It’s been a long road to get this series out and to the place it is today. When I tell people how many books I’ve written, I get the inevitable gasp and look of incredulity while I shrug and smile.
I get a lot of similar responses.
“Nobody wants to read something that long.”
“It must get repetitive.”
“You must get bored writing the same thing over and over.”
“I only read a series that has at most, three books.”
I usually have the same response.
“I just keep hearing the characters. Their story isn’t over yet.”
So here I am, finishing up book 25 and I wonder if their concerns are valid.
I do have a lot of similar themes running through the series.
People get sick. People get hurt. People do the wrong thing. People help each other. People hurt each other.
People get better. People heal. People inspire. People disappoint.
It’s life and it’s real.
To an extent 🙂
I have always loved episodic television and books. I am a sucker for character development and becoming invested in someone’s story. I certainly see that in stand alone novels and I have my own favorites.
Maybe it’s because I began this series as a way to heal from a personal tragedy or maybe it’s because I see the characters as extensions of real people, I haven’t been able to stop writing them.
I don’t want to.
They are still talking to me.
David and Desi have a story to tell.
Naomi and Bryan are becoming closer.
Sabrina and Tessa are growing and evolving.
Josie is facing a whole new set of issues.
Kevin and Eden and Sara are becoming unique individuals and we will soon have a few new members of the family.
Katie is also returning.
But at the crux of my storytelling are Jack and Stephanie and Tommy and Brittany and Bill and Julie and in a much more evolving role, Mike and Jade and Evan and Elizabeth.
Joining them in a more prominent fashion have been Ian and Cassie and now Amber and Jason.
With a cast of so many characters, how can I not keep telling their story? They all have so much to say and my problem is balancing all of their time.
I want to be able to keep the series fresh and I want to have the characters evolve and grow.
I don’t want it to become stale and repetitive and I hope I haven’t.
The heart of this series is family. Strength. Love. Hope. Choice.
You choose who you consider your family.
For the past few months, I have been rewriting “Nothing Matters” and I have realized something really important.
Jack and Stephanie look very little like they did then. Tommy is very different from who he was then.
They have grown and evolved and have become the central driving force which has enabled the other characters to grow.
I see Stephanie on that ledge and I don’t recognize her.
I see Jack as someone with no ties and no responsibilities and I don’t recognize him.
I see Tommy chasing a purpose to his life and I don’t recognize him.
I see Bill and Julie as an engaged couple with no knowledge of what life was about to throw their way.
I don’t recognize them because it’s been 25 books and they aren’t those people anymore. They are more developed and they have grown into characters I adore.
However, the characters I no longer recognize are inside of each of them, and every so often, they reveal themselves.
Sabrina has brought out Jack’s insecurities in a way nobody else could.
Tessa’s self-doubt reminds Stephanie of the struggles she faced.
David shows Bill that he is doing something right, and his lack of parental love has no bearing on his ability to do better. Be better.
Julie sees her parents in her children and is able to create the life and memories with them that she ached to have growing up.
Through Brittany, I have been able to show someone living, no, thriving, despite being handed awful cards in life. She enables me to have a voice against discrimination and a voice in support of victims rights. She is not perfect and she has deep scars, but she lives. She fights. She perseveres. She grows. she learns.
Jade. God I love her. She is the heart of all of my insecurities from her big boobs to her weight to her inability to simply feel like she’s enough. It’s so hard to overcome bullying and teasing and not have those voices carry over into adulthood. It doesn’t mean we don’t thrive, but sometimes, it’s really, really hard. I am so proud to write her. I hope she continues to believe in herself and in her worth.
Mike exemplifies the kind of character I never thought I would write. I hate cheating stories. (I think I’ve said that a lot 🙂 but it’s true.) I also worried I was making him too ‘perfect’. Nobody can be that sweet and that amenable to things. Nobody would let themselves be taken advantage of in such a way like Mike did with Rebecca.
But I write it that way because it happens. It’s not always the woman who is left behind. It’s not always the man doing the wrong.
Mike is unique and so is Jade.
How could they not go together? 🙂
Evan and Liz.
They are probably the hardest for me to integrate, story wise. Evan works for Brittany, but he is so much more than that. He has become a part of the family and from the mail I get- he has a lot of fans. I love that. I need to find more ways to tell his story. Bringing Jason and Amber in will help with that.
I hope you didn’t think I forgot him 🙂
He is truly my hero.
I am not sure I have ever created a more flawed character. He infuriates me at times and other times I think he can’t be more perfect. He has deep scars and I’m finding new levels and depths to take him to. What he has been through in the last few books is more than I have put any character through in any one given time and moving forward, he will have to face some harsh truths about his recovery.
I can’t wait to write that.
There is also Ron and Jenny…
They aren’t getting any younger.
Wow. so much going on.
What are your thoughts? What are you looking forward to?
What questions do you have?
Did I forget anyone?