From Daring Heights – Writing a Series
I didn’t start out with the ambition of writing a series. I thought I could handle a trilogy with confidence, framed the concept around three brilliant men who meet at Harvard and built on it. I embraced Climbing High, the first book, with enthusiasm, the second, High Ground, with trepidation and the third, High Seas, with love. When the senior editor for my line suggested I had the material for a series and should proceed with one, I leapt on the idea. I did not want to let go of characters I had created, and come to know. They had much more to teach me through their philosophies, actions and feelings. It was a delight to move into book four.
In a recent interview with the “Prairie Post” I was asked, which was my favourite and least favourite book of the series. Reaching High, book four, RG Gribb’s story was easily my favourite. Here I unfold the secret connection between Jake Inglis and RG, to which I allude in the first three books. I left the reader wondering, what had brought the two men together, and resulted in RG giving Jake his intense loyalty and trust. RG, who had no expectations of finding love, moved into his forties dedicated to protecting Jake and his family and expecting nothing more for himself. Suddenly he has it all – a thriving business, a demanding job, and a woman he adores, who wants him, too. Their story flowed onto the page, because it was so integral to my hopes of what I felt this good man and wounded warrior deserved. I also focused on the epidemic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among military personnel, a subject close to my heart.
My least favourite – well, that wasn’t because of the fascinating characters Joshua and Cat – but because of a technical mistake I made in plotting. Josh is an IT genius, who writes security software for government agencies around the world. There, already you have a brain full. Imagine reading the better part of an opening chapter that deals with technical terms, computer geek thinking and Zen philosophy. It was a ponderous start, and in hind sight I wished I’d chosen a better place to begin the story. However, it does pick up momentum and races to a fast action finish with lots of suspense. In fact, I garnered my best reviews on High Ground.
Book five, High Risk, felt like a play date in the park, fast, furious and fun. I revelled in the process of creating two diverse lives and weaving them together into an unbreakable strand, while exploring more of the fascinating history and geography of Hong Kong.
Writing book six was truly a pleasure, as I chose to weave in personal history from my husband’s side of the family. I was intensely invested in my two protagonists. Though Anna was new to this book, Anton had been introduced in book four and his enigmatic persona challenged me to dig deeper. As I forced my way beneath his complex layers of pain, patience and protection, I found my perfect male. I also enjoyed exploring the older woman, younger man relationship that gave Anna so much inner conflict.
Writing the series went smoothly, the editing not so much. By the time I finished, my publisher had assigned three different editors, each with their idiosyncrasies around word usage and punctuation – not my strong suit, especially when it is so subjective these days. I was writing and publishing two books a year, the goal I’d set, but book six stopped my momentum dead. The writing was on target and time, but getting it edited was a long drawn out process of one delay after another. A year and a half after submission Sky High will finally be launched worldwide. A goal met, a series concluded, with mega learning along the way.
You can purchase print books at amazon.com or The Wild Rose Press or download a digital book on any e-reader.