Last night I made an announcement on Facebook that TLM would not be the final Donovan Candle story. It’s the second book in a trilogy.
Surprised? So am I. It’s not a decision I came to easily. Amelia (my Fairy Godeditor) has insisted TLM not be the final book. TLM’s ending, she said, is how a third book should end. TLM is the middle part, she said. Not the last part. Back in February, after spending a full two years up to my eyeballs in Donovan Candle’s stories (I’m counting the ALT 2.0 revisions here), the last thing I wanted to do was write another story about Donovan Candle. I wanted to take a break, and afterward, I wanted to write about something else. Anything else. No more Dullington, no more Monochrome, no more Candle.
So I resisted. I stubbornly said “No, TLM has to end this way. I can flesh it out, add 50 more pages to smooth it over, but I won’t write another book.”
When Amelia had another contract come up that would keep her occupied until July, I was able to focus more on promoting ALT, take some time off, and solicit responses from a select group of beta readers. Their feedback on the ending could reinforce my stance on the ending. I’d show that editor of mine!
And then, months later, the surveys from those readers came back. Surprise: Most of them agreed with Amelia.
TLM has a mood, a tone to it that I tried to convey. It’s a heavy story, a darker story, and the ending is just too sanguine. It happens too quickly. Admittedly, it’s a rushed ending. I’d planned to flesh it out during revisions, but even then, it wraps up too well. I’d need at least another 100 pages to smooth it all out, and that’s page real estate I can’t afford for TLM. It’s a long book as it is.
This got me thinking. I wrote down a list of “what if” scenarios, which started turning the gears in my brain. Within an hour I had a premise for a third book, one that would fill the gap between TLM’s last chapter and current epilogue. Without giving anything away, there’s a gap in the story timeline. It’s 3 months long. It’s during those 3 months that the third book will occur, and the current ending will become the ending of the third book.
I have no title yet (though I do have a few in mind). The story will conclude. It will be the final Donovan Candle novel. I can’t say when it will be done. Right now the focus is to get TLM to print, and then work on a collection of my short stories. And then the third novel will become my focus. This doesn’t mean I won’t start the book until then. It does mean I have some time to work out the finer details of the plot.
And there you have it. Here’s to the future and the completion of Candle’s journey.
P.S. I promise there will be no muppets in the third book.