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It turns out that writing a new series for a new publisher messed with my mojo. On top of that, we experienced 3 close deaths in the family during this time frame, I had two surgeries, our youngest blessed us with our first two grandbabies, we got an Alaskan Malamute puppy, we had an historic winter (25-feet of snow at our house, -60 F wind chills), Eric and I spent four months to-and-from-Europe, our senior Malinois passed, we moved to Maine for the summer only to be relocated to Bakersfield, and our older Alaskan Malamute got in a death feud with our senior Boston terrier.
While normally I easily write three books a year and have had a few recent spurts of five books—this is “successful indie author pace”—I took fifteen months to write just these three Delaney Pace novels. Even if my life had allowed my 100% speed, the rhythm of working with a traditional (albeit digital) publisher was different with many parties involved and built in time lags. I had planned to work on Patrick Flint, Jenn Herrington, and some What Doesn’t Kill You novellas in those pockets, but I found it impossible to move between series. A lot of it may have been overwhelm and burnout.
So it was that I found myself staring down the barrel of Her Last Cry with barely enough time left and my brain in complete rebellion. The beginning was easy. I had a brilliant visual in my mind of the "launching crime." The weather. The weapon. The setting. But, of course, as soon as I tried to write the story, it was clear the synopses wouldn’t work. I literally did not know who the killer was until the point in the book when I had to reveal the killer, which meant a lot of rewriting. And the version I sent to my editor literally had chapters that said nothing but “insert very thrilling and extended kick ass scene here where Delaney does X and bad guy does Y – trust me on this.”
The crazy thing was, my editor did trust me. Although it was the hardest book to write so far in the series for me, my editor loved it and it was the easiest to finish. (Ain’t gonna lie: Her Silent Bones was a bitch of a rewrite. But Her Last Cry was blessed with little more than a kiss and a hug.)
With all books, I start with the premise that my characters will tell me the story as long as I put in sufficient potential bad guys with sufficient motivation. In a perfect writer’s world I want everyone to be a suspect! And that is what came to pass.
I also finished the book with two story twists that completed this three-book character arc and launch us into the next three. They were 100% unplanned. AND I HAVE NO IDEA YET WHERE THEY WILL TAKE US! But Delaney and Leo told me to include them, and, faithful scribe I—I did.
Catch Delany in Her Silent Bones, Her Hidden Grave, and Her Last Cry in ebook, audio, or print, here: https://amzn.to/3Th7dOy
p.s. We aren't going to talk here about the Patrick Flint and Jenn Herrington books that didn't get written on schedule (they're coming!) or the What Doesn't Kill You novellas that I don't know when I can write or the old Laura Sibley Begay half-written book or the romance called Polarity that I am ten percent into. For now, I'll just focus on what I can deliver while keeping my priorities and sanity. ;-)