Plotting the next book

Posted on August 1, 2016 (Subscribe to Blog)

While beta readers work their way through Sinister Roots (Island of Fog Legacies #2), I'm already plotting the third book in the series.

Each book will be a standalone read for those who want to dive in at any point in the series. There won't be massive cliffhangers that frustrate impatient readers! Everything will be neatly tied up at the end of each book. That said, there's always going to be some degree of continuation. Without giving anything away, there's a small plot thread at the end of Book 2 that will hang over into Book 3, and this has already made up my mind about something fairly important: the POV.

I usually write from the main character's point of view. This was Hal throughout the Island of Fog series, and it's Travis for the first two books of the Legacies series. But Travis will take a backseat in Book 3, at least with regards to POV. He'll be there throughout, but he'll be a secondary character. There's a very good reason for this, but you'll have to read Sinister Roots for those answers. ;-)

Book 3 will be about Melinda, who is Robbie and Lauren's eleven-year-old daughter. It's her first time as a shapeshifter, and Travis will be along to support her. But make no mistake, she'll be calling the shots. I already have a title and completed cover for this book, but I want to wait until Sinister Roots is released before going into details. Be patient, and all will be revealed in September.

For now, though, rest assured that I'm already steaming ahead with the next adventure in the series, and I think it's going to be interesting and refreshing to delve into someone else's head from time to time. It's a departure from the single-POV format, but it opens up possibilities. Heck, Book 4 might even delve into varying POVs. What if we use Travis as the main character, but we also follow Melinda and perhaps another friend as they split up and get in trouble? Basically, I'm prepared to hop from one head to another, a few chapters at a time, if the story requires it.

I think this looser narrative approach, coupled with the fact that Travis has to be a different kind of shapeshifter every time, is really going to keep the series fresh.

I'm often asked how far ahead I plan. I usually have the next book on my mind while I'm still writing the one before, but I don't plan much beyond that. So while Legacies Book 2 is finished apart from some tweaks, Book 3 is already plotted, and I know nothing about Book 4. I expect details will start emerging when I'm about two-thirds through Book 3.

How do I decide on the plot? That's a tough one. It's usually just a "feeling" of where I want to go next. I remember when I'd finished Island of Fog that the next one would involve dragons and tunnels and lava. After completing Labyrinth of Fire, I wanted to head up into the mountains and visit a demon in a temple, and thus Mountain of Whispers came about. Then I wanted to be underwater... and then I had a hankering for a zombie-style runaround... and then ghosts... and then werewolves... and then a creepy prison... and finally a castle. And that's really about it. Nothing clever, just a hankering.

The plot of Unicorn Hunters actually goes back quite a few years. I always wanted to do an illegal zoo story with legendary beasts of fantasy. I originally intended this to be a standalone spinoff Fog novel set a few years into the future, and after I wrapped up the main series, it seemed like a good time to write it. But then I started thinking... What if we skip forward twenty years and have this as the first book in a brand new series starring the son of Hal and Abigail? And so it was.

The idea for Sinister Roots came to mind as I was writing Unicorn Hunters. I won't give anything away, but I was subconsciously planting seeds for myself to grow and reap later on, so by the time I was ready to write Book 2, some of the plot was already laid out. (See what I did there? Planting seeds to grow and reap? Grim Reaper? Get it? Sigh. That pun was a happy accident, I promise.)

Which all leads me to Book 3 in the Island of Fog Legacies series. What's it all about? In a previous post, I said "it will involve fish." Hmm. Well, it's true that I was seriously considering going back underwater. As it turns out, I'm not sure that fish will play a part at all. Water? Absolutely. Fish? Not so much. Well, maybe. Anything is possible, I suppose. But when you see the title and cover for Book 3, fish will not spring to mind as the central theme!

Look for Sinister Roots (Island of Fog Legacies #2) on August 20th, and in the back you'll find a teaser for Book 3. Those readers will be the first to know what Melinda will be running up against toward the end of 2016.

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