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Friday, March 30, 2012

Not all books are created sequel

(Beware, massive title/name dropping. Just so you know.)

When I first began to write The Coming Storm I had no idea it would have a sequel. I was so caught up in the climatic scene that sparked the story, and then in the characters, the plot, that world, that I couldn't imagine anything else but completing that book.

I knew from the get go how it would end, wrestled with it the whole time I was writing, but I always knew it would end the way it did because it must - that, essentially, was what the story had always been about.

Then of course once I finished it, I knew I had to write the next sequel. In fact I was so driven that I started writing it at home on a Sunday, kept writing it on a flight to Alabama, worked on it through half the night, went into the office where I was scheduled to work that day, and quit my job when I returned home that night.
(That didn't work out so well, but that's a different story.)

Questions about some of the characters in the books from my beta readers (folks who check me for errors, overused words, etc.), though, haunted me. How had it happened, how had Delae and Dorovan come together to bring about the events that take place in Storm? Some of it had been explained in a deleted prologue my beta readers had read but I'd removed it as backstory (information the writer needs to know but not necessarily the reader - hence the deletion). So Not Magic Enough was born.

Another story from that series nagged at me personally. I wanted to tell how Elon, Colath and Jareth had met and formed their unusual friendship in a time when such things weren't encouraged. I also wanted to tell a simple tale of the friendship between three men, a basic fantasy adventure, and so I wrote Setting Boundaries to tell the story  of how two Elves and a wizard managed to become such close friends.

Even Servant of the Gods and it's sequel Heart of the Gods had originally been written as one book, until I realized they weren't. One half was based in ancient Egypt, the second was contemporary. (I also knew there might be issues with some readers about Servant and initially released Heart first. Now I let folks make up their own minds.) However I quickly knew they would likely be part of series, they're fun to write and I like the dynamic between the characters. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to write what comes next. (And yes, Mary Ann, Ryan will be along for the ride.)

On the other hand, when I wrote Song of the Fairy Queen I had no intention of writing a sequel, and still don't. Some fans have asked if there will be one, and I have to say that right now that I don't know. I may. I love the characters and their world and I'd be interested to see what kind of King Gawain will be but if I did write it, it would be about that transition from Prince to King.
However, I didn't write Song as a sequel, it had it's own purpose. Many writers have a specific reason for telling a particular tale, even if they don't articulate it. I wanted to tell the story of the sacrifices that are made in the name of duty and honor, and that there is a particular dignity in doing so. I also wanted to tell the story of a Queen. Say what you like about Kings, but there have been some spectacular Queens. They didn't call Catherine 'the Great' for nothing, and both Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria were pretty impressive. Both Kyriay and Gwenifer were and are strong women, too, neither one of which overpowers or suffers in comparison to Oryan.

The same was true of The Last Resort. A contemporary mystery/thriller, when I wrote it I had a purpose but toward the end I realized I was really interested in seeing the characters expand and grow in their relationships to each other.


In contrast, I knew from the moment I started writing Nike's Wings that I wanted to write a series *laughing* just not the one the next book appears to be.

The muse is quirky that way.

Now when I wrote my romance series The Millersburg Quartet I knew I wanted to write about four unique and individual women. Women more like me and the women I know. Frankly, (and nothing against chick lit or the stories like them) I was tired of reading about women obsessed with shoes. I think almost from the time I started writing Irish Fling I knew each of them well, but as I wrote and got to know them better by the time I was done with Two Up I had to go back to the others to add what I'd learned.

I do have to say its unlikely I'll ever write a Robert Jordanesque or even George R. R. Martin style series. I understand the attraction of a long running epic fantasy, the comfort level there, and admire Martin's willingness to break all the rules, but that's their gig, not mine. There are writers who do long story arcs. I don't know whether Jordan, Martin or any of the others deliberately plan them or whether they just wing it and see where it goes, but I'm not built that way. I need diversity. I'd go mad stuck in one world, whether fantasy or contemporary.

In fact, I just released a standalone romance, Lucky Charm, and I have another I'll probably be releasing in a few months.

Somewhere in between there I've got the sequel to Nike's Wings and a prequel to The Coming Storm - I really want to know Talesin's story and see the truth of the wizard wars. There's a sequel to The Coming Storm and Convocation of Kings, too. I started it but I've lost it somewhere. So I guess I'll have to start again.

Unless, of course, the muse decides to take me somewhere else.
Sometimes its just fun to see where we'll go next.....