Let me just start out by saying the good news is Black Orchid is – finally – flying onto the pages! There’s not enough hours in my day to get it done as fast as it wants to come out of my head. But I will be very honest… until this month, this book has been killing me.
This is the final book in the Svatura series. What I’ve discovered – this being my first series – is that the last book of the series is – pardon the expression – a bitch to write. If you are writing your first series, or considering it, here are some of my key learnings to possibly keep in the back of your mind.
Wrap It Up
With the other books, you have the option to mysteriously refer to something coming in future books. Really fun to do. I love laying those breadcrumbs. But with the last book, you actually have to wrap everything up with a big, red bow. Which means no more bread crumbs and ending things satisfactorily.
You now have the other books which can paint you into corners. Not that corners are a bad thing if they get you where you want to go. But I’m the kind of author who writes fairly loosey-goosey. I have an idea of direction and some key plot points, but, beyond that, I can go where the wind blows me. But not as much with a final book. My path for this one is fairly straight and narrow.
My main characters in each book have been “known” characters. People already introduced and even with large roles to play in all the preceding books. I have to say, this makes it harder to switch to their point of view (POV). It also makes it harder to “reveal” something about them that we don’t already know or, for example, take a goofball and make him a charming Alpha male.
Starting From a Tough Spot
One of my roadblocks as been getting Nate and Adelaide back together when he’s brainwashed (we think) and she’s… well… broken. I’ve known since writing Blue Violet that I was going to rip the two of them apart, and I knew exactly how I was ultimately going to solve that issue. What I didn’t know was the journey in between. (Note: Finally figured it out after four or five rewrites – and very excited about how I solved it!)
Upping the Ante
This part, I’ll admit, is kinda fun. Each book needs to be a little bigger and have a slightly different approach from the others. I love coming up with ways to make the love unique, the fights bigger, the conflict escalate, etc. I tried to have most of that mapped out when I started the series. But – loosey-goosey remember? – the journey often gets me there in unexpected ways. Both fun and completely nerve wracking for me.
I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to end this series “right” – in other words, in a way that I would want to read (that’s my barometer). These are characters and a world that I have come to love. I want to send them off in style. Granted, this is pressure of my own making, but it’s definitely in the back of my head all the while.
There are a few things I’ll adjust for upcoming series. I’ll try to make at least one of the main characters someone new or someone we only saw a tiny bit of in previous books. I may try to have the main source of conflict be different book to book rather than the same conflict throughout – make the conflict more personal to that particular couple. I’ll keep a closer eye on the corners, in other words.
Despite all the roadblocks and moments of learning, I have been thrilled with how my first series has gone. I’m very proud of the three finished books. And I can say with confidence that Black Orchid will make me just as proud and happy to put my name to. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!