Wow, thank you for clicking on this post! Authors write these updates and send them out, hoping to capture the interest of another writer or a potential reader by sharing our experiences and advice, but we can never truly judge their impact. So, I appreciate your time and attention and I'm thrilled you're here to support me.
This month has been a busy one; I find I'm spread a bit thin these days—running a company, working full time, keeping house and writing my own fiction keeps me moving, but sometimes I feel it isn't always in the right direction or for the best reasons. Over the past 12 months I've definitely become a workaholic. Not by any means a stressed one, but I've learnt more about myself for sure. I've discovered my limits (after testing them quite a bit) and I've rekindled some passions I forgot I had. One of those passions is of course writing... specifically, my favourite character, Arriette Monroe. And it's Arriette I'd like to talk to you about today.
I miss this supernatural nightmare of a woman more than I expected to. When I created her in 2010, I think I needed her bravery and wanted her strong, fiery (but not unbreakable) personality to lead me to success, which it has in so many ways. Her story was actually the book that landed me an agent (it was called 'Eleven' at the time, which some of you may not know about the series), and it was, of course, also the story that rocketed me into the self-publishing world as I currently know it. Book one in the series (World) has been #1 on Amazon a few times across its many platforms with free downloads reaching hundreds daily. (If you were one of these people, thank you so much for your support either in the past or the present. It really does mean the world to me.) Most recently, it spent 2 days at #1 on the US e-book bestsellers list under 'Christian Fantasy', which is a genre I wasn't aware I ranked in until this month! I had 400+ downloads in less than 24 hours. It made it to #3 in Fantasy Adventure Fiction and Greco-Roman Myth & Legend Fantasy e-books too—isn't that a mouthful!?
Even now, though, I'm unable to let her go and I miss how familiar writing as Arriette was. Despite Finding Pandora being in the 3rd person, I can still get inside her head and live her adventures for a short while no matter the chaos she creates, the mistakes she makes or the life-threatening circumstances she finds herself in. But, part of me is also afraid to move on from Haeylo, the world I created for her. Sure, I've written two visionary novellas, a non-fiction publishing guide and a post-apocalyptic adventure since Arriette, yet I'm always drawn to YA high fantasy, wondering if and when I should create the next instalment in the series, 'The Resurrection of Pandora'. The thought used to excite me—could another four books excite my Arriette fans, too? Is it really a fear of leaving my comfort zone or an indication of the work I ought to be producing? I wonder...
Interestingly, earlier this year I ran a poll on Facebook to ask that very question. Readers wanted more from Arriette Monroe. I did pick up where I left off for a few weeks and then my attention strayed to my 2nd visionary novella, Noah Finn & the Art of Conception. It's due for release on September 1st and I'm excited (of course!) because I find visionary fiction so easy to write; it's a way for me to pour my heart, soul, morals and values into a moving, emotional piece with real meaning. But, it's not quite as creative as high fantasy. There are no epic battles between good and evil, less symbolism (or less obvious symbolism, anyway) and a greater risk of offending someone through sensitive, adult themes. I find it somewhat restrictive... sometimes, because I like to write openly and honestly. I want to make people think and question, but asking certain questions is bound to prompt some unwanted (but not unexpected) responses.
After some thought, I've decided to return to Arriette's world for at least one more paperback, which is another 4 e-books in the YA high fantasy genre. There's a lot left to tell my readers, and there are adventures already on paper worth sharing, though they need a thorough re-write and some editing. I bought a few new reference books in preparation for this project, which I'm looking forward to devouring. I've also re-vamped the existing book cover a little, giving the title and my author name some colour. I much prefer it over the boring black... don't you?
When Noah Finn & the Art of Conception hits the shelves, I'll be turning my attention back to Arriette's world and hopefully this time, I won't be so easily distracted. Finding Pandora has some hard-core fans (I know... I've met them and they're all wonderfully addicted!). This leads me to assume the several year delay won't be an issue—it never is when a story is worth telling. I don't think...
So, that's what's been swirling through my mind this month! As a result, some of you may have noticed book one is back at perma-free for potential new readers to download and enjoy risk-free, and I've put together two omnibus collections if anyone feels daring enough to try books 1 & 2 together, then finish the series with 3 & 4. For now, these are only available on Amazon. I'm hoping these adjustments will prompt a few extra reviews.
As always, I appreciate your time. I'm hoping to reach out more often with similar updates and thoughts—my focus is usually on the monthly newsletter (the Monthly Meow) which, for the CCB side of things, will now be produced every quarter after July's update. At the moment, the ERH newsletter should be going out as usual, and I'd like to thank everyone who has remained subscribed to both following the recent changes. You don't necessarily have to be subscribed to be reading this of course, but if you'd like to be notified when I do post something, be sure to join my e-mail list, where you can also receive the first omnibus in this series free, and the second free if you leave (and send me a copy of) your review. Feel free to grab that offer whilst it's available, and enjoy!
I hope you're as excited as I am about the upcoming Pandora project. Thank you for reading—stay safe, stay curious and I'll catch you again in my next post.