Sunday, November 30, 2014

Gillian Andrews, author of 'Ammonite Planets' on writing series

I really didn’t have much say in the matter. Six, Diva and Grace practically sat back and demanded a sequel to Valhai. There was no way I could leave the characters where they were, so I decided to write another. And another, and another ... you can see where this is going, can’t you?

I have finished six books in the series now, and I am working on the second draft of the – hopefully – final book, The Trimorphs. I say hopefully, because it is hard to let go of the series, the characters, the stories, everything. In fact, I haven’t been able to. There is one deliberate loose end left hanging just so that I can dive back in if my withdrawal symptoms are too severe.

So I think I know some of the pros of writing series. You come back to well-loved characters, worlds that you can visualize more clearly than your local coffee shop. You don’t have to rack your brains to come up with new characters. You know where your hero and heroine are going; you can feel it in your bones. It is exciting to delve deeper into their motivations, and fun to put them in new situations. The whole series becomes more and more complicated as it develops, and you love it. In fact, you are so submerged in this universe that you sometimes have to blink, get up from the computer and shake your head, to remind yourself where you really live, that you have to put a load of clothes in the washing machine.

But all that comes at a price, too. You are really only ever selling one book. People aren’t going to dive in to a series at Book Four – you have to introduce them to Book One. And Book One is not new anymore. This makes marketing a bit of a nightmare. I think it would be much, much easier to market individual books.

Because series which progress in time – sagas – really should be read in order. Some writers escape this problem by leaving their characters static, so that you can find exactly the same situation in Book Twenty as in Book One. That makes so much good sense. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wanted each book to be a step further, deeper into the Ammonite Galaxy universe. I wanted it to become more and more complicated and, above all, I wanted time to pass in my series. I wanted my characters to grow older, and to have real lifelines.

If I had had any sense at all, I would probably have written a different sort of series ... but I don’t regret it. I couldn’t have written it any other way.

Young Adult Sci-Fi
Date Published: July 28, 2014

This omnibus edition exclusive to the Kindle bookstore brings you the first three books of the award-winning Ammonite Galaxy series - a thousand pages in one volume!

"Awesome book! I'd give this 6 stars for writing if I could. I stayed up till 5 am last night because I was that enthralled." Rose - Podiobooks reviewer (about Valhai)

Meet Six and Diva for the first time in this special omnibus edition of the first three books in this series, starting with Valhai, which is a Readers Favorite award-winning book and a Parsec Awards finalist.

"It continues to astound me that this author has come up with something so completely original and interesting." Cynikat, Podiobooks reviewer.

About Gillian Andrews

I am English, although I live in Spain now. I've worked at all sorts of things, but have been writing too, on and off, since I was little. I have always been passionate about cosmology and astrophysics, so it was exciting to be able to bring that aspect into the series. I recently finished a masters in astronomy and astrophysics.

Valhai is the book I always wanted to write, but I got so involved with the characters myself that I simply had to go on writing about them, which turned a one-off novel into a series. I hope readers will identify with them and enjoy them too. I myself have been practically living in The Ammonite Galaxy for the last five years. It has become so real to me that I can almost touch it!

The books out so far in the series are:

Book One: Valhai
Book Two: Kwaide
Book Three: Xiantha
Book Four: Pictoria
Book Five: The Lost Animas
Book Six: The Namura Stone (published September2014)
Book Seven: The Trimorphs (to be published 2015)

Ammonite Planets is the omnibus edition of Books #1-3 and is exclusive to the Kindle store, and Ammonite Stars is the omnibus edition of Books #4-5, also exclusive to the Kindle store.


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