This morning I finished the first draft of my novel "The Scourge", which I've been working on since mid-January. The novel is about the invasion of Europe by the Huns in 376. It started out as some leftover chapters from my first book about the Fall of Rome called "Expendable Gods". With its completion, I now have three books in the nine book Amulet Series that are completed at least as far as the first draft.
Curiously, the sixth book in the series, when considered sequentially, is the first book published. This is "The Wind in the Embers". It worked out this way because of a misguided attempt to write to the market - something seasoned novelists warn you not to do. I had already written the first book in the series, "Expendable Gods", and was shopping it around when I was told in no uncertain terms that "the only historical fiction that sells these days is that which is for women, about women, and by women.
While I could do something about the first two of these, short of undergoing a sex change, there was little I could do about the third. (Although I should point out, my wife urged me to write under a female pen name). Nevertheless, I had already been planning to write a novel about Galla Placidia, the wonderful historical figure at the center of "The Wind in the Embers", so I figured if that's what the market wants, that's what the market gets.
This meant that the sequel to "Expendable Gods", the book about the invasion of the Huns, would have to go on the backburner. So I stopped writing that and started writing "The Wind in the Embers". Fast forward two years and "The Wind in the Embers" is published and the first draft of the book about the Huns, called "The Scourge", is completed. Now things get even more complicated.
Because "The Wind in the Embers" is the first book in the series to be published, and because it is centered on a woman and therefore will appeal to female readers, the next book to follow cannot be "Expendable Gods" or "The Scourge", both of which are centered on men, and have very few female characters. Instead I will have to write a sequel to "The Wind in the Embers" that centers on a female.
Fortunately, the historical material is there. The daughter-in-law of Galla Placidia, a woman named Licinia Eudocia, is herself a colorful figure who will support a thrilling narrative. But it means the novel I just finished about the Huns will have to go into a drawer, along with "Expendable Gods", to be resurrected at a later date.
Ah, such are the vagaries of being a novelist in the age of Amazon. In any case, it always feels good to finish a first draft, so today I am celebrating. Tomorrow I will have to hunker down with the history books and start researching the life and times of Licinia Eudocia. I will keep you apprised of my progress.
Just a reminder, the print version of "The Wind in the Embers" is now available on Amazon. If you haven't bought your copy already, please do so. And thanks.