Today is release day for Blanket of Snow (After the Storm, #1), and what fun! This is the first of a series of novelettes (all about 20K words long - a one hour read) based on characters that we already know and love well, and focusing on their emotional states and their healing journeys, so the series lends itself to the novelette format.
When I first began writing in 2010, I was pretty keen on shorter stories. I liked the fact that in order to write a good one, it had to be short and snazzy; to-the-point, but not loose on detail; and it had to capture readers from the start and not let go, because you needed ALL of their attention for the very short time you have it. I liked all of that, and I felt some of that skill had been lost in the past few decades as commercial publishing houses favoured huge tomes over the shorter book (usually for financial reasons). With the emergence of eBooks, that financial reason is no longer valid - it's easy to pack a punch in a short story for an eReader and sell it for 99p, and people WANT this. What better for a one hour train journey than to be engrossed in a book you know you'll finish in time? It's perfect.
Writing Blanket of Snow was no less perfect. Not unusually for me (though it's been a while), this story came to me in a dream, and I knew when I woke up exactly how long it would take to write. My inexperience in 2010 failed to tell me that The Witching Pen Series would NOT be a series of novellas and that I was jumping the gun and possibly making a mistake by originally calling that series The Witching Pen Novellas. In my head, all the stories would be no more than 40K words, but I didn't know my writing well enough then. I didn't know that I would favour large-reaching arcs and plots that liked their twists and turns, and subsequently, half of that series was written as full-length novels, making the original series name (novellas) utterly pointless and inaccurate.
I have no such worry about After the Storm. There's a plot here, sure, but it's a mini-plot that buffers what the characters are emotionally going through - it's not the main focus - so I've been able to sit back and write a shorter story with full enjoyment in doing JUST THAT without doubt and without any external pressure. It reminded me of one of the reasons I love writing in the first place, and not least, one of the reasons why I love being an independent author: I can write for my pleasure; for readers' pleasure; for the characters' needs; all without having to unnecessarily expand the story, or dumb it down (or dumb it up) to fit a mold.
So I hope all Eye of the Storm fans thoroughly enjoy the After the Storm series, because it will be an insight into the main four characters that we simply won't get in the upcoming Aftershock series, because we won't be telling that series from the POV of the four Eye of the Storm characters - it will be from the perspectives of brand new (now adult) characters.
After the Storm will fill some blanks for fans, but also hint at a couple of future obstacles to come. There won't be any cliffhangers as such (remember this is not a plot-filled series), just these hints that will be touched on again in the Aftershock series, and possibly even the Blood Shadow series.
After the Storm will add a bit of depth to anyone who cares to read it, but at the same time, anyone who chooses not to won't be missing out on anything in order to understand what's to come.
It's fun. It's a lot of fun weaving worlds together. I hope you enjoy the read.