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Perhaps the biggest question lingering on any reader’s mind while immersed in a book and especially after finishing one, is what does this author intend to do next?
If it's a series, will it continue from here or end? If it continues, will it move forward along the same timeline? Will the characters that I’ve grown to love (or hate) be in the next book? Will they live or die?
What of the characters I’m most curious about—the ones whose stories have yet to find any definition or conclusion? Will the author bring them to light or allow them to fade away as if they never mattered?
And what if a particular character’s plight matters to the readers, and they want to know more? How does any reader go about asking questions or expressing his or her opinion?
This is why reader interaction has become so vital. It’s why I’ve chosen to keep the lines of communication wide open with all of you and why so many other authors are doing the same these days.
Please understand this: it is vastly important for me to know what you think—you’re fans of my stories and of the characters I’ve created and of theirstories. This email ‘marketing’ list and my direct email address are vital. Social media outlets, while overwhelming at times, are all vital. They’re all channels—methods of interconnecting with my readers, and conversely, my readers with me.
Times gone by.
What’s Left of My World began as a modest, very brief short story of about 2,500 words I’d typed after my brother had been in a car crash almost twenty years ago. He was ejected from his vehicle and almost died from his injuries, and to this day lives in a nursing home a victim of TBI, or traumatic brain injury, unable to care for himself. My emotions then had been scattered all over the place and remained that way for some time, and my outlet for the depression I had been dealing with had been to write stories—with no intention or forethought of ever having them published.
I’d titled the short, Fall of the Indomitable, and the main scene was particularly evocative of Red Dawn where a young man has a chance meeting with an American soldier deep in the forest a year after the country had been overtaken by an invading force. In fact, I used the story as an outline for the scene in chapter 7 of book 1 when Lauren initially encounters Christian.
When I started writing What’s Left of My World in December of 2015, I was writing it for me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, where it would go, how to publish it, or whether it would take off or falter. I have been truly blessed with the series’ success and to this day it continues to both humble and astound me, but not nearly as much as the fan praise I receive for it on a daily/weekly basis in my inboxes.
What happens now?
Perhaps as soon as three days following the release of book 4, Divided We Stand, I began receiving emails and messages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and via my website from multiple dedicated readers all wanting to know two things in general: Will there be a book 5? And, if so, will book 5 be about Lauren’s father?
While responding, I started to realize something I hadn’t before—I’d written myself into a corner. I had never intended to expound on Alan Russell’s story, outside of flashbacks. I hadn’t realized this left a huge gaping hole in the story until my readers, and even my esteemed audiobook narrator Kevin Pierce pointed it out to me. I believe his words had been, “You did it to yourself, man.”
By popular demand.
Originally, book 5 was to be a continuation, beginning where Divided We Stand left off. But, after hearing what so many readers were saying, I realized I needed to offer up what was being asked for, and maybe that meant the time had come to bring Alan Russell’s story out and into the open. So, the prototype book 5 has become book 6, and a new book 5 moved in to take its place. Of course, that meant starting completely from scratch with an entirely new story with new characters along the same timeline, one calendar year before.
And, since Lauren and her father have been tragically separated since the story’s beginning, making them virtually worlds apart from one another, I’ve assigned book 5 with what I believed to be an appropriate title.
Worlds Apart: A Survival Story Yet Untold
I apologize for being so longwinded, but I had a lot to get off my chest. Be on the lookout for an announcement concerning the release of Worlds Apart, which should occur in December before Christmas. Audiobook should follow not long after in early January. Also, at some point next month I'll be announcing the second volume of my new Gun Play series.
Thanks for your time, and for reading and subscribing to this list. And I cannot thank you enough for being a fan.