I was going through my “why I wrote” blog posts and realized I hadn’t done one for Kicking Ashe. I hope I can remember why I wrote it…
Like many (most) of my books, Kicking Ashe wasn’t planned. Should I admit that? In the writing business, it’s called ‘writing by the seat of your pants’ or ‘into the mist writing.’ It basically means, I start out not knowing exactly where I am going.
Usually, I do know what type of book I’m writing (romantic suspense or science fiction romance) and if I don’t know right away, well, I know when the alien pops up in the story. Or something explodes or a shot rings out. Those are clues, first for me, and later for the readers.
But Kicking Ashe, well, it was the last book in my Project Enterprise series (there is a short story that wraps up one last character, but it’s short. You can find it in Project Enterprise: The Shorts.) I tried really hard to wrap it all up in Steamrolled. But when the book pushed past 142K, yeah, I knew I had to stop. So at the end, I left Ashe with her tush basically hanging out somewhere To Be Explained Later.
Which meant that I had to Explain It.
That’s the tricky part of being an author. The buck stops at your computer. You think up crazy cool things to happen to your characters and you’re chuckling evilly as you hose them and bam. You realize you have to get them out, solve ALL the problems and deliver a happy ending.
I’d noticed a little something somethin’ between Ashe and Vidor Shan (mostly from Girl Gone Nova, but he also shows up in Steamrolled) and so I knew the last story would be about them, but he was seriously messed up and Ashe, well, she’s purple. That’s a lot of incompatible to get past. A lot.
And beyond the actual book writing, there’s the whole thing of ending a series. I didn’t want to finish the book because it would be THE END. Those are happy-sad words to write for an author. Every book I get some separation anxiety when I finish. I kind of fall into the between-the-book-void and have to crawl out and find the book on the other side. It’s very traumatic. Seriously traumatic.
And this wasn’t just a book, but five of them. I’d spent years with these characters, years visiting their strange worlds and I missed them before the wrap-up. What would I do when the series was officially done?
Well, obviously I lived.
I did it. I wrote Kicking Ashe for the readers who liked the series and took all the side trips (into steampunk for instance) and beyond with me. I did it so they’d (hopefully) feel satisfied. Do I still miss the series? Yes, I do. I can’t and won’t rule out future visits, maybe with some new characters. And if you look, you’ll run into some friends from Project E in my Uneasy Future series. A few Easter eggs for my faithful readers, particularly in Sucker Punch, which is currently with my beta reader and should release in July. (Squee!)
I know what it’s like to wait for a long time for a series or have them cut off at the knees and left unfinished and hanging. So I’m glad that I had the opportunity to finish the series for my readers and yes, for myself. (I wanted to know what would happen, too! I promise you, I had NO idea what was going to happen until it did.)
So, do you mourn or rejoice the end of a favorite series? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments. You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.