I tend to have mixed feelings when discovering a book I really love. On one hand, I rejoice in being able to lose myself in the story and connect with the characters; on the other hand, however, I know that this compelling story will have to end at some point. By the time I come to the last paragraph on the last page, I’ve fallen so in love with the characters and setting that I wish I could actually live there. Since that’s pretty much impossible (I say pretty much because while there is the power of imagination, that kind of extensive daydreaming would earn me a one-way ticket to the looney bin), the next best thing is to discover that the author has provided supplemental material to said books/series.
One example that springs to mind is Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold, CA series. The only thing that’s better than getting lost in a good book is being able to keep up with the characters even after the story has finished, and Ms. Mallery has splendidly provided readers with plenty of series extras. The Fool’s Gold site is chock-full of extras, from FG cheerleaders, to customizable e-postcards, to even detailed FG magazine issues about the town and its notorious bachelors. What’s even more fun is how the site boasts festivals and other town happenings — while they may be fiction as well, it’s fun to explore and picture yourself mingling with the townspeople.
Another great example of fab, in-depth extras is Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. I’ve mentioned before how Cedar Cover is at the top of my “Ideal Small Town” list, and I still stand by that notion. From a detailed town map, to Covebook (Cedar Cove’s version of Facebook), this town’s got it all! The biggest upside, though, is that it’s loosely based on a real coastal town called Port Orchard, so technically it’s possible to visit to get a feel for what Ms. Macomber writes about in her best-selling books.
Granted, not all book and series extras have to be this detailed; I get excited over simple guest posts written from the POV of a book’s hero/heroine — or, in the case of Dr. Hot and HoneyPot from Inez Kelley’s Turn It Up, their own Twitter account. Regardless of the medium, I just love being able to continue interacting even after the book is over. Not only does it add a certain level of depth to the story, but it also makes me more inclined to check a certain author or series out, because I know there’ll be the option of exploring more once I’ve finished reading.
ROAMING QUESTION: What do you think of books/series with “extras” or “bonuses”? Do you read them at all? If so, what’s the most memorable one you’ve ever come across?