I recently did a full read-through of The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer. The Kickstarter is almost over and it will be time to send the manuscript through another round of editing, begin formatting and get all of the visual components (illlustrations, fonts, inserts, book cover, etc…) ready for print and digital download. As I read the manuscript, I tried to remove myself as the author.
I wanted to be as objective as possible. If I had picked up this book off of the front table at Waterstone’s, Barnes and Noble, or an amazingly quirky local bookshop, would I come away satisfied, inspired or let down? I will admit, there are parts of the novel that I totally forgot about. I worked on the manuscript over a period of nearly FIVE years- through a move back to the US, pregnancy, new motherhood, covered in spaghetti motherhood and a host of other business; I was bound to forget something. I want to make sure that what was in my head, made it onto paper.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did. I want cohesion and a seamless flow into the second novel but I want some suspense. The best and most painful aspects of a series are the cliffhangers… the waiting. There will be questions left unanswered from The Great Flyer and lingering assumptions. Some will be satisfied in The Search for the Sacred Heart, some will require the reader to stick it out to the very end. Those are the bits I loved about the Harry Potter novels, the works of Lemony Snicket, The Mortal Instruments and other great literary series. I want more than just one book. I don’t crave neat and clean. I need an ever-winding plot, with richness, intrigue, sadness and surprise with a sense of fulfillment in the end.
I am excited for the first novel. I was excited reading it. I am excited to see where the second novel takes my heroes and villains and then…beyond.
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I have been a dreamer for as long as I can remember. Trees in the backyard came to life with magical fruits and unicorns lived in mom and dad’s azaleas. Aside from drafting grant and project proposals for my husband’s growing art production company, I stopped writing for awhile and focused more on visual creativity. BUT… I am a storyteller; like my grandmother, like my dad…it’s just in my bones. Each illustration and painting I have done has a back story that remains largely untold. It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, those stories are worth telling. I sat, one warm, almost-summer morning in far-south London’s Richmond Park in a little noon called the Poet’s Corner and wrote a few short blurbs about the various balloons my husband and I had created over the past few years. They were Templar Knights, pirates, and a cranky Scotsman. They were freedom fighters against slavery. Some were posh and flashy aristocrats. But I noticed that each of their stories wove into the next one. As I walked along the path toward the pond in the distance, followed closely by a noisy goose after my dried strawberry snacks, I decided that these characters deserved something much grander than a simple character description and rough sketch in a tattered notebook from the Cass Art clearance bin. They deserved something epic. That is the day that I decided I was an author.
Sometimes works can stand alone. Their emotional and creative weight is enough to open and close a brief interlude into a world other than our own. Some stories seem to great to condense into one novel. Imagine if JK Rowling would have stopped at The Sorcerer’s Stone. Alright, Voldemort left that dude’s head and ran off… as my two-year-old son says, “ALL Done!” I might not be here on the cusp of finishing my first Kickstarter campaign to legitimately publish a for-real novel. Sometimes, the FIN comes much later.
With Henry and Jack, their journey is long and chocked full of self-discovery, danger, redemption and love. Two hundred and five pages is not enough. The second novel in the Flying Furniture Adventures installment, The Search for the Sacred Heart has been in planning since before the conclusion of The Return of the Great Flyer. There were bits, particularly of the explanatory kind, that I knew would take more time to develop. I am not certain of the penultimate conclusion. I know that the lives of my heroes, my flyers and my villains will evolve with each novel, seemingly taking on lives of their own. I want them to move throughout the thousands of pages of the series naturally; live and die as if it were meant to be. I wonder if writers of these successful series of novels knew the ending at the beginning and just worked on the parts in between. We start here at A and end there at Z; let’s just figure out which roads to take to get there. OR…do they let the events unfold, allowing their imagination and emotions carry their pen, laptop, typewriter keys to an unknown conclusion?
There is always the fear of being cliche or sugar-coating a story. Sure, Snape could have lived and Dumbledore could have risen from the dead. Everyone is happy. No dead Weasleys or Hedwig. Voldemort is gone. Predictable? Yes. And slightly emotionless. My goal is to create characters that are rich, with depth and substance. I want readers to love them, to hate them, to cheer for them. I want a robust storyline with twists and turns. I want readers to feel something and want to come back for more. I guess that is the goal of each writer. The question I still need to answer is how to move to each piece of my puzzle; each novel in the series, creating a seamless flow from A to Z. The Return of the Great Flyer ends in a great place (NO SPOILERS) but there are loose ends that may remain loose until the last possible second before – FIN.
I am happy to say that I am 86% funded in my current Kickstarter Campaign for The Return of the Great Flyer with 12 days left to go. The goal is SO close. Help Henry and Jack get published and pledge and share our Kickstarter with friends and family. Only $25 gets you a limited-edition, Kickstarter-only paperback copy of The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer. Check is out at FLYING FURNITURE Kickstarter .