First things first: OMG, Notre Dame.
We are set to revise SWEEP OF THE BLADE, but I have no brain power. None. Also no willpower, which is why I have finished 70 episodes of the Story of Yanxi Palace. So today is the answer emails day.
Just had a quick question about the second Iron Covenant book that’s *hopefully* still coming out in October: When we read KD 10, it mentioned that Hugh and Elara had met with the soldiers a year before the events of KD 10. I was just wondering about the timeline for the second Hugh book?
The second book has been bumped a bit to possibly December. We are still very committed to having it out this year. It picks up almost immediately after the first book left off and deals with Elara, her background, and the challenges of her origin.
I’m sorry if you have already answered this but will Julie get a book/series? It seemed like a setup at the end of Magic Triumphs, but was it only to leave an opening with no set plans to continue? Please tell me that is not the case!!
Julie was written as a very sensitive, vulnerable kid who had to put up a lot of emotional barriers to survive. Her father died, her mother was murdered and eaten in front of her, her boyfriend was planning to steal her magic, and she has been repeatedly targeted by creatures much stronger than her. She’s been kidnapped, attacked, infected with Lyc-V, saved by Kate, sentencing her to a form of slavery, approached by Roland, who tried to use her as a pawn, and through it all, she persevered, learning to show no weakness, and remained kind and compassionate. She is, to borrow a phrase from Yanxi Palace, a person with a cold face but a warm heart.
Some people, women in particular, aren’t willing to cut her any slack. The moment she “steps out of line” by behaving as a typical teenager or by taking independent action to protect Kate on her own terms, they react violently, lashing out.
I don’t know if this is because the character isn’t understood because she doesn’t fawn over Kate and doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, or if it’s that trend of hero can be forgiven everything while the heroine can be forgiven nothing. Maybe it’s tapping into the refusal to acknowledge that our children are not extension of ourselves. Maybe it’s catering to the mindset of telling random women to smile more, because fake happiness is more palatable than sadness or worry. Who knows?
Long story short, we get Julie hatemail. Half want bad things to happen to Julie. They literally hate her and want her to die. The other variation of the hatemail is, “I am just not interested in Julie as a character and I don’t think she could carry a book.” Right, because despite writing 12 books set in this world, all of which succeeded in being entertaining, we will lose all of ability to tell a compelling story just because Julie is the main character.
It actually resulted in Brandi having second thoughts about publishing her own work. She isn’t sure she would be willing to put up with all the venom.
We had definite plans for a continuation of the storyline, picking it up with Julie as the main character roughly 8 years after the events of Magic Triumphs. The world is even more warped by magic, Conlan is 10, Jim is ready to retire, and the battle for the Pack is about to start. We have chunks of the first book plotted. We spared some characters in Magic Triumphs so they could return in the sequel. However, I’m not going to do it.
Writing comes from the same place as play. Right now if we sit down and write Julie, she won’t be true to the original vision of the character. There is a lot more depth and layers there than in Ascanio, for example, who is at the core a simple character. I don’t feel like working with her until I’m sure we can do her justice. So that trilogy and any other work in KD world, except for Iron Covenant, is indefinitely on hold. That might change tomorrow, but probably not. 🙂
A different J writes:
I’m an aspiring PNR writer and I recently pitched my first MS at the California Dreamin writer’s conference. I received some positive feedback from the big NY publishing houses and I was wondering whether, based on your past experience, you think there is a benefit to having an agent or whether dealing directly with the publishers is now the status quo.
Always shoot for the agent first. Relevant reading:
Also, one publishing house noted that my MS might be better suited to UF rather than PNR, even though it is a romance with HEA, because of my world-building. Did you find that there was an advantage to being in one genre over another. I know you guys are basically the OG of urban fantasy with your Kate Daniels series, but your Hidden Legacy series seems like it could have been marketed as PNR also. Did you find a benefit to one genre over the other?
The typical answer is: No, there is no advantage to one genre over the other. However, since you called us and Gordon OG, I now have to live up and say things not everyone will like.
Romance readership is an enormous behemoth. Romance readers buy books in a very large volume. According to The Richest, here is the breakdown of the genre sales.
2014 Book Sales by Genre
- HORROR ($79.6 MILLION)
- SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ($590.2 MILLION)
- RELIGIOUS / INSPIRATIONAL ($720 MILLION)
- CRIME / MYSTERY ($728.2 MILLION)
- ROMANCE / EROTICA ($1.44 BILLION)
So if you put Horror, SF/F, and Mystery together, Romance still outsells them.
If you are aiming to be a commercial writer and you are naturally inclined to romantic storylines, you are in luck. If you’re not, and you are trying to stuff romance into the story because you think you will sell more, it usually doesn’t work. You have to be actively interested in the romantic aspect of the story to pull it off.
So aim for romantic elements if you can.
The definition of romance is simple: there must be a Happily Ever After and if you take relationship out of the story, it falls apart. The storyline of Kate Daniels will still work if Kate and Curran are not together. It’s a UF. The romance arc does become gradually stronger, but even if we killed Curran midway through, negating the HEA, the story would still work.
The storyline of BURN FOR ME would make a lot less sense, but yes, it could still stand. WHITE HOT would fall apart, and if you take romance out of WILDFIRE, there isn’t much left. That’s why the Hidden Legacy trilogy overall is classified as PNR.
Ask yourself, can your story work without the couple? If it’s yes, aim for UF. If it’s no, aim for Romance. Get an agent first. The agent will help you sort this out and will likely query both sides. UF and PNR have a large crossover audience; many people read both. If your book is solidly UF but there is a strong romantic element, they will find it. However, if your book is solidly UF and you try to pass it off as Romance, you may get a backlash.
Be advised that UF and PNR is a tough sell right now. The market is saturated, the readers are mostly tired of the same old tropes, so make sure your work is original and brings something new and exciting to the table.
Best of luck.