Before I decided to try my hand at writing, I received a lot of advice from other writers. Though no two writers ever take the exact same path, much of the tips and tricks of the craft are universal. I remember specifically being told, time and time again, that writing the first novel was going to be the hardest part, and if I could make it through that, the rest would be a breeze. Well, I was able to write and self-publish my first novel in about six months. That’s not to say that it didn’t offer one heck of a challenge, but when I had completed it only a little worse for wear, I was eager to sit back and bask in the joy of the “hardest” part being over with. If you’re smiling right now, then I’m guessing you’ve been there—maybe even shared those same thoughts.
However, in all of the words of wisdom that I received, not one person ever warned me about one of the next big challenges: What do you follow up your first book with? Choosing your next project is a huge commitment, and since writing a book is a process that requires an enormous investment of time (sometimes over a year), how do you know if you’re placing your bets behind the right one? For some, this question can be easily answered. A lot of writers, me included, start their careers with a series of books planned. They are anxious to begin work on the next one right away. For me, the decision was not quite that simple.
After six months of living and breathing nothing but the universe of my first book, Noble, I had plenty of notes regarding where I would take the story in the sequel. The problem was, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was ready to dive back into that world right away. I keep a “project pile” full of all my ideas for potential books, and I was feeling a strong pull towards one of those ideas. I felt as though I would have been foolish to resist the temptation of a story idea that was calling to me. With that, I placed the “Noble” universe temporarily on hold so that I could explore a new world and see what possibilities it may contain.
This led me to the recent completion of my second book, a novella entitled The Jumper. It’s about a middle-aged man that unfortunately discovers he has to get a new job, just weeks into his early retirement. With the job market being what it is, the only position he can find is that of a Night Custodian for a youth community center. The pay and the hours are too good to be true, and for good reason. The community center is home to the angry spirit of a teenage boy that is not shy about making its presence known, and leaving clues behind to help solve a 25-year old mystery.
With The Jumper now published, I was chomping at the bit to get back to work on the Noble trilogy. The time I spent away from the series was incredibly valuable because my writing had improved with the extra experience, and I found that the time also fueled many new ideas that I hadn’t considered before. To think, if I had moved on ahead in the series right away, some of these new ideas might never have been created, and the book would’ve only been a shell of the story I’m working on today. I am very excited with how the new book is progressing, and when it releases late this fall, I know that it will be a representation of my complete vision. Even in writing, absence makes the heart grow fonder… and productive.