prequels, sequels, alternate realities and the wilderness series

There’s a page for the Wilderness series on Facebook, but I don’t often check it. Supposedly I get email notification when someone posts something on that page, but that doesn’t always work. Today I went over there to see if there were questions to answer, and found about ten of them dating back to the summer.

The common question I get — on Facebook or anywhere else — is about Ethan and Callie, but second most common are requests for new novels about specific characters. I’ve had people tell me they’d love to hear Blue-Jay’s story, as well as Wee Iona’s, Robbie’s, Nathaniel’s parents, even Jemima’s story. I am truly touched by these requests.  I take them as evidence that my characters live on in the minds of the readers, which is a great compliment. The series has been very successful over the years which isn’t so much about me writing as it is about you reading.

Here are the reasons I can’t just sit down and write (for example) Blue-Jay’s story.

1. Characters are not always forthcoming, If I can’t get into the head of a particular character, it is next to impossible to write a story focused on that person.

2. The biggest road block has to do with the nature of publishing.

Authors who produce true best sellers — books that top the NYT charts — those are the writers who have clout.  In this context, clout means the freedom to write the book you want to write and to know that it will be published. Most writers, even those of us who have had good, long-term success, don’t have this kind of clout. We have to submit proposals to the publisher to get a contract on a novel, and that is by no means guaranteed. Which is why almost all novelists have day jobs.

And that’s the simple truth about the way things work.