I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but February 25, my eleventh novel will be born into the world. WHEN SHADOWS FALL is the third Samantha Owens novel, a seminal book in the series, as it decides the course of action for the next several books.
Every series has a path, planned or unplanned. When I started writing my Taylor Jackson series, I had no idea it was going to be a series. I hadn’t thought about extended story, structure, character development. I created a finite character in a finite world, and it was difficult to see where to take the books.
With Sam, it was the opposite. I knew I wanted a character who could grow and change remarkably. I knew I wanted to allow her the freedom to move around the country, the world, with relative ease. As my then editor and I were planning the first book in the series, I mentioned I wanted Sam to be the Indiana Jones of forensic pathology. The idea stuck.
What happens in this book wasn’t supposed to happen until book 4 in the series. It’s funny, the same thing happened to me in the Taylor series. The third book, JUDAS KISS, was supposed to be the fourth. I made mention of my idea for it, hoping to entice my editor to buy the book when I was finished with the third I had planned. Instead, she jumped on the idea and told me in no uncertain terms this was the ONE.
So when I found myself in the same position this time, I knew what I needed to do. Abandon the story and move the next book into its place. I couldn’t let Sam languish in her sorrow any longer. It was time for her to move on. To start anew. Insert resurrection clauses here.
Of course, Sam wasn’t aware of the change her life was about to take. She wasn’t particularly ready to move on, not really. And I had to tell her, Too bad, sister. I’ll let you have some onscreen sex to make up for it.
I think its one of the most part of the fun being a writer, this game you play with your characters. I once asked a very famous writer about how characters sometimes do their own thing, and he looked at me like I was a recent escapee from an insane asylum and declared his characters would never do such a thing because they only did what he told them to do.
I find that so sad. I like that my characters and I have this sort of push and pull relationship. They give me some of what I want, I give them some of what they want. In the end, we’re all happy and moving on to the next adventure. At least, that’s the plan. After wrestling alligators with them for 500 pages, they damn well better be ready to move on. Cause if they’re not, they often end up dead. Or maimed. Or married off, or on the run.
Poor characters. Poor, poor characters. Better behave, or I’ll make your life hell.
But Sam behaved, and she was rewarded with many exciting things, all of which set up the rest of the series. I’m not one-hundred percent sure where we go from here, but I love that book three has become this seminal turning point for the Sam. And as such, for Xander and Fletcher too. The whole cast is being thrust into a new world because I got impatient. I hope they continue to behave!