Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On Contracts, Proposals, and Bouncing Back

We’ve just accepted a contract for two more contemporary thrillers—sequels to THE ARCHANGEL PROJECT. The new books will be published in 2009 and 2010.

This means that in addition to the Sebastian St. Cyr series, I’ll also be writing a contemporary thriller series featuring the characters from ARCHANGEL: October Guinness, a reluctant remote viewer dragged back into the Navy, and Jax Alexander, a cynical CIA type. At this stage, it’s a series still in search of a name. That’s the problem with duel heroes—one can’t simply call the series by the hero’s name.

While I haven’t blogged about it, the road to this new contract has been rocky. I originally planned the second book in the series to be THE BERMUDA EFFECT. I did tons of research on Cuba and South America and the Bay of Pigs and Iran-Contra. I liked the story so much I wrote beyond the necessary 35 pages/3-5 first chapters to the first turning point—nearly 100 pages. In other words, I invested a lot of time in that proposal, which I sent in last spring. After sitting on it forever, the publishers turned the proposal down in mid-August.

Yes, it can happen. I’ve seen it happen to two writers I know—multipublished, highly successful writers of established series. Which is why smart writers don’t continue working on a proposal until after they’ve heard back from their editors. I didn’t make that mistake, but I did make the mistake of spending too much time researching the book, I wrote too long of a proposal, and I plotted the book out in far more detail than was necessary at that stage. All mistakes I will never make again.

Having the proposal rejected meant I had to come up with a new idea, research it, and write the new proposal, all the while rushing to get SERPENTS in on deadline. Which is why my life has been very hectic, why I am now behind on my writing schedule, and why I am taking a much-needed break this Christmas.

The second book will now be called THE DEADLIGHT CONNECTION. I had originally planned this to be Book Four in the series (yeah, I was doing the alphabet thing with the titles, but that will now have to go away). DEADLIGHT is a neat idea involving Nazi subs and Russians and terrorists, and my publishers are very excited about it. The third book will, if all goes well, be set in Morocco (with Casablanca in the title, naturally).

Having the original thriller proposal rejected and thus having to invest another six weeks frantically coming up with a new proposal means the next ten months will be pretty tense, with two books to write in a scarily short span of time. Right now, I’m working on the proposal for the fifth Sebastian St. Cyr book. And I’m going to be careful not to overdo it!


Charles Gramlich said...

Congrats on the new contracts. Sorry about the wasted effort on the "Bermuda" book, but maybe you can rescue some of that for down the line in the series. Sounds like you will be busy. I've been taking off a few days over the Christmas break so far but I need to get back into business on some projects.

Steve Malley said...

Wow, Full Throttle Candy! Way to go, O Prolific One!

Y'know, I actually woke up this morning having dreamt about and *eager* to read MERMAIDS. It's in the hold of some tall-masted schooner somewhere, with many other goodies...

Lisa said...

Congratulations and that's too bad about the Bermuda book, but it's always possible it's just not the right time for that now, right? Would you really consider it a wasted effort, or do you think there can be a time and a place for every good book?

150 said...

I don't know, I think "Guinness and Jax" has a certain ring. :)

cs harris said...

Thanks, everyone. I am hoping to eventually be able to salvage some of the Bermuda book. Steve, I hope you like MERMAIDS when its ship comes in. And 150, that's an idea, using one name from each character for the series.

Sustenance Scout said...

Hi, Candy! Just stopped by via Lisa's blog. So glad I did! Best wishes! K.

cs harris said...

Welcome, Sustenance Scout! Thanks for stopping by.

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