Author Archive

The Hedgewitch Experiment

The cover the The Hedgewitch Queen, showing a woman in a white dressI wrote The Hedgewitch Queen, let’s see, ]mumblemumble[ years ago, in a feverish haze. It started, as so many books do, with a character whispering in my ear. If not for a muddy skirt, a clear, cultured, decorous voice said, I would be dead like all the rest.

Dead…or worse, perhaps.

Of course I had to continue writing to find out what was “worse.” Arquitaine opened around me, and several drafts later (I think this was the book that cemented my faith in my long-suffering beta reader’s patience) I had a novel I was happy with. Well, as much as a writer is ever happy with a draft. We’re inveterate pickers. But I digress.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right time to release it. I was hip-deep in other series, and my editor and agent both agreed that dear Hedgie had to wait. I stuck out my lower lip, pouted a bit, and then got over it and cheerfully agreed. Of such moments are a career in publishing made.

Cut to years later, when my editor at Orbit called my agent. “Does Lili still have Hedgewitch? If so, there’s this opportunity. It’s an ebook-only release.” (more…)

When Should The Waltz End?

A series, like all good things, must end. In a perfect world, it would do so not sooner, not later, but just exactly where it needs to.

I’m not going to lie–this is an incredibly difficult feat to pull off. Finding the proper place to end a series is a lot like crawling around in a pitch-black room with a lamp’s plug, looking for a socket. While the room is flooding. And carnivorous eels are swimming in. Plus, lasers. And explosions. Even James Bond would have a bit of trouble with this. (Although Daniel Craig’s Bond, much as I love him, would probably be a terrifically bad writer. I don’t think he’d take editing well.)

A series needs to end for the same reason books need to end–because a successful story must have structure. A story starts out with a situation in equilibrium, something happens to disturb that equilibrium, the consequences are explained in rising action leading to a crisis, and the story naturally ends when a new balance is reached. Within each scene and chapter, this principle is also at work; there is an arc to each character and each sentence. And, of course, a series has its own arc; it naturally wants to settle into a new balance.

Finding that moment is difficult for a number of reasons. A good series ends at the right moment, leaving the audience satisfied but also wanting. If a story is a seduction, the series is the relationship, and you want it ending amicably. (Being recently divorced, maybe I shouldn’t use that metaphor. Oh well.) (more…)