When I wrote the first draft of A Crooked Mile for National Novel Writing Month 2017 I fully intended for it to be a stand alone novel. I had absolutely no plans to feature Rust in any other books, and that was the end of the road for Alec, Ramona, and Bryson.
In fact it stayed a stand alone book for a full year while it was being edited and beta read and queried to agents and publishers. I never pushed it as a series or trilogy, just one book and one book alone.
Then it came time to start planning for NaNoWriMo 2018. I had a random idea then, something that just hit me out of nowhere. What if I wrote a sequel novel about Bryson and how his journey continued after book one? He was just a second character, albeit one that people seemed to like, and he was definitely the type that could be expanded upon. So, just like that, I went from having one book to a duology!
Sometime that following January I had made myself a nice chart of writing goals I wanted to accomplish, and I was brainstorming a third book that would be a prequel to both the current novels. It was an in-depth look at Alec and everything that had happened leading up to the events of A Crooked Mile. I really had enjoyed writing him, and I wanted to dig deeper into his story.
I finished the first draft of Before That Winter in about two weeks and then I thought that since Alec got a standalone story, Ramona deserved one too! So her story became the fourth and final (finally!) book in the Rust series.
It was a bit of a shock to me when I really sat back and took a look at what I had done. I had gone from a stand alone novel to an entire series without even meaning to do so. I felt proud of myself though, because I had never felt like the type of writer who could really sit down and plan out something so intricate and interwoven and here I had done it completely by accident!
I’m now working with One Odd Bird Press to publish them all this year, though we have whittled things down to a solid trilogy as opposed to four books. Alec’s story will be combined with A Crooked Mile into a much heftier book one. This will be followed by A Different Shade of Blue, which follows Bryson, and then The Way Home which is Ramona’s story of growing up and finding redemption within herself.
I’m honestly pretty proud of myself for what I created here, both the characters and the place that they all called home. I love Alec, Ramona, and Bryson and while it was hard to finally let them go, I’m glad that I got to the point where I could. Maybe down the road I’ll dust them off again for some small novellas or something, but as of now their stories are done and they are ready for the world to meet them.
For those of you who already read A Crooked Mile, I hope that you’ll purchase the book upon it’s re-release and give it a shot. I think if you liked it the first go-round that you will love it even more in it’s new volume, and that you’ll enjoy getting to delve deeper into the world of Alec Davis and what made him tick.
As of now I’ve written several other books that need editing, and one or two do feature characters and worlds that could be expanded upon. I’m not planning anything specific yet, but lightning struck once so maybe it will again!
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