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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Perking My Next Novel

The ink of my new book is not dry and I've already begun working on my next. No, I'm not cranking out my 1500+/- words per day yet and I'm not scribbling down a synopsis. In fact, I don't look busy at all. If we were to meet, you'd find me pleasant enough to speak with, but mildly distracted and not paying full attention to our conversation.

Believe me. I'm very, very busy.

I'm perking.

The books I write are part of a series. The characters and time periods are defined. The structure and histories of the story are established, and a tone has been set. All I have to do is decide what happens next. Easy, right?

It's both a luxury and a curse to write a series. It's a luxury because many decisions have already been made. Who is my main character? What drives her? What does her world look like? But it's a curse for the same reasons. I think creating the next installment is akin to playing a game of bumper pool. You know you want to put the four ball in the corner pocket, but it's not a straight shot to get there. Hard stops and obstacles—like giving your city-dwelling character hay fever in one book, then wanting her to live in the boonies the next—block the way and force you to take alternative angles and approaches. Getting to that corner pocket may be more difficult, but the game becomes much more interesting.

So, right now, I'm perking. I'm thinking about all the reasons why readers wanted to know what happens next. I'm thinking of the time period of the novels and the events that shaped the character's world and our real world into what we know today. I'm thinking of what conflicts we bring upon ourselves and what are thrust upon us. I'm thinking of what questions I may have raised in the first two books that I can answer in the third. I'm thinking of ways to give my readers a wild emotional ride and thrilling reading experience.

All of the ideas are roiling around somewhere deep inside my head. An idea heats up and darts to the surface, where it then filters down over imagined and hard facts. The longer this happens, the more potent the brew becomes. I add things to the mix. A story steeps. The color deepens.

If you see me walking the beach or staring off in space at a gathering, please understand. I'm working.

The Troubles, sequel to The Charity, was released May 20.