A few days ago, after four years, I completed the ten-book Wynter Wild series, uploading the final chapter of the final book (The Beat Goes On) to Wattpad. The book will be published on Amazon in a few weeks with its current YA cover, before I relaunch the entire series with new covers.
If you’ve been following along – thank you for reading! Newsletter subscribers get access to a second epilogue to the final book. If you haven’t yet subscribed you can do so here, and I’ll send you the link to that epilogue. Subscribers will also get exclusive stories and sneak peeks of my future work, much of which is set in the same “universe” including prequels and sequels.
If you’ve read the entire series, that’s 1,288,103 words (approximately) of Wynter’s story. A staggering figure that I can hardly believe, especially considering I wrote many thousands more words that never made it into the books. So many subplots I had to cut, especially as the final book grew longer and longer. I may include some of that material in later sequels (most likely short stories).
My first priority is a set of prequel short stories or novellas about the Fairn brothers growing up with their mother, and then their father, showing how these three boys developed into the characters we first met in Little Sister Song. I (or rather, they) referred to many incidents from their childhood, so I’m looking through those now for story ideas.
Meanwhile, I’m reflecting on the series and what drew me to write it in the first place, having written nothing but science fiction in the past. I fully admit that the series is a (modern) fantasy of sorts, and of course fantasy and science fiction have much in common. The germ of the idea, the first scene I ever conceived, was the flashback scene in book 10, chapter 1, where Wynter meets the two Australian boys for the first time. This scene came about because of my lifelong interest in cults and communes. In the end I decided to write about what happened after Wynter left the cult.
I also wanted to write a story set against a background of music. You often read about how musicians in a band are like a family, with all the associated rewards and dramas. What if that family was a real family? You make music with a musician family, fight with them, and even leave them, but it’s not so easy to leave real family. You have to deal with each other outside the band environment as well as within it. That’s what fascinated me about a sibling band.
I combined those two ideas, and the Wynter Wild series was born…
In creating Wynter, I wanted to write about a girl with an isolated past who emerges into the real world for the first time. Putting her in a cult was one way of doing this, and of course the Light becomes a major feature in the series, but her past could’ve been any isolated situation. Another story I was working on many years ago was about a musically talented girl (a pianist in this case) growing up with a controlling grandmother who forced her to play concerts. Ideas from that half-formed story fed into Wynter’s story.
Where did Caleb come from? His past and present life are very far removed from anything I’m familiar with – the abusive father, the early responsibilities, the military career… I didn’t even know any young men of his age! I created him from scratch and his was the first male point of view I wrote for the series. In fact it was the first male point of view I’d ever written. But as I got to know him, I discovered I enjoyed writing from his perspective, which gave me the confidence to try writing in Jesse’s and Indio’s voices, too.
Indio wasn’t always the sensitive broken soul we meet in Little Sister Song (or in books 2 and 3, to be precise – he has a much smaller role in the first book). I first envisioned him as a rock n’ roll party animal, an extravert with fairly poor survival instincts, while at the same time his personal problems with Caleb were already resolved. By putting those problems front and center, and by fleshing out the boys’ childhoods to explain the origin of those problems, Indio’s personality morphed as I worked on my drafts. His character walks a fine line for much of the series, and above all I wanted the reader to empathize with the odd emotional situation he finds himself in.
Oh, Jesse. Where would this family be without Jesse? I am so looking forward to writing prequel stories about little Jesse. Despite his often annoying commentaries on life, physics, ethics, and just about everything else, Wynter tells him to never change and I don’t think he ever will (for better or worse). Jesse’s personality also took a few drafts to come into focus. It’s one thing to write a stereotypical brainiac, and quite another to write a lovable confused brainiac with mommy issues (yes, he does have them, no matter what he tells you to the contrary).
I’m looking forward to writing about where this family goes, and where they’ve been, in future stories.
There are several ways you can support me or show your appreciation: consider writing an honest review (or just leave a rating) on Goodreads or Amazon that may help persuade potential readers to take a chance on the series. This is the best way to support indie authors. My books are of course for sale on Amazon, and once book 10 is out I’ll offer a box set of the ebooks at a discount price. (After the relaunch, the books will also be on Kindle Unlimited.) And to keep in touch with what I’m writing, subscribe to my newsletter or to this blog. You can also write to me at any time using the contact form on my website. I always reply, even if it takes a few days.
Again, thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed the books so far, or commented on Wattpad while I was uploading there. I truly appreciate your participation and have loved reading your feedback.