Hey guess what, I know how a series happens now.
When I was a kid, I really wanted to read either A) crazy long books or B) absurdly long series of books. I needed my stories to go on and on and on. Walter Farley received gold stars for his twenty-odd Black Stallion books. Even the Island Stallion. And, grudgingly, The Horse-Tamer. I guess.
|Black Stallion illustration. Man. Now I wish my books had illustrations like this.
Now most of the books I read are one-time-only deals. Literary fiction authors tend to write a book, finish the book as tidily or as untidily as they please, and then close the door behind them when they leave. Lights out. On to the next project.
I always assumed I'd do that, too. I have a list of book ideas, and they all contain new characters and settings that I haven't written about yet.
But... but... I like these characters.
Maybe it's a detachment problem, but I don't want to leave Alex and Alexander, the stars of The Head and Not The Heart, behind. What happens next?
So... I wrote another book about them. Other People's Horses deals with what happens next. It's taken care of, right? Alex goes to Saratoga, she becomes a full-fledged racehorse trainer in her own right, she deals with some grimy characters, she makes some unlikely friends, she has some nice horses. Excellent. Good night.
What happens next?
This is going to become a problem for me.
I'm just completely invested in Alex and Alexander now, you see. And their farm. And their horses. After all, for two books now, that's more than two years of my life, I have thought about what would Alex do? I went to Saratoga last summer and walked around the beautiful town and thought, Alex would love it here.
I want to write about Alex in Saratoga.
And so I did. And it became a daily obsession. Alex in Saratoga, lucky girl! Or was she?
Riding on the subway, staring out at the graffiti on the tunnel walls, wondering how Alex was going to fix a problem horse. Walking through Midtown, drinking coffee and dodging tourists, wondering how Alexander will react when Alex tells him about her new horse she bought without telling him. These people are in my head, you guys.
So (Alex and Alexander), as Amazon denotes my series title, is going to become a thing. There will be a third one later this year. I strongly suspect there will be a fourth one. So I hope there are other adults out there who never lost their love of a long series of books, who always want to know more, who always want to know what happens next.
Other People's Horses is now available as a paperback and an ebook from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The GoodReads giveaway for a paperback continues through April 4.
There's also an interview with the photographer who provided the image for Other People's Horses at my blog, Retired Racehorse.