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Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
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Why not both? Legacies, I’ll call them, are what I tend to write. I had no intention of writing sequels for the historical fiction works I write, but something about OP-DEC compelled me to do more with the characters. I am still contemplating a third and what that might look like in the Cold War era of the 1960s. Would it take place in the United States, or would there be a return to the European stomping grounds? It’s very loose in my head as I think about it.
Blue Honor may never have a sequel. Although, I think of writing more regarding a pair of characters introduced as children during the course of the drama, it is a lift. The tale will take place many years later, and Emily and Joseph take a step back from the spotlight. I envision something a bit more daring, that faces issues still prevalent today. Again, it’s too loose in my head to make up my mind.
My intention was never to write more than the single story with either of these, yet something keeps tapping me on the shoulder to say I am not yet done with the people I created in them. I am sure with time that I will realize what exactly is necessary to write about in their context.
My other books, The Trailokya Trilogy, will be an ongoing series. I hope to keep going in the next series with another Samsaran wilderness, but one that predates the human story of the trilogy by quite sometime. This will be quite an adventure to undertake and the idea is really very exciting to me. I have fleshed-out stories but am uninterested in publishing them as they stand. Yet, with the right tweeks, they will fit this new adventure, thus not wasting them. Sometime in my twenties, I grew tired of writing about elves and dwarves. My preference now is to read them by authors. So much has already been done and done well in that vein. My additions would have been inadequate and redundant.
There are a lot of tidbits to discover along the way (Easter Eggs). More will come in the subsequent writings. The last book of the trilogy also divulges the trajectory I plan to take for the next series of books. There’s a lot to unpack, if a reader will hunt down all the good stuff to be found.
The Trailokya series is an opportunity to create quite a legacy series. I made a point of closing each of the trilogy with an ample ending–open enough to compel readers to seek out the next, but closing enough to allow them to be stand alone stories. This makes them feel more like seasons in a television series. The visual quality of the series enhances that feeling.
You may wonder what I mean by legacy series. It is a series of interconnected books with vast potential for additional stories. Saga, if you will. When I engage with fantasy realms, I want to be able to provide a lot to enjoy, and that is why I take such care world building them. It should feel real and it should be expansive.
In this way, my books may outlive me. Another author may come along and continue with this world I started. Hopefully this author will be respectful of the rules to my realm, but it will little matter to me either way as I will be gone by that time. There is so much to do with fantasy, whereas historical fiction is far more rigid. Maybe that is why it has come to be less about writing sequels in historical fiction and more about writing them as separate pieces. To me, historical fiction is a means to escape into history to hear stories about unknown heroes and events, as if you’re uncovering a bit of lost history. I’m more comfortable with them as polished little nuggets than sweeping sagas. That’s just my style.
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Stevie Turner says
How strange, that somebody else might finish off your story! I think I’d have to haunt them and be looking over their shoulder as they’re writing.
Captain Maiel says
I so pictured that for myself, too. You are not alone. I will be biting my nails if it comes to that.
P.J. MacLayne says
You’ll have to rename your series if you add more books! Or make them a separate series like Mercedes Lackey did with the Valdemar books.
Captain Maiel says
I was going to go with Trailokya: Aghart Chronicles for the new series. It will have the key term, so I think that will help them stay tied. I don’t like the idea of going back and renaming them–not just because I’d need to create new covers and materials…there’s been a lot of branding work put into them. Yikes, that would be an insane lift!
Roberta Eaton Cheadle says
Interesting to read your thoughts on this. I see that you have both standalone and series. Nothing wrong with that, and the series probably helps garner new readers for the standalone books.
Captain Maiel says
Thank you, Roberta. I think it’s good to have a couple avenues to explore if you’re willing. I see, also, how the series is helped by my historical writing background–probably, vice versa too. It might very well do that (bring in readers one to the other).
Richard Dee says
I love the idea of Easter eggs, and of someone wanting to write more in years to come. I have had visions of the grandaughter of my amateur detective finding out about her ancestor and carrying on the good work. Maybe that’s another series?
Captain Maiel says
Easter eggs are so much fun. I probably don’t even know some I put in there inadvertently. That can happen!
Sounds like you have another series in the works. 🙂