In spite of the cold, which is intense, I'm feeling pretty cheerful as I finally got my proposal for the next book together and emailed it off to my agent for her thoughts before it gets sent on to my editor.
Approval is not, alas, automatic. Herself has rejected my ideas before, telling me I could do better. And I have.
This time though, instead of focusing on Elizabeth or characters I already know, I'm riffing on an idea that Herself and I discussed back in October. It's a bit of a departure. Though it's still set in familiar territory -- Marshall County -- there is a whole new cast of characters -- and that's where the FAQ part of this post comes in.
Q: Do you find that once having established the locale and characters, that writing additional books in the series is easier/quicker or not?
A: When Darla sent me this question some weeks ago, I pretty much ignored it, not having considered it one way or another. But now, having spent quite a lot of time constructing family trees and back stories for a bunch of new characters who may or may not turn into characters in a book, it's quite obvious that I'm basically reinventing a world -- or at least the people in it. And it's a LOT of work!
Once I'd written a couple of Elizabeth books, I was on firm ground --I knew these people and how they were likely to act. It was just a matter of bringing this familiar cast to a new situation and turning them loose.
But here, in this proposal for a new book, I'm just getting to know these folks. Rachel and her great aunt Mim, Leonie and John Standingdeer are still nebulous figures in my mind. And yes, it would have been easier to go back to the old familiar gang. But there's always the danger of things growing stale or even preposterous -- how many murders can a fifty-something herb farmer reasonably expect to find herself involved in anyhow?
I hope Herself like this idea -- or at least most of it. I'm already getting attached to these folks.
And of course I'll keep you updated.