My babies. Those are my books. I think that’s how all writers feel about their creations. The stories they write and the characters they breathe into life are their little babies they want to protect with every bit of strength in their bodies.
Although, writers also want to send their creations out into the world so they can stretch their legs, have a life of their own, and take on a life of their own.
It really is like having kids. You want to protect them, but you also know they are their own being and you have to let them LIVE.
Once you send your “kids” out there, everything else is out of your control. You just get to sit there and be proud papa/mama/parent.
While we can’t control what happens when we write a story and put it out there for consumption, we can control what is and isn’t canon for the story and its characters. Readers and fans can create all the headcanon they like, but canon is up to the creator. So, some writers can become incredibly protective and tight-lipped about anything to do with the story that is not explicitly stated in the pages published.
Regardless–but also directly related–a question I have gotten a lot is why it has taken me so long to release a sequel to A SURPLUS OF LIGHT. It was published on September 6th, 2018. THE BEES AND OTHER WILD THINGS comes out October 21st, 2022–just a little over 4 years later.
When I wrote SURPLUS, I didn’t immediately have plans for a sequel. I honestly thought it was just a cute little love story that readers would enjoy and I’d move on to something else. But within a year, I was secretly writing one. Because I loved the world and characters I created.
Then a strange thing happened.
The book became (arguably) my readers’ favorite. (Side note: if the 98% of you that have bought it and not written a review on Amazon would do that, I’d love you forever) It was something I never expected. Then again, writers can never predict how readers will react to their work. You can only write, publish, and wait.
By the time I realized that people were digging A SURPLUS OF LIGHT and it actually meant something to its readers, I’d finished the first draft of the sequel.
I felt a tremendous duty to…not fuck with the readers’ love of the book.
However, after talking with my publisher–and specifically, my developmental editor–over the years, I realized that THE BEES AND OTHER WILD THINGS, while a sequel, is its own animal. It builds on the SURPLUS world but it will do nothing to change the legacy of Mike, Ian, and their summers as best friends.
It does delve more into the mythology of “Podunk, Texas” and how the lives of characters intersected. It follows similar themes from SURPLUS, but it explores themes that are constantly of interest to me.
Some of those themes are forgiveness, what a person is willing to forgive, atonement, whether or not people can change, and moral gray areas.
So, to wind this down…
THE BEES AND OTHER WILD THINGS is a sequel. However, the main characters are Carson and Kevin.
And I think it is a powerful story that readers will enjoy.
Maybe I’ll be surprised and it will be loved just as much as SURPLUS. Maybe everyone will hate it. However, I won’t know until I send it out into the world on October 21st, 2022. When I let my baby go out and live its life and stretch its legs.
I’ll hand it off to the readers. Let it become their baby.
Hopefully, at the very least, it will bring them some joy.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,