prequels, once more with feeling

I had an email today from Judith:

Please write a book about Cora Munro from her childhood to her meeting and marrying Daniel Hawkeye Bonner, and a separate book telling  Daniel’s story from infancy up to and marrying Cora. Please !Please! Please!

People often ask about prequels to the Wilderness books, but Judith’s request was more detailed than most. And very heartfelt. I do appreciate such enthusiasm and encouragement, but the truth is, these stories just are not in my head.  With a lot of work I might be able to get Cora’s life story down, but Nathaniel was raised by Mahicans. That means years of research, or faking it. And I can’t fake it. I wish I could, my life would be easier.

I do take reader concerns and wishes to heart, but this is not something I can do. Regretfully.

prequels, postquels, quelquels

Nancy asks:

Have you thought about doing a “prequel” to Into the Wilderness (with the focus on Daniel and Cora–Nathaniel’s parents)?  

I’ve had quite a few readers suggest this idea. I appreciate and understand the interest, but the realities of publishing that I’ve talked about before apply here as well. The bottom line: I’m not sure I could write a prequel, but even if I desperately wanted to, Bantam might not be interested. The only way that another book could ever be written in the series would be if Book Six takes off like a rocket.

Bantam has put a lot of energy and support into this series, but unless sales pick up significantly, they will step away. They almost did step away after Queen of Swords. Book Six is actually a bit of a miracle. So there it is: you, the book buying public, are the ones who make such things possible.

Assuming for a moment that there is no more interest from Bantam in the series, this does not mean I’ll stop writing historicals. I am working on a proposal for a three-volume series set in the early 1700s in New England, with the hope that the proposal will be picked up early in the new year. When I finish with Book Six, I would start on the new series (which you can think of as 1723, as a temporary reference) immediately.

I also have an abbreviated outline for another contemporary, but again, whether or not that ever sees the light of day depends on how Pajama Girls takes off. 

Publishers live and die by the numbers. They also have pretty much abandoned any serious marketing for mid-list novels, which is why many authors (and I’m in this boat myself) have to spend time, energy and money on getting their work into the public eye.

Thus the Lambert Square and the Pajama Girls websites, the giveaways, upcoming pajama-related contests, and other marketing bits and pieces that I’ve invested in. 

Let me repeat: I am very fortunate in my readers, and I appreciate every one of you. When you write and tell me what you’d like to see next, I am pleased to know that you want more. But  what comes next is not up to me.   

Into the Wilderness news

Really good news, too.

Next fall Bantam is going to re-release Into the Wilderness in trade paperback format (rather than mass market). There will be new cover art along the lines of the Queen of Swords dust jacket.  I’m going to find out if I can add anything to the author’s notes, which I would dearly love to do.

I’m also going to say right up front that the artist shouldn’t go overboard with the cleavage. I hope they listen to me on this. There are only two things that I don’t like about the Queen of Swords cover: the cleavage, and the fact that the artist seemed to forget that the character he was portraying is Mohawk and not European in appearance. The skin color and bone structure were more Elizabeth than Hannah, but it was supposed to be Hannah.

When I have the cover art, you can be sure I’ll share it.

This is as good a place as any to answer all the questions I’ve been getting about book six. There is a lot of gnashing of teeth and general unhappiness about the idea that this will be the last book in the series. You want me to rethink that.

I’ll state again for the record: it’s not up to me, it’s up to you. If book six doesn’t sell well, there is no way Bantam is going to offer me any more contracts. Which means y’all need to step up and buy a copy when it comes out. Sales alone will make the difference.

Also, let me be clear: I will not necessarily continue along with the Bonner family as I have to this point. I may take one of them and jump way forward. What I will not do is a prequel. Don’t yell. I just cannot do a prequel. None of the characters are willing to participate, and that’s that.