Today sees a fresh addition to my Guest Book, with a post courtesy of J. Kathleen Cheney, author of the Golden City series! Check out her thoughts below on the realities (and possibilities!) of editing books. And while you’re at it, stay for the giveaway link! But for now it’s over to Kathleen…
There’s a bit of writer’s advice I hear sometimes: if it doesn’t advance the plot, take it out.
Authors do tons of worldbuilding, and the vast majority of that never makes it onto the page. We know things about our characters that you don’t…so many things. And unless those things advance the plot, we have to leave them out. Sometimes you’ll see them pop up as added bonuses on an author’s webpage. Sometimes they’ll turn into a separate novella. Sometimes they end up sitting in a file on the author’s desktop and the author only ever mentions them in random blog posts or at conventions. We end up with lots of bits and bobs that we would love to show the readers, if only we had the time.
Ending a series just amplifies the situation. After three books, two long novellas (as yet unpublished), and several bits written up to save for another day, I’ve penned (well, typed) easily half a million words in the Golden City setting. I know these characters like the back of my own hands. The major characters and the minor ones. The things I could tell you about them…
But my next book is in a totally different setting, so none of my friends from Portugal get to accompany me there. Instead they’ll all be languishing in .doc files on my hard drive, waiting for me to get back around to them. I’ll miss them horribly.
They’re not that story. They’re not the story I’ve been contracted to work on.
During the edit process for The Shores of Spain, my editor asked me some interesting questions about sereia culture, and I did my best to work them into the narrative of the book. (You don’t often get asked to add stuff, so you should always enjoy it when you do!) But one question–regarding sereia sexual preferences–I never did find a way to seamlessly work into the story. I couldn’t make it fit into the plot. (Actually, I did figure out a way to do it, but only after the final version had gone in….so no, you won’t be finding that out.)
So might there be a short story about that one day? Where we get to explore all the things that got left out of the books because there wasn’t time? Where I get to write the story about how certain characters ended up together, or what will happen to them later? I certainly hope so…one of these days.
But because I have to move on, it won’t be today. That makes me a little sad. And I’m sure there are a lot of other writers out there who feel the same way. Who wish that we each had a time warp where we could sit and write our stories endlessly (preferably without aging while we’re at it) and make them all available. Because we love our worlds, and we want you to know everything about them. Everything.
J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, “The Golden City” was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). The sequel, “The Seat of Magic” came out in 2014, and the final book in the series, “The Shores of Spain” will come out July 2015.
Even as the branches of peace are being offered, there are some who still believe those who are not human should be used as chattel. And they are willing to go to great lengths to retain their power.
Newlywed siren Oriana Paredes has been appointed Ambassador to her home islands now that communication between Northern Portugual and the magical races has been restored. But convincing her people that the new Portuguese Prince’s intentions are honorable after years of persecution is difficult. And her husband, Duilio, faces his own obstacles among the sirens where males are a rare and valuable commodity with few rights.
In addition to their diplomatic mission, the two hope to uncover the truth behind Oriana’s mother’s death. Evidence suggests that Spain—a country that has been known to enslave magical beings—may have infiltrated the siren authority. Unable to leave their post, Oriana and Duilio must call on Inspector Joaquim Tavares to root out the truth.
But even his seer’s gift cannot prepare him for what he will discover.
And now for the giveaway! Kathleen has graciously offered to give away copies of the first two books in her series, The Golden City and The Seat of Magic, right here on this blog! All you need to do is comment below for a chance to win!
And that’s not all. Check out this Rafflecopter link for a chance at winning a grand prize!
PLEASE NOTE: Both of these giveaways are US only, and will run until the end of July.