When we signed with Creativia, I told Collin I was seriously considering complete rewrites for most of my backlist books. They were written and published in the late ’80s and ’90s (1988-1997, to be specific) and were outdated. I even mentioned the possibility to our publisher, Miika Hannila.
Then, I gave the books a good, hard look. Did I really want to invest that kind of time and effort when I could be writing new books? No. I didn’t.
I knew I wasn’t going to rewrite The Unicorn’s Daughter. It was my favorite of all of my backlist books. I recalled how much I’d enjoyed writing it, especially those last few chapters, intertwining Jaime’s search for her father with the US air strike against Libya. It had become relevant again, with all that’s currently happening in the Middle East. It would be the basis for a series, if I could kick my brain into gear and actually write it.
But what about the rest of the books? How could I interest readers in twenty-year-old novels? It took me a while to realize I already had the answer.
I had contemplated a series of “Where Are They Now?” blog posts about each of the main characters, catching up on the events in their lives since their books ended. I already knew what had become of them–why not weave their current stories into my works in progress? It could work….
This is one of the best things about not being under contract to a conventional publisher, specifically a Big Six (or is it Big Five now?) publisher. Nothing is ever chiseled in stone. We as authors are in the driver’s seat. If something’s not working, we can change direction, plot a new course.
These characters’ lives have changed dramatically in the past two decades. All were affected in one way or another by world events and personal crises. I might still write those intended blog posts–but now my characters will also live on in new novels. Their author has undergone some major changes…and so have they.