Growing up, I loved reading the works of Sarah Dessen, an emerging young adult author who took readers through the journeys of heartbreak, betrayal and family troubles. Reading her books taught me how to behave and what was expected from me as I matured from an angsty teenager into a young woman. I enjoyed reading her books and looking at the crossovers she did with various characters. I read on as she brought characters from books I loved, The Truth About Forever and Someone Like You, into the pages of books I would grow to love—Just Listen, What Happened to Goodbye and Dreamland. The intermingling of Macy, Wes, Dexter, Caitlin, Annabel, Scarlett and Whitney excited me because it brought the characters I loved to life in other books. I was able to see how easily an author can make characters a part of books that aren’t in the same series.
While researching this idea, I came across another well-known author who uses crossover characters throughout his books. Perhaps you’ve heard of him: Stephen King? Quite a few of his books intertwine characters, such as Randall Flagg and the Crimson King, who can then be seen together in the Dark Tower series. Randall Flagg received his start in The Stand and The Eyes of the Dragon as a character who’s a devoted servant of the Outer Dark and goes on to the Dark Tower series to fight for the Outer Dark. Due to similar identities, his character can also be seen as Raymond Fiegler in Hearts in Atlantis, but this has never been confirmed. The Crimson King can be found in Insomnia, Hearts in Atlantis and the Dark Tower series as the antagonist whose goal is to topple the Dark Tower. Although these two characters have their own books, King chose to combine their stories in other novels.
The concept of crossover characters is quite interesting and it’s a notion that has been utilized not just by Sarah Dessen and Stephen King, but also by many authors. If you want to check out more, consider authors like David Mitchell, Madeleine L’Engle, Kurt Vonnegut and Haruki Murakami.
Did You Know?
Stephen King wrote a miniseries called The Bachman Books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. There were four books in this collection: Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man—a novel written in only one week.