My first novel was published in 2006. It was entitled Night Voices, and I figured it was a one-off. It was an attempt at an action/adventure, and I was happy with the result, though I was less thrilled as a writer in the sense that I was outside my "experience zone". I grew up with the maxim that "a writer should only write about what he/she knows." Night Voices was based on anthropology and sailing, two of my avocations and well within my universe of experience. The problem for me was that I "sailed out" of my comfort zone in the book. The characters went out the St. Lawrence Seaway into the North Atlantic. No problem! I ended the book on the Canadian shore. My next novels (three in all) took place in the Midwest, where I currently live. Eventually, however, readers said, "You can' just leave them there!"
It's really not a bad situation. I'm glad they wanted more. I just wondered about the flora and fauna in the region where Shrader Marks and Cathy Pearson were stranded. One cruise to the Canadian Maritimes later, I thought I could write a sequel. It's been six years! My independent publisher said that "we can't publish a sequel that won't stand alone!!!" (At their insistence, all my intervening novels had to be stand-alone and be readable in any order!)
For them the answer was clear. "The new book has to include the first book! The saga has to be complete!" All I could see was that everyone who purchased the first would have to pay for it a second time to acquire the sequel.Their [The publisher's] promise was to keep the price of the double novel the same as the first.
I don't pretend to understand publishing. (I don't think there's any money without acquiring an author with celebrity status.) On the other hand, small presses sometimes are big believers in a story! They are going to publish Shrader Marks: Keelhouse as a double novel with less hope of profit than desire to have the story complete!
Causes Robert Smith Supports
Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Presbyterian Disaster Relief