Any artist will tell you that true inspiration seldom takes a linear or predictable path. We have no control over when the muse strikes us, or where she may take us once we engage the creative process. Sometimes you end up in surprising places.
My experience writing my first two (and soon to be three) novels has been one of these detour-ridden adventures — taking me to all sorts of unexpected places. For example, most people don’t know that I wrote SOUL MATES, the sequel to WHEN LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH first. I completed SOUL MATES in 2006, and shopped it around to agents and editors for several years. In the original version of SOUL MATES, the story that unfolds in WHEN LOVE takes place in three chapters worth of flashbacks. I was treating that whole Samantha/Tony/Angela saga as backstory, lol.
When I started shopping my manuscript around, I also started attending writer’s conferences and learning more and more about the craft of writing and how to develop a novel. You know, all the standard Writing 101 stuff about plotting and pacing and character development. In this process of becoming a better writer, I decided SOUL MATES needed a polish. When I went back in for this second major revision, I realized that I had just breezed through Tony and Samantha’s story, and not given it proper treatment. To remedy this problem, I decided to write a prequel to SOUL MATES, the novel that eventually became WHEN LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH.
There was one major lesson I learned from that process — never write novels in a series out of order! Man. Once I started working on WHEN LOVE, the story took off in ways I never imagined, which was awesome. But all these twists, turns and tangents now required me to go back in for a third major revision of SOUL MATES, to make sure all the threads were connected. For example, in the original iteration of Samantha and Tony’s love story, there was no Damion character. And those of you who’ve read WHEN LOVE know what a major player he is, so of course I need to go and write him into the sequel. Seamlessly. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.
So what I’m about to confess next is going to disappoint a number of you… The release of SOUL MATES is still a ways out. I’m afraid I’ve done it again, fallen prey to my muse and been taken off on another creative detour. I was working very hard on this final SOUL MATES revision, and making very good progress, when James made a comment that nagged at me. He noted that the elapsed time between the end of WHEN LOVE and the beginning of SOUL MATES is ten years.
“That’s kind of a long break, don’t you think? Aren’t you leaving a lot of stuff out?”
And he was right. Damn it.
So what I’ve been doing the last few months is working on a new novel, my third novel, the true sequel to WHEN LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH. It is tentatively titled, THE SPACE BETWEEN, and tells Samantha and Damion’s love story. I’m about a third of the way through, and I’m pretty confident that you guys will feel it was worth the wait. And then, after I go back in for yet another revision (seriously, who knows where this new novel will take my characters, lol), I will release the long-awaited SOUL MATES to round out what has now officially become a trilogy. Sound like a plan?
I have been so touched and humbled by all the folks who have written to me, wondering when SOUL MATES will be available. I just love that folks are so invested in my characters, and I’m working as fast as I can to get you the next installment, I promise. I’ve officially taken an editing sabbatical and a TPC hiatus and am dedicating this entire year to WRITING. And before the year is out, you will have the next (and possibly final) piece of this love story for your reading enjoyment. In the meantime, I thank you all for your patience, support, and motivation. Knowing there are anxious fans and readers out there really keeps me going. So stay tuned – I promise it will be worth the wait!