How I Decide What to Write
Some days, I feel like a fast-food menu that offers the following options:
Fatal Series—more Sam and Nick! More Scotty! Can we have Scotty grow up and be a kick-ass cop or politician like his parents?
Gansett Island Series—we want to know whether Abby will have a baby, if Seamus will take Caro and the boys to Ireland, more Dan and Kara, will Janey finish vet school, give us more Mac and Maddie, I love Blaine and need more of him, etc. Will you write a series featuring the Gansett Island kids? And the most popular question lately is WHEN will Mason, the fire chief, find love?
GM/Butler—when will you write Wade’s story? Will Max find someone to help him raise Caden? What about Patrick and Mary? I want their story! How about Linc and Molly’s story? When can we have that?
Quantum—when will Delirious be released? Do you plan to write Leah and Emmett’s story? How about Marlowe? Sebastian? Gordon?
Treading Water—Maggie, Maggie, Maggie (said in the same tone as the Brady Bunch’s Marcia, Marcia, Marcia—LOL)
Single titles—we want more from Marfa! When will we get more of the characters in the earlier books?
THIS is a very nice “problem” for any author to have. I love hearing from readers and learning what you are looking forward to in upcoming books. I get a lot of questions about how I decide what to write when, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you how I decide what to write next.
Sometimes, deadlines determine the schedule. Right now, I’m writing Fatal Chaos, book 12 in the Fatal Series, which is due to my publisher on June 15. Beginning with book 11, Fatal Threat, I’ve taken a new approach to writing the Fatal books, giving myself three months vs. two and breaking up the writing into more manageable daily portions rather than trying to jam out a very complicated plot in sixty days. This “breathing room” has made for a much more enjoyable writing process for me. My team has noticed I’m not in a cranky mood for sixty straight days anymore, which is nice for all of us! I also give myself weekends off from the deadline book, and that is a huge improvement from the days of writing seven days a week to make a deadline.
Usually I write about 1500-2000 words a day in the Fatal book to stay on schedule. I can do that in about 90 minutes or so, although somedays get derailed by other things and it doesn’t happen until late afternoon. When I get my 1500-2000 in early, I have the whole rest of the day to write other stuff.
This month, I’m spending afternoons writing Can’t Buy Me Love, Patrick and Mary’s Butler, Vermont novella. The reason I’m writing that now is because I’m due to write Wade Abbott’s book, Here Comes The Sun, next but I have to do Patrick and Mary’s story first to keep the series timeline from straying too far off course. Remember, they met in You’ll Be Mine, the novella that followed book 4. There are now seven books in the series, so if I don’t write their story soon, I’ll lose the chance to fit it into the overall story arc of the series. You see what I mean? So those of you who’ve been waiting patiently for Wade, I promise, he’s next in line in Vermont!
Once I finish Can’t Buy Me Love, I’ll be turning my attention to Delirious, Quantum Book 6, which I hope to have out this summer or early fall. A lot of people have been asking me about this one, and I know you’re eager for Kristian and Aileen’s story. So am I! The thing is, though, the story has to SPEAK to me before I can write it. I’ve been waiting and hoping the characters would begin to speak to me, especially Kristian, because I think the guys are really the central players in this series—or they will be until I write Marlowe’s book. I’m pleased to report that I started having some good “conversations” with Kristian while I was in Ireland, and I have an idea for the opening of that book that I’m excited about. That’s the key to getting started—an idea I can run with. The rest tends to come from there.
Many of you have asked repeatedly over the last five years for me to write another book in the Treading Water Series, and I do hope to write Maggie’s book—eventually. Again, I wish I could flip a switch and give you exactly what you want when you want it, but unfortunately, the creative process doesn’t work that way. I do have an idea for Maggie, and I know who her love interest would be along with a few other things I’d like to do in that book. So the parts and pieces are coming together. The next challenge becomes finding the time to write it. I’m working on that!
On top of all of this, I also plan to write Kevin and Chelsea’s Gansett Island Episode before too much longer, and I have an idea for a very BIG standalone that I’d like to do as well as the expanded epilogues for Line of Scrimmage, Love at First Flight and Everyone Loves a Hero that I promised readers when I got the rights back to those books earlier this year.
The good news is I’ve got a to-do list a mile long, and there’re lots more books coming in all your favorite series. Thanks for being patient with me—and my muse—while you wait for more! I so appreciate the support and enthusiasm for my books.
If you could order any item off my menu listed above, what would you choose? And you can only pick one!