Well, it is an absolute joy to talk with you again. I know many of you have been waiting patiently, after the cliffhanger ending of Finding the Lost. And I am here to tell you that book three, currently known as Magic in the Blood, is finally written! The first draft, at least, but it means things are progressing and I hope to have this in your hands sometime early next year.
This past year and half, have been a strange time in all of our lives. Covid-19 started out so much like other illnesses you have heard about, but always seem far away, or not so threatening. Mad Cow Disease, Ebola, Bird Flu, etc. You hear about them in the news and don’t pay much attention, except maybe to acknowledge that they exist, but they’ll never reach you. But then…BAM!! There’s Covid-19 and it’s not messing around. A danger to all, but especially to the elderly and those people in high risk health categories. It is so tragic that families lost loved ones, friends lost best friends, and pets lost their beloved masters and ended up in shelters or worse.
During this time, my work switched to working remotely. I feel beyond fortunate that I work in an industry that allows for that, as many people lost jobs over the past year and a half. I am thankful every day that other than not being able to leave my home much, I was not as impacted as many others were. In fact, my regular job got even busier, and I often found it difficult to separate work life from home life. After all, both shared the same space within my home. And with the distraction of work, my writing just got pushed aside.
Book One led to Book Two led to…
I wrote The Passage at Moose Beach in the summer of 2018. After finding a wonderful publisher to work with, we discussed the possibility of doing a sequel, and even a trilogy, which I documented in my previous post here. That first book was published in November of 2018, and by the new year, I had my first draft of Finding the Lost written, which as mentioned, ended on a cliffhanger. The polishing and editing process took some time, and FTL finally had its limited release in November of 2019, with a full book tour being planned out to coincide the full release in March of 2020. And then nature threw a monkey wrench into those plans.
With the editing of Finding the Lost in full swing, I didn’t have a lot of time to start considering what book three would be. I mean, I knew from where I left things at the end of FTL that something big was going to have to happen, I just didn’t yet know how I was going to get there. I decided to push off any thoughts of book three until after the full release of FTL, so that I could see readers’ reactions and get a better understanding of where to take the final chapter in this trilogy. And then that monkey wrench from nature hit those plans smack dab in the forehead.
Writing Without Writing
The new stress caused by both the extra work I was doing, as well as a fear of going outside or seeing any friends and family, really forced the physical writing of book three to take a backseat. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t writing. I’d gotten the prologue to the 3rd book written during the editing of FTL, so I knew what the stakes were that I was preparing Alicia to face. And I can tell you that they are deadly.
Even though I only had the prologue actually written down, I was writing the rest slowly in my head. I planned out key beats throughout the story and kind of knew how it was going to end. And in reality, the finished version didn’t change much, but there were a lot of gaps to fill in, and sometimes, the story goes in directions I hadn’t planned for, or even imagined.
I would naturally forget some ideas that I had come up with, or suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with an understanding of exactly how I was going to explain something that I hadn’t come up with a solution for yet. I’d find myself developing ideas in the shower. And one day about four months ago, I knew exactly how the story would begin. That day, I rushed to the computer and wrote chapter one, because I didn’t want to forget. But that was it. I didn’t get beyond the prologue I’d written two years ago, and now chapter one. But then, tragedy hit.
A Late Night
One day in June of this summer, a family member who lives alone couldn’t be reached. I thought maybe a phone had been left behind, or something similar. Things aren’t so worrying in the light of day. But I called back later that evening and still no answer. I reached out to local friends who quickly went to check. They went into the house and found the family member had suffered a stroke. They immediately called Emergency services. For the next several hours I gathered and shared information, as I called the hospital, one sibling, another sibling, back to the hospital, back on the phone with one sibling, back with another, on repeat. Finally, at about 2:00am, I knew the family member was being cared for the best they could.
The rest of the family and I were terrified. There is good news, however. The family member is recovering very well, especially when it comes to speech, and now it’ll just be a process of physical therapy to get them back to where they were prior to the stroke. They were also diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, also known as A-Fib, which caused the stroke, and are now on medication for that, so chances of a stroke in the future are significantly reduced. All-in-all, we were quite lucky.
A Growing Sense of Urgency
That scare shook me. I don’t consider myself old, but I’m not young, either. And I realized, something could just hit me out of the blue, and suddenly, Alicia’s story would never be finished. No one else knew what was in my head. And I wanted to give fans the closure they deserved. And so I knew I needed to write. Now!
I wrote book one while at my cabin in Idaho. Book two, I wrote at home. But now, home was a distraction. I needed to get away from work and back to the source to give book three the best chance at becoming something special. So I packed up, got in the car, and headed to Idaho with one goal in mind. WRITE THAT BOOK!
And that’s what I did. The book you’ll be getting is not the story I would have written two years ago. It’s not the book I would have written four months ago. The basic bones are there, but the marrow, the ligaments and tendons, they are new. There are so many new real life influences here that I didn’t know would come into play, but I believe really add to the narrative.
I hope you all enjoy this final chapter in Alicia’s adventure. It is unlike the other two. Just like in our world, everything has changed. The danger is real, and it’s all around. This was a hard book to write, not just for the reasons I laid out above, but emotionally as well. I am incredibly proud of the end results, and I can’t wait for you to read it.
Take care, my friends. And hug a loved one.