Hello all you Quaint folks,
An odd thing is happening. As the author of the Cornelius Quaint series, I didn’t have a set number in my head how many stories I might produce. I’ve got loads to tell, but at the same time I wanted to move on, and push some of my other books out there. When I came to write the 4th Cornelius Quaint book, The Romulus Equation, in my mind I was on a precipice – the book would either just be an end to the particular arc that began in The Equivoque Principle and then I am free to move on and do some more radical CQ adventures, or it would be an end full-stop.
Although the 1st book is the only one that has my name on it in the shops at the moment, the sequel The Eleventh Plague will be out in March of next year. The cover is all finished, my first draft is completed, and the copy-editor has finished her work on what will now become the ‘final edit’.
But a lot has happened in my mind since I typed that last full-stop at the end of Romulus. It is left with an open door to either kill it dead or carry on until I am old and grey(er). That gives me a lot of freedom, and of course only having one book out so far has not automatically made me rich and famous. That’s not me being bitter. I never intended to be rich and famous. Well-read and well-liked, yes. And if riches and fame came along with that, then all the better. But I did not set out to be JKRowling in it…..(bad pun intended). For all I know, when The Eleventh Plague is released it might fall flat on its arse and kill off any chance I have of doing this writer thing full-time. Or it might not. It might be just another step closer to what I want. Or I might have to wait until the 3rd book, The Lazarus Curse is released. Lots of ‘or’s’ in there, but that only equates to lots of ‘what if’s’ if you’re possessed of an optimistic mind as I am.
So this morning, I began work on a 5th Cornelius Quaint book. And the problem is that I know exactly what to do with it. I know the characters, the villains, their motivations, and I know Quaint. I even know the title – The Sovereign Key – I know when it is set, and I have a vague idea of some of the stuff that I can get up to. More of the same, but more.
But hang on a minute, did I say problem? Over the past few years of me writing Quaint stories I have a whole ton of material that I’ve not had chance to use, or I have used it and discarded it as it didn’t fit. Scenes that I cut out in favour of others, sequences that were great but just didnt fit, and bits and bobs of other stuff that would only have got in the way before. It’s a Frankenstein way to write, but all the ideas are mine and mine only, so why should any go to waste? In both Lazarus and Romulus there is a subplot that was purposely laid so that I could pick up on it when I needed to. A knot at the end of my handkerchief.So why would that be a problem? Well, it is a problem because as I say, I’d intended to leave Quaint alone for a bit and let the dust settle so that I could pursue other ideas and projects. I must have another 2 or 3 complete novels in various stages of development – most complete. For about 3 months I have dusted off an old idea and reshaped it into a really exciting and potentially fantastic trilogy – but now I am being side-tracked to write another Quaint story. It’s like I don’t have much of a choice in the matter. I’m just going along with the flow. Now, that is definitely not a Frankenstein way to write and I think that it might just be the way that I write. If I were to examine myself (in a purely literary sense, of course) I might be quite intrigued by the fact that it is the idea/notion/plan/dream that I am letting guide me, and nothing more than wanting to be creative that drives me. With such a pure of heart intention such as that, surely I deserve to be rich and famous, right?
And so there it is, the big skinny or whatever they call it.