Keeping the Series Going
If you’ve read previous blogs of mine, you might know that I never expected to write a sequel to Bird, let alone a trilogy. And I certainly never planned for there to be a fourth book. But when you fall in love with your characters, it’s hard to let them go.
When I originally sat down to write Bird (the first in the series) in 2015, I had an idea for a story and it felt all resolved
to me at the end. The fact that people believed the ending had been left open for a sequel surprised me. In my mind it was just how the story should finish. But people started to ask when the sequel was coming out, and so I decided to write more. It was lovely to know that people wanted more and I had ideas, so why not write them?
But my ideas were expansive. It therefore naturally became three books, just so I could tell the story I wanted to tell. There was a lot of stuff that I wanted to put Beth and Simon through!
When I finished the third book, it felt good. It felt complete. But I also felt sad. I’d spent years living in these characters’ shoes. I have loved writing all of my books, but often when the final proof read is done, I’m normally already thinking of the next book. I’m ready to move on. This has never been the case for the characters in my Bird trilogy. There was something about them that felt like family and I’ve never quite been able to let them go.
Shortly after Free as a Bird (the third book) was published, I had an idea for what could happen next. I didn’t mean to. It just sort of jumped into my mind. I made some notes and I decided that maybe in the future I’d come back to it. Then last year, with lockdown and a lot more time on my hands (like most people), I decided it was time.
Writing a fourth book in a series isn’t easy. Especially when it’s been a few years since the last book. I’m always making notes on future stories, and I had dozens of ideas for book four, but that wasn’t enough. I needed to remind myself of everything that had happened so far - to be consistent - and I had to get into the characters’ heads again so I could write them in the same way. This meant I had to re-read the trilogy and do some serious planning. I plan every book I write, but this was going to take that little bit extra.
So in the summer of 2020, I spent days catching up on the adventures of Beth and Simon. I was quite happy (and relieved) that I enjoyed re-reading the books so much. Bird will always be one of my favourite stories. As it came from an idea I had when I was a child, it’s sort of been there with me for most of my life. And I’m proud of the final product.
I’m also proud of the full series now. The Dark Nest is much darker (as the name suggests!) than the previous novels. It wasn’t a strictly deliberate decision. The idea that I had just took the characters to a dark place, and I knew I’d have to rock the boat quite substantially to keep upping the ante from the previous books. The nature of my idea also meant that this is less of a romance than the previous books.
But, as my previous blog explains, I’m a sucker for romance, so if you like that in my books too, never fear. There is always scope for more romance in the future…