Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letting Go, Looking Ahead -guest post with Jillian Kent

We welcome our good friend Jillian Kent today, author of the Ravensmoore Chronicles. I'll he reviewing CHAMELEON this coming Saturday. Jillian writes about some of the background in writing a series, and I think it will be of interest to both authors and readers!

Here's Jilly!

Hello everyone here at Inkwell Inspirations. It’s been awhile since I’ve visited and I’m happy to be here. I’ve just turned in book three to my publisher for the big substantive edit. Mystery of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles which is releasing in January. It is the last book in this series and I have to admit I’ve had a really hard time releasing these characters and this story and looking toward my next project.

If you’re already published you may have experienced this issue. If you’re not yet published but have worked on  your own book or series you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Letting go is hard especially when you’ve spent so much time developing characters and plots around those characters. It’s like reading a great book and not wanting it to end. It’s just that now you’re the creator and have to figure out what to do next and there’s no guarantee that there is a next.

To be honest, I want to take a little time off just to recuperate from the last three novels and to get some space from those characters so that I can move on to the next series. Ah, a decision! I have decided to propose a new series and look forward to discussing this with Rachelle Gardner, my agent at Books & Such. I’m currently trying to brainstorm ideas by myself to see how it feels and that’s where I might get hung up. It’s not always about how we feel. As a counselor I see how difficult it is for my college students to make decisions when it’s all about how they feel. Decision making goes past feelings in my opinion and dwells in the land of wisdom. Sometimes we have to seek out others for their opinions and experience and not rely totally on our feelings. Not easy work. Here are three things I’m considering while trying to figure out what’s next.

  1. Do I like the genre I’m writing in?
  2. Do I like the length of the novels I write?
  3. Do I have stories in me that others will enjoy?

The whole timing thing in publishing is awkward. Here I am hoping you’ll enjoy my second book in the current series, Chameleon, which just released in May, and I’m going to be editing book three while marketing books one and two and thinking about my future project. Whew! It’s a fascinating process though even if it does drive us to the cliffs of insanity now and then. J

As you know, there are a lot of opinions out there in cyberspace about traditional publishing verses e-publishing, etc. Here’s a recent post from the Kill Zone that might get you talking.
I’m only interested in traditional publishing at the moment but I do have some ideas for e-publishing non-fiction at some point in the future. How we all view success is another matter but I believe it comes into play or should when we look toward the future of any career. How we make decisions is important and in the writing world will effect each of us differently depending on the path we chose.

I’d like your perspective on how you make your decisions about your writing career no matter where you are in the process.

What questions would you add to the three I’ve listed above? And/or just for fun where are you going or where have you been on vacation this summer.

Thanks Jillian. I'm loving this book (hey, the colors on the cover alone draw me!) and I'm so glad you stopped in and that we met years ago in an online critique group! You are the only one I know writing stories in a similar sub-genre, so I'm thrilled with your success!


  1. Okay, what a beautiful morning here in the northeast! I am really getting used to picture perfect weather this week.
    And... that's a lead in to your question, Jillian. I'm going to be doing day trips this summer to visit events for the anniversary of the War of 1812...for my next series!

    And I took a few days earlier this month to go to the ocean ("The rocky ocean" as my granddaughter calls it in Cape Ann, Massachusetts...comparing it to the Sandy Ocean of the Outer Banks). Everywhere we travel as writers gives us ideas and details for fiction, doesn't it?

    I love the brainstorming aspect with other people almost as much as I love it myself. I am NOT one of those authors who has a hard time making my characters suffer so I tend to pile on the problems.

    loving this book, Jillian!

  2. Hey Jilly! Great to see you! With the new ideas you're brainstorming, are switching genres or staying put? I like a variety and switch between historical and contemporary. I love them both.

  3. Hi Jill, weren't we roomies at Blue Ridge right about the time you signed this contract? I'm so happy for your success.

    It definitely takes me a while to come up with an idea and characters that really come to life in my head. Usually they come after a lot of prayer. But once they're there, I could easily write series and spin offs for a long time.

    For my new book--which hopefully will be a trilogy--the premise title and premise idea came to me first. Title - Love in Three Quarter Time. So I knew it had to relate to the waltz. Then the premise was the former belle of the ball has to teach the dances she loves in order to survive. So I knew it would be in the South. But it took a while for me to settle on a year and a place. I finally decided to place it right after the waltz became popular in England when it would just be arriving in America, 1817, and I decided on Charlottesville, Virginia.

    The length kind of happened organically as I made decisions about the number of POVs and the subplots. It's a little over 90k, but I like the length and would be happy to keep writing in that area.

