing in C Sharp, Alexia makes the first chapter challenge look effortless. We’re introduced to Gethsemane, her background, current location, and the ghost of the composer whose home she now occupies all while laying out this episode’s characters and theme. Alexia’s words are lyrical and whimsical, deftly setting the stage with a maestro’s ease (puns intended – read the book). By the end of the first chapter, it doesn’t matter if you’ve read the series or not, you’re turning the page to see what happens next.
The fifth book in the series, Execution in E, just came out last month and I can’t wait to read it. If you haven’t yet met Gethsemane Brown, treat yourself to any or all of this delightful series.
Thanks so much. I struggle with putting in enough information to bring new readers up to speed but not so much that it feels like an info dump to those who’ve read earlier books. Glad to hear you think I got it right.