The TV show The Facts of Life was a anchor in my childhood – I watched with devotion from the first season when I was in 3rd grade and Molly Ringwald was on the show to the later seasons when I was in high school and George Clooney was on the show and I was crushin' on him as hard as Mindy Cohn's character Natalie was.
And it was a spin-off.
The character Edna Garrett, played by Charlotte Rae, was the housekeeper on the show Diff'rent Strokes. She got her own show after the first season and became the house mother at the all-girl boarding school in The Facts of Life. And thus, one of the most successful sitcoms of the 1980's launched into my childhood and adolescence.
Throughout my life, some of my most beloved television shows have been spin-offs. The hilarious Laverne & Shirley, a spin-off of Happy Days. Frasier, a spin-off of Cheers. Angel, a spin-off of another love of mine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My favorite British detective show (and yes, I like it even better than Sherlock) is Lewis, a spin-off of the incomparable Inspector Morse.
As a fan and a viewer, I adore stretching into the individual worlds of characters I've come to cherish. And these new realities are fashioned by the talented people who created the original shows, so we all get to enjoy more genius entertainment coming from the same brains. Yay!
Recently, as an author, I've come to realize the wonder of the spin-off from the creative side. My third romantic comedy novel released today is called Catch a Falling Star and it's a spin-off of my second romantic comedy novel Queen of the Universe. Many reader reviews of Queen mention how they would love to read more about its lead characters, TV writer Lola and handyman-turned-leading man Arlen. But Lola and Arlen have their arc in Queen, so I'm just not inspired to write a sequel with them. Sure, as the one who created them, I think about Lola and Arlen all the time and about their life together after the end of Queen. But as much as I love fantasizing about it all, none of it whips up into a compelling story. But I do so love the world I created around Lola and Arlen.
So … not a sequel, but a spin-off. Catch a Falling Star is the story of TV superstar Wendy Hunter and Lola's brother, southern high school football coach Colin Scott. So, now I've got a new, compelling story that can be read entirely on its own, but in a wonderfully familiar world. And yes, we get to see a lot of Lola and Arlen in Catch, this time as supporting characters. We get to catch up with them, in fact. And not just them ...
I am having so much fun crossing the stars and the paths of my different characters. And I hope that readers and fans love the spinning off as much as I've enjoyed my favorite TV spin-offs throughout my life.
What spin-offs do you adore? TV? Books? Cartoons, even? I'd love to hear what spin-offs, what fictional worlds, have brought you joy. When it comes to fiction, I am all about bringing on the joy!
Thank you for featuring me today on your delightful blog, Monique! I look forward to comments from your fans so we can talk about some of our favorite spin-offs!
Book Blurb: When TV star Wendy Hunter is about to have her most closely guarded secret viciously exposed by the paparazzi, she desperately tosses out a juicy bone to distract them: she announces her engagement to southern high school football coach Colin Scott. One problem. She's not really engaged to him. In fact, she barely knows him. Um … barely. But will one unforgettable night last year be enough to get him to go along with her charade?
Wendy goes to Louisiana to see him and discovers that Colin is not so thrilled to be suddenly "engaged" to her. He's got some secrets of his own that his famous "fiancée" is putting in serious jeopardy. Still, he agrees to her fake engagement ... as long as she agrees to play by his rules. And with the whole world watching, she's got no choice. His demands? That Wendy stay in town for three weeks to play the part of Colin's one true love, all without wrecking his life.
Let the games begin. But when their time together is up, will either of them be able to—or want to—go back to the way things were?
Author Bio When she was a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to rescue animals and constantly pick up litter. At home, she loves to kick back by watching black & white movies, British mysteries, and the New York Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband TV writer Ron, a guy who's even cooler than Kip Dynamite.