  4. Hi Deb!
    It's nice to be here. I'm thrilled that you are enjoying good weather and my book. When I read your comment I had one of those duh moments. 1812! Well of course. I hadn't even considered the anniversary of the War of 1812. How cool is that? I'll look forward to hearing about some of those trips. There's got to be a blogpost in there, right?

    I would love to be seeing an ocean of any kind this summer, but alas, I don't think it's going to happen. Since you and I seem to be kindred spirits regarding what we love to write I may have to do some brain storming with you soon.

  5. Suzie girl, it's been too long. That's one of those things about having a day job and a writing contract is that it's so hard to keep up with friends. I am going to stick with writing historicals for now. Also, remember there are no guarantees for another contract. I'll come up with a proposal and brainstorm with Rachelle Gardner, my agent, and see what happens. I am thinking about writing during the Georgian period rather than the regency but I've got mixed feelings about that. Just not sure.

  6. Hey there, Dina!
    I know I had signed the contract already when we were at Blue Ridge because I was looking forward to meeting my acquisitions editor, Debbie Marrie. That was a fun time for me and was glad to be rooming with you.

    I like the way you came up with your story. It's funny and interesting how we each approach the creating of our story ideas. I usually think up the characters first. I love your title, "Love in Three Quarter Time."

  7. Jilly! Hooray! Glad to see you! The Ravensmore Chronicles are great books.

    I do know what you mean about letting characters and stories go. Telling my last H/H goodbye made me sad. But I have a feeling they'll show up again down the line, even if they go by other names.

    Congratulations on finishing the series! Can't wait to hear about the next one...

  8. Jill!
    Yay! I so enjoyed the first of the series. Looking forward to this one and the next!
    As one of the few still-to-be-published Inkies I am in the midst of bumbling through those three questions. (It was awfully nice to realize those are questions I SHOULD be asking!)
    And as to seeking and defining success, I think that's a huge question every writer needs to address individually, because success is obeying the Lord (IMO), therefore if I seek success according to some other avenue, I'll violate my own heart and won't be satisfied no matter how things go.
    Thanks for popping in! We've missed your face!

  9. Hi Susie!
    Thanks for the congrats. I guess I better get used to developing new characters and saying good-bye to the old ones. It's just when I look at all the work that goes into developing a series it's hard to begin getting a grasp on the next one, but it's coming. I'll share more when I can and I have some idea what I'm doing.

  10. Hi Niki!
    Glad you liked the series so far. I think you'll enjoy Mystery of the Heart. The questions help figure out what we want a bit which is important as you move along. I still recommend to writers who are not yet published to keep producing your work. Because when you do publish it's nice to have other books to offer.

  11. oh, what a day here. One is crazier than the last. Sorry to be AWOL today, ladies.

    Jillian and I definitely need to brainstorm.

    And yes, there are a lot of great events along the Great Lakes, and the Chesespeake areas over the next three years to commemorate the War of 1812.

  12. Congrats, Jilly. Did you know we're agency-mates? :D

    I'm looking forward to reading The Ravensmore Chronicle.

    I have to say, I haven't asked any of the 3 questions you've listed. Yeah, I know, I'm always doing something different from the norm. But it's not a question of genre because I won't change that for years. And I've being involved with 3 novella projects in the last year, but those are all group projects. The questions I need to ask myself are:

    - Should I set it in the U.S. or Canada? In other words, how brave do I want to be this time around

    - How realistic do I want it to be? Again, do I step out and be brave or stick to the safe and light-hearted

    - Should I write with a series in mind? Secondary characters will develop based on the answer.

    I wish you well with future books and nope to see you at a conference soon - which brings up my summer plans of attending both the RWA and ACFW conferences.

  13. Anita Mae Draper! When did this happen? Details please. E-mail me when you have time. I'm not going to any of the big conferences this year. I'll miss ACFW but James Scott Bell will be in Cincinnati teaching a workshop the weekend prior to ACFW so that will take the sting out of not being able to go. I will be there next year though when it's in Indianapolis. I'm up late tonight because I can't sleep. Very concerned about this situation in Colorado.

  14. Actually Jilly, I'll answer here because we need more comments for our stats. Haha.

    I signed with Mary Keeley in March. It came about because of a novella project I was working on with Valerie Comer, Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss. Tricia introduced me to Janet, and Janet introduced me to Mary, and I guess Mary saw something in me, because she offered representation. :)

    ACFW is back in Indianapolis next year? That can't be right, we were just there. How can I explore my southern neighbour if the conferences are in the same place?

    Yes, I know what you mean about the Colorado fires. Rachelle and her family are in my prayers. That's one fearsome situation, to be sure.

    Well, if you can't sleep, prayers going out to you, too. I'm off to the haystack myself now. Later.


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