First, go see the movie (just released) Warm Bodies. Even if you’re not much of a fan of zombie movies, I think you’ll like this one. It’s got a great comic sensibility, and the underlying message is super-sweet and exactly what the world needs, about the power of human connection. I loved it. And yes, it’s based on a book by Isaac Marion. Read that, too.
Second, I will now answer a question put to me by a reader. This particular reader really enjoyed my novella, “Some Kind of River,” which is available on Kindle. Here’s the link, if you wanna see. It’ll set you back $0.99.
WARNING! SPOILER BELOW! Read no further if you haven’t read “Some Kind of River!” FOR REALZ, yo.
Anyway, the reader’s question is:
“Will you ever write a sequel/series to “Some Kind of River”? I just finished this novella and loved it and of course Mel and Dez.”
Mel and Dez are the names of the protagonists in that particular novella.
Anyway, the question is posted on my site, along with my response, but I’ll answer it again here.
I originally wrote “Some Kind of River” in 2007, I think it was. It was published as a longish short story by Torquere Press in 2008. When the rights reverted back to me at the end of 2011, I re-wrote it as a novella and released it myself on Kindle in 2012.
When I originally wrote it, I had not conceived of it as anything but a standalone. Even after I re-wrote it as a novella, it was still always a standalone in my mind. I like the idea of Dez and Mel realizing their attraction to and connection with each other, and finding out whether or not they’d take it to the next level. And I really liked knowing that the story ended with a sort of “happily ever after” vibe or, at the very least, a “happy for now” vibe.
And I’m not really sure what a sequel would accomplish for the characters. A sequel would have to delve into deeper layers of their relationship, and it would have to take some of those layers apart. No relationship is happy happy joy joy all the time. Relationships take work, and they take compromise, and sadly, they don’t always work out. In fact, if you really think about it, it’s common for intimate relationships to end. After all, many of us have more than a few relationships in our pasts, and they ended for whatever reasons. I don’t say that to be cynical, I say that because again, to make a relationship work with another person requires incredible fortitude, good humor, mutual respect, and a willingness to be wrong at least some of the time.
With that in mind, I wrote “Some Kind of River” as a standalone because I liked the characters quite a bit, I loved the setting, and I thought it would be fun to see how far these two could go within the parameters I set for them. I liked knowing that a reader could then think about how things might go for Mel and Dez in the future, and even contemplate whether or not they’d work in the future. That’s what I think is cool about standalones — they leave room for conjecture and possibility on the part of the reader.
That said, I have two series under way. One is a mystery series set in New Mexico and the other is a sci fi series. Both of those are works that I originally conceived as series, so I knew that they would require me to delve into the intimate relationships of the main characters. Sure, the hook-up is always fun and dandy and full of fireworks and roses, but the aftermath — how you negotiate each other’s weirdnesses and quirks, how you reach compromise, how you sort through not only your baggage but how your baggage affects the relationship — this is a good 99 percent of any intimate relationship. It’s the not-so-romantic work aspect of a relationship, and that’s part of what I deal with in my series. I knew full well I’d be dealing with those issues with the characters in both series, so I was able to envision narrative and plot arcs, and how things would play out within the context of the plot in each book.
I’ll also be releasing another novella later this spring that I approached initially as a standalone. It was originally a short story that I published elsewhere and now it’s morphing into a novella. However, when I originally wrote the short story, I had a feeling that these two characters had a hell of a lot more story in them. I’ll leave it at that.
And I’ve got a novel-length romantic standalone that I’m hoping to publish this fall.
So it depends on a lot of things as to whether one of my projects will end up being a standalone or a series. And some of them are perfectly happy as a standalone while others are fine with being standalones but they could totally go out dancing one night and end up a sequel or a series. Some of my work has always been series-oriented, and therefore can’t be standalones, though it is possible to write offshoots within a series that are standalones. In the case of “Some Kind of River,” it’s always been a standalone, and it’s content with that. But I always leave the door open in case it changes its mind.
Thanks for the question and I’m so glad you liked “Some Kind of River.” Much appreciated. And thank you for taking the time to pose the question.