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The Trouble with Marcus

In a comment earlier, Neva asked about a book for Marcus, Earl of Alverleigh, from the Devil Riders series. I get so many letters asking for his story, and though I always answer them, I decided it might be worth while explaining here.

The trouble is, Marcus’s story was never in the original publisher’s contract for the series, which is usually written before I’ve started writing.  I’d imagined his role to be as a vaguely villainous distant character-in-the-background, but then as I was writing the other books in the series, he gradually became more important to me. Then in Nell and Harry’s story (His Captive Lady) he really stepped forward and showed himself to be a hero-in-waiting. And then he did it again in Nash and Maddy’s story (The Accidental Wedding). By then I really wanted to him to have his own story. 

When I was in New York, I talked to my editor about it, and she said “fine, go ahead” and so I started on the story. But my publishers then came back a few weeks later and said they didn’t want Marcus after all, and that I should move on to the first book in the next series that they’d approved, starting with The Autumn Bride. So that’s what I did.

I’ve had so many letters asking for Marcus’s story, and I really do want to write it — and I will, one day.  I have had the broad strokes of his story —and his heroine— in my mind for ages, and the prologue and opening is drafted. And somes scenes scribbled down in my notebook.

But I’ll have to self-publish it as an e-book, and my contract restricts me from self-publishing anything longer than a novella (30,000 words). I’m pretty sure Marcus’s story will be longer than that — unless I get frustrated and squish the poor fellow into a novella. But I’d prefer to let the story be the length it wants to be.

The other thing is, as most of you have realized, I’m not a fast writer, and I write one story at a time. I’ve tried doing what some writers do and switch from story to story — one friend of mine writes one story in the morning, and in the afternoon edits a different story. I’ve tried doing that, and it really doesn’t work for me. I need to dwell in the world of my story and the heads of my characters — one story at a time. It’s when I’m “in the zone” that some of my best scenes come to me, and they’re not usually ones I’ve planned. Characters step out and do things that surprise me, but are right for them — and that’s the best part of writing for me.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to train myself to write faster. I’m planning to put out a few novellas and learn  indie-publishing — I’m hoping to write a Christmas novella for Ash (from the Seasonal Brides series) after I’ve finished my current book, which is the first in a new series. But a full novel will take more time and thought. However I DO want to write Marcus’s story, and as I still get a couple of letters every week asking about it, there’s no chance I’ll forget. 

When I do write Marcus’s story, you guys will be the first to know.
In the meantime, stay safe and keep healthy.

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2 months ago

You could write it and post it on your blog as a freebie. Or you could serialize it and publish it that way, each a novella. Or, I don’t know how long it’s been, but you could try negotiating a one-off. I understand having to live with your main characters until their story is told. I have no words of wisdom where that is concerned because I’m the same way. :/

2 months ago
Reply to  theo

Thanks, Theo, but it’s finding time and headspace for the writing that’s the hard part, not where or how to publish it.

Margot Purcell
Margot Purcell
2 months ago

I am one of those many who have asked for Marcus’s story as I wanted to know what happened to him. I have a brother by that name and I like that name. I do hope that some day you will be able to get his story completed so we can read what you have been wanting to share. I will even get an e-reader if need be.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
2 months ago
Reply to  Margot Purcell

Hi Margot, thanks for writing. The encouragement of people like you keeps my resolve to write the book fresh, so thank you. I believe that these days self published books can also include paperbacks, so we’ll see. Mind you, I was one of those who resisted buying an e-reader for ages, but once I caved, I loved it. There’s nothing like going away on a trip and being able to take a library of more than 1000 books with you in your handbag.