The Questions that Matter, #1: Why did you do it?

So, we had a release party on Facebook for our newest release, The Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 and it was lots of fun!  We didn’t have many attendees (only 10 brave souls, if I’m being honest) but that was probably because I just decided on Saturday to host an event on Tuesday.  I’d read a marketing article that said events were a great way to reach people with the new Facebook page algorithms making everything all wonky.  So, I thought, why not give it a try?

Anyone who is interested can still go and answer the two poll questions that I’ve posted to gather a bit of info about what to do for the next one.  Remember, Episode 3 will be here before we know it!

One of the things we did at the party was answer questions from readers.  That was so much fun for me!  I loved doing it when we did our blog tour back in 2013 (while we were still baby authors!) and it was just as awesome as I hoped talking to people and answering questions about our process and characters.  I’ve decided that I will post the answers as a series of blog entries over the next week or two.

So, away we go with the first and probably the most revealing question.  (note: this is copied verbatim from the Facebook page.)

We got a doozy of a question in from Lee this morning! This is going to take a while to answer, so I hope everyone hangs around for the whole thing!

Here’s her question:
I’ve read your first three books, and was wondering, when did you realize you wanted to write something more episodic? Also, how do you keep your narrative smoothed out so that the story doesn’t just seem like a series of events, but something more cohesive?

WOW. Okay, let’s start with the easy part! Keeping the narrative cohesive. NOTES, lots and lots of notes. We make outlines of the original stories and then we make outlines of the pieces that should have been in between the scenes in those stories. Then we plot out how much we want to include in an Episode. Then we double check that plot. And once the draft is done, we triple check to make sure that we’re still following the timeline.

But as to when and how we realized we needed to change the format of the books? That was something we had to realize over time. The three Tales from the Parliament books were originally written as the first books of their own series. They are set in the same world, but focused primarily on three couples and were in different points of time. We had Ghost House happening first with Jacob & Brodie. Monster next with Julian and Siris and Inertia starting up third with Skye & RT.

What started to happen, because all three stories were part of the same world, was that some of the minor characters began to move between the different stories. And then there were connections between the main characters (Skye is technically the villain at the start of Monster and one of the heroes of Inertia!) It was all getting way too hard to keep the timelines of these secondary characters intact (especially ones like Richard who are alive and well in one and not doing so great in another or the Wolf twins who appeared in Inertia after the planned events of Ghost House 2 & 3 without a proper explanation of what happened to them.)

This was making us completely crazy, but we were writing M/M erotic romances, so we had to put up with it and keep the stories focused on the main couples, right?

But in the process of releasing the second books of Ghost House and Monster, we had a major breakdown/breakthrough with the writing. There was a massive spoiler for Ghost House in the Monster story line. I mean HUGE. Which in the course of the time line, the characters in Monster would know this thing but the readers would be spoiled for a major plot point of Ghost House. What were we going to do?

Well, first we cried. A lot. And swore a bit. Threw things. Then we got our shit together and brainstormed for hours.

What we finally admitted was that we weren’t happy writing in the romance genre. There were too many rules and guidelines (most unwritten, to be honest, but people expect certain things when you call your book a romance of any variety.) We were in love with too many of our characters and wanted to tell all of their stories. And, most important of all, the dark, horrific, amazing world we were building had its own story that loomed over that of the characters. The only way to do justice to the story living inside of us was to change what we were doing.

The final decision was that we would “rebrand” from Wandering Stars Press to Hermit & Star Books, take down the second books, and start from the logical beginning of the Parliament of Twilight story. It’s honestly the best choice that I’ve ever made in regards to my writing. I’m having so much fun telling the pieces that I thought would be forgotten or ignored. I’m enjoying exploring pieces of our world that were going to be left in darkness. And I’m loving being able to let all the characters have a place in the spotlight.

So, yeah.  That was quite a question to answer!  But there it is.  Do you have questions for the authors as well?  You can message me, Dani Hermit, through our Facebook page or via email at hermitstarbooks@outlook.com with the subject “The Questions that Matter submission” and I will post the answers to our blog!

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