It must be said, I am a fairly prolific author.
(I’m lucky enough to have a publisher who encourages my profligacy, too.)
I have promised myself no more than two books a year – one Civil War, and one Restoration – or I’m going to run out of battles and that will make me very sad indeed. Almost as an aside, I cannot bear the idea that there is ever going to be a death scene for any of the characters I love. The idea of setting a book in, say, revolutionary America featuring the further adventures of Hollie Babbitt’s descendants – and it’s been suggested – I couldn’t do it, because that would be like admitting that Hollie does, at some point, die.
So I’m currently twiddling about with a pregnant Thomazine, her other half, and Aphra Behn, waddling over on the boat to Holland to indulge in a bit of mild chicanery c. 1666. (That’s book 2. You know about book 2.)
And I’m excited about it. I’m getting quite into Aphra Behn (but then again, who hasn’t? – says Thomazine) I’m planning a trip to Bruges, maybe, I’m poking about with 17th century ships and seamanship, and spying under the Commonwealth, but – here’s the killer – the first book’s not even out yet.
Part of me’s thinking, no, hang on, you’ve got to give your all to promoting the first one, you can’t be talking about writing the next one already. And part of me’s thinking well, no, people want to know that there is a next one, they want to know that there’s not going to be a thing at the end of Masthead that says…. To Be Continued. Not a matter of loose ends, but people – readers – are fond of the Russell household. I suspect I am not the only person who would be more heartbroken at the death of some of my characters than at the death of Little Nell.
(Not your sister Nell, Thomazine. I have her marked down for one of Drew Venning’s boys, eventually, but I think she will have a pretty comfortable life with the heir to the Diss salt-fish empire, and do little of bookworthy note.)
So readers, how do you feel, at the end of a book? Onwards and upwards – or, in the case of the Uncivil Wars books, on with the body count? Or – phew, I can relax, now, I know what’s happened?
I’d love to see some of your thoughts!