On A Book’s Path…

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!