Tuesday 28 June 2016

Inside The Author: Eight Down; How Many More To Go?


At the time of writing, I'm working on my fifteenth and sixteenth books, which are both only just started. To answer the question though, I'm not really sure how many books I’ll write before I lay down my keyboard and say that I'm done. I've always joked that I’ll keep writing until I run out of ideas or someone tells me to stop, and despite the fear that I will run out of ideas, it hasn't happened yet.

I usually start planning my next two books when I reach the point with the two I'm working on where I can see how they're going to end and how long it's going to take me to get there: I like to have an idea of where I'm going and what I'll need to do once I finish writing a book. I like being able to close the file on one, and open a new file pretty much immediately. The first words of the book may not be written straight away, but once I have my chapter plan and character notes done, along with any research that I need to do, I'm usually desperate to get started.

Initially, when I first started writing in 2001, I didn't think about how many books I would write. My goal was to write and then try to get one of the finished works published. When BLACKOUT hit the shelves in 2005, I set myself a goal of ten books total. Five of those would make up the DYING THOUGHTS series and another five would be standalone books. I would then release one a year so that I always had a backlog - though that backlog keeps getting smaller each time I release a book! However, when I started writing two books at the same time, I started to get closer and closer to that final number.

When I started writing my ninth and tenth books, I realised that I wasn't quite done with Tara's story and I also wasn't done with writing. I planned to increase the DYING THOUGHTS series to eight books, and continue to write my standalone books. I estimate that by the time this blog post is live, I will be writing the eighth book of Tara's journey. I don't really know where I'll go after that because I don't know how that book will end and if it will take me to the point where I feel that Tara has told her story and it's time to bring it to a close. Of course, since I write two at once, I'll write another handful of standalones which will bring me up to twenty books. I'll leave any decision making about whether or not I'll write more to when I get to that point.

So, the answer is that I really don't know how many more books I'll write. I do worry that one day I will run out of ideas and that Tara will be left waiting, and other characters will have been left in the dust. It's not just about being inspired, it's about having a plot line that can span a book. It's about having a story to tell. I know that I would like to write more books about disabled teens because as someone who became disabled in their late teens, I know how hard it is to find representation in books and I'd like to fix that. I would also like to explore new worlds and go down different paths and I can't do that if I don't write and bring my characters to life. Just as they get to tell their story, I get to go along for the ride, and I'm not done on this ride! Eight rollercoasters done, now onto the next adventure!

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