What I’m Listening to: “Dreaming in Metaphors” by Seal
I never intended to write a series. I am not a big fan of reading series. I’m still trying to figure out how I got here, and how to get out.
I started out writing a fairly simple “Mists of Avalon”-y sort of story that had been banging around in my dreams* for about 10 years. It got too big to be in such a confined space, so I thought I’d put it on paper.
[*Like a lot of other writers, I have a bunch of little stories I play in my head to help me go to sleep. I usually don’t write these down, because the purpose of them is to be so well-worn—and frankly boring—that it puts me to sleep.]
After I had it all written down—an initial process that broke all my speed writing records and came out in just 6 weeks—I felt it might be improved by a Frame Tale. That’s a device that begins and ends (and sometimes appears in the middle of) the main story. So my—rather extensive—frame tale was about the heirs created by Anya and Merlin and King Arthur about to accomplish what had been set in motion 1500 years before. Then I had some friends read it. They all said they didn’t much care for the Arthurian stuff, and were more interested in the “future” story.
The usual author angst followed. Then I split the manuscript into two books. And yes, they were right, the two tales stood on their own. But they needed a LOT more material to work. So I wrote the two books in tandem.
No, I had never tried to do that ever before. I wrote my last novel in 1999. It took me 5 years just to get the rough draft for CAPTAIN MARY, BUCCANEER.
Six months later, I reached the end of what became THE MIDSUMMER WIFE. And I realized that there had to be 2 more books because of the way TMW ended: one dark, the other light.
I had just committed to a series.
I went into massive authorial decline. I mean, it was all I could do to finish the first two, now I was looking at two more? Yikes!
Then Vagabondage Press, through their imprint Strange Fictions Press, decided to publish THE MIDSUMMER WIFE. Fawn Neun, the publisher, asked me, “Are there any other titles associated with this? Is it a series or a stand-alone?”
So I told her about the prequel with Anya and King Arthur and Merlin. And then the one book I had (at that time) half-written, and the outline for a third book. And as I was writing that email, I was thinking, oh, if the first three sell, I could maybe write a fourth and final book, because I have some cool ideas how this could all wind up (CHILDREN OF THE HEIRS?).
“Great,” Fawn said. “We’ll release the prequel, THE HEALER OF CAMELOT, in August, after we launch THE MIDSUMMER WIFE on Midsummer Day 2018, then we’ll release Book 2, THE SOLSTICE BRIDE, and Book 3, MISTRESS OF THE ROSE MOON, in 2019. Depending on sales, we’ll see if we need a book 4 to end in 2020.”
I went back and madly finished Book 2 and wrote the rough draft for Book 3 in about 2 months. I’ve been refining and rewriting the two books in tandem (again!) so that the whole series is coherently linked.
And then I started thinking about all the intervening 1500 years between Anya/King Arthur/Merlin and Ava/Ron/Harper and thought: you know, I could do a whole series of books on Arianrhod and her organization (which is basically a slightly more benign Bene Gesseret (always steal from the best!)). Maybe calling the series THE DAUGHTERS OF ARIANRHOD.
DAMN! ANOTHER SERIES!
I really had some plans for several different books… but it always comes back to this series.
Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t stop writing series!
A reminder: THE MIDSUMMER WIFE debuts Midsummer Day–June 24! It will be available in Kindle and paperback. Please reserve your copy today